Two La. lawmakers remove support from anti-piracy bills
WASHINGTON - Two Louisiana lawmakers removed their support from controversial anti-piracy legislation today.
Sen. David Vitter and Rep. Steve Scalise were both co-sponsors of the Protect Intellectual Property Act in the Senate and Stop Online Piracy Act in the House. The bills would require internet service providers in the U. S. to completely block sites with pirated content on it, but received widespread criticism on the internet.
Both Vitter and Scalise said stopping internet piracy was still important to them, but these bills were not the way to do so.
"It's a real mistake to press forward with a flawed bill now," Vitter said in a statement released by his press office. "It will only endanger ever properly dealing with the very real problem of internet piracy."
Stephen Bell, a spokesperson for Rep. Scalise, released the following statement: "Congressman Scalise is committed to stopping online piracy, and will be removing his name from SOPA while he works to ensure that the freedom of the internet is preserved."
Websites such as Google and Wikipedia blocked access or posted black banners over their logos today to protest SOPA and PIPA. Messages on their websites expressed concern that the bills give too much power to groups like the entertainment industry to block legitimate sites where users share content.
Sen. Mary Landrieu is the only Louisiana lawmaker still supporting either measure. She said stopping piracy is necessary to protect Louisiana's movie and music industries, and characterized the PIPA legislation as "a work in progress."
"I plan to work closely with all interested parties to ensure that the effect of this legislation on individual rights does not outweigh the overall benefit of combating the theft of intellectual property," Landrieu said in a statement from her press office. "For that reason, I am open to hearing views that a different approach might be necessary, but it is important that the Senate bring this issue up for debate."
Rep. Rodney Alexander, who was not a co-sponsor of SOPA, also released a statement opposing it today.
"There is legitimate concern that this bill has the potential to limit access to the Internet and to expand the government's overarching reach on another facet of daily life," Alexander said. "Intellectual property should be protected and the sale of counterfeit goods needs a solid crackdown, however, this legislation goes too far and gives faceless bureaucrats too much authority."