Early co-sponsor of SOPA recants, declares: ‘It’s time to scrap the bill’

Josh Peterson Tech Editor
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Tennessee Republican Rep. Marsha Blackburn, an early co-sponsor of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), delivered a statement Thursday evening on Facebook renouncing her support of the bill in its current form.

SOPA, and its counterpart in the Senate, the Protect IP Act (PIPA), caused an uproar in the Internet community, which inspired a day of protests by prominent websites Wednesday.

SOPA and PIPA would allow the Attorney General to target foreign websites that facilitate and profit from online piracy. Supporters argue that strong legislation is needed to protect American intellectual property, opponents fear that the legislation would give the DOJ broad powers to police the Internet.

“It’s clear that online piracy legislation in its current form is not workable,” said Blackburn. “It’s time to scrap the bill and start over. I will continue to work with my colleagues to find the best possible solution to ensure the constitutionally guaranteed property rights of our nation’s innovators are protected.”

Blackburn is the latest members of Congress on a long list of Republicans and several Democrats that have reversed their original position on the bills. The bills’ sponsors are Texas Republican Rep. Lamar Smith in the House and Vermont Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy in the Senate.

Hacktivist collective Anonymous, furious over Thursday’s Justice Department takedown of MegaUpload — a popular file-sharing network — initiated all-out retaliation against the websites of the DOJ, the Motion Picture Association of America, the Recording Industry Association of America and the FBI.

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