Meet the people behind SOPA

New York Senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Chuck Schumer are co-sponsors of the PROTECT IP Act.

The fight against the Stop Online Piracy Act ramped up to a climax Wednesday, as Internet heavyweights like Wikipedia and Reddit went dark in protest of the controversial anti-piracy bill. But while it’s apparent that the tech industry is ready to amass its muscle to prevent the bill’s passage, far less attention has been focused on SOPA’s supporters. Who are those people who want, in the words of the bill’s harshest critics, to shut down the Internet?

The major proponent of SOPA and its Senate Counterpart, the PROTECT IP Act, has been the entertainment industry, which says the bills’ controversial measures — most notably giving the government the authority to shut off access to sites copyright holders claim are hosting pirated material — are essential in curbing rampant online piracy. According to a report from advocacy organization Map Light, these companies have donated nearly $2 million to SOPA’s 32 congressional sponsors since the beginning of 2009.

Yes, 32 co-sponsors. (PROTECT IP had 40.) Support for SOPA and PIPA in Congress is wide and bipartisan, blurring traditional lines of conservatism and progressivism. To make just one example: Liberal firebrand Al Franken is a fierce proponent of the bill, while former GOP presidential candidate Michele Bachmann has expressed concerns about the government overreaching.

However, the grassroots campaign against SOPA appears to be chilling congressional enthusiasm. At least six co-sponsors removed their names from the bills Wednesday, and many more supporters have softened their tone.

In a joint statement, New York senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, both co-sponsors of PROTECT IP, expressed sympathy with the Internet activists.

“There are two important issues in this debate: continued freedom of expression on the Internet and the ability to block online piracy,” the pair wrote. “We believe that both sides can come together on a solution that satisfies their respective concerns.”

Others, meanwhile, were less cowed. Rep. Lamar Smith, SOPA’s author, condemned Wikipedia’s efforts as a “publicity stunt,” while Recording Industry Association of America spokesman Jonathan Lamy minimized the potential effects of the blackout.

“After Wikipedia blackrout [sic], somewhere, a student today is doing original research and getting his/her facts straight.” Lamy wrote in a tweet, which he subsequently deleted. “Perish the thought.”


University of New Mexico running back arrested for…

By Joseph J. KolbALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico (Reuters) - A University of New Mexico football player has been arrested on suspicion of raping and kidnapping a…


Teen who stowed away on flight to Hawaii…

By Alex Dobuzinskis(Reuters) - A teenage boy who stowed away on a flight from California to Hawaii in the frozen, oxygen-deprived wheel well of a…


Investing is easier than you think

Easy investing: Everything you need to know about investing, you already do.


Arion1: Pill-shaped bicycle hits 90 mph

The Arion1 is a pod-like bicycle that aims to take the land speed record.


John Turturro tags in for Robert De Niro…

The cast of the courtroom drama miniseries has undergone yet another shift. Following Robert De Niro's exit, the cable network has brought in John Turturro…


"The Shape She Makes", an "extraordinary treat" at…

“The Shape She Makes” is a fascinating melding of theater and dance in a narrative that exposes human vulnerability in its purest form. Initially, the…


TV watch list, Tuesday, April 22: 'Glee,' 'Agents…

'Glee' Rachel makes her Broadway debut in "Funny Girl." Remember when she was just a high school drama nerd? FOX, 8PM 'Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'…

The Word

Lindsay Lohan's big, drunk interview

Lindsay Lohan appears to be completely off the wagon now, if Kode magazine's chronicle of her trip to Coachella is any indication. According to the…


MLB video highlights: Yankees rout Red Sox, 9-3

Jon Lester allows eight runs in 4 2/3 innings taking loss


MLB Power Rankings: Brewers best in baseball, Dodgers,…

MLB Power Rankings: Brewers best in baseball, Dodgers, Cardinals, Yankees surge. The A's, Braves, Rangers, Giants and Rockies are also in the top 10.


American runners stand tallest in 2014 Boston Marathon

American runners stand tallest in 2014 Boston Marathon


2014 Boston Marathon results: American Meb Keflezighi wins…

2014 Boston Marathon results: American Meb Keflezighi wins men's race


How to burn off all that Easter candy

Sorry to be a buzzkill, but you can't eat chocolate eggs and Jelly Bellys forever.


Powdered alcohol: 5 things to know about 'Palcohol'

What's the deal with powdered alcohol? Here's what you need to know about Palcohol.


Travel hacks: 6 tips on living out of…

Lynne Martin shares her travel hacks on living out of just two suitcases.


Tough Mudder pro gives tips on conquering a…

Learn hacks from head designer Nolan Kombol.