GOP presidential candidate and Texas Rep. Ron Paul came out Wednesday in support of the “blackout” efforts taking place across the Web protesting pending anti-piracy legislation many have decried as an Internet censorship effort.
Protect IP, or PIPA, is the Senate version of the House Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). Wikipedia, Reddit, Google and many other sites engaged in a “blackout,” or self-censorship, on Wednesday in protest of the bills.
Supporters of the bills argue that strong legislation is needed to combat the piracy of U.S. intellectual property through foreign based websites. Opponents have blasted the bills as a form of Internet censorship, and the wrong approach to tackle what many view as a real economic problem.
As of 6 p.m. EST Wednesday evening, Paul was the only GOP candidate to denounce the bills, which have caused an uproar throughout the Internet community; Paul made a statement through a Facebook status update, saying:
“My campaign, and the entire freedom movement, would not be as strong as they are today without a free Internet, and that’s just one of the reasons why the establishment hopes to censor it with SOPA and PIPA. I’m proud to see so many taking a stand today. Contact your representative and senators and tell them to oppose these disastrous bills.”
Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, Rick Perry and Newt Gingrich — at least on Facebook and Twitter — were silent on the issue, and instead devoted their social media platforms to further campaign against one another.
Paul’s son, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, also came out Wednesday pledging to filibuster PIPA, which Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has promised to bring to the Senate floor on January 24.