PIPA, SOPA Withdrawn, Underscoring Internet's Growing Clout


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Following a wildly successful online protest that prompted lawmakers to indefinitely postpone anti-piracy legislation, former senator and current Motion Picture Association of America chairman Christopher J. Dodd called upon Silicon Valley and Hollywood executives to meet at a summit to hash out their differences over the proposed regulations.

Lawmakers initially expected the Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA) and the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) to pass the Senate and the House, respectively, with little controversy. However, internet companies waged a war against the anti-piracy laws, arguing they would stifle free speech and hamper their ability to function. Wikipedia, Craigslist, Google ( GOOG ) and Facebook were among the myriad companies opposing the laws.

Analysts pegged the battle over the proposed anti-piracy bills as one between Hollywood and Silicon Valley, with the former in support of their passage. Dodd - whose professional responsibilities essentially are lobbyist and policymaker - was obviously frustrated by lawmakers' decision to shelve the controversial bills, but said officials should meet in an effort to develop legislation that would satisfy their divergent interests.

"The perfect place to do it is a block away from here," Dodd said, referring to the White House .

Power lobbying groups such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Recording Industry Association of America had supported the proposed bills, but this week's internet-centric revolt re-framed the debate, upending Washington politics. Dodd - who is forbidden from lobbying Congress until 2013 due to his recently leaving congress - acknowledged the internet's growing power, particularly its influence on the democratic process.

"This is altogether a new effect," Dodd said, noting he could not cite in the past 40 years another piece of legislation "that was moving with this degree of support change this dramatically."



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