Internet blackouts upstage lobbying efforts

Score a knockout for the technology industry over the entertainment business.

Score a knockout for the technology industry over the entertainment business.

The same day that numerous Internet giants, including Google, Wikipedia, Flickr, and Reddit “blacked out” some, if not all, of their content, congressional backers of the Stop Online Piracy Act and the Protect Intellectual Property Act dropped support for the measures.

US Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), a rising star in his party, said early this morning that he will no longer support the legislation he cosponsored. Sens. John Cornyn (R-TX) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT) withdrew support of the anti-piracy measures soon thereafter, according to The New York Times.

Closer to home, protestors gathered outside the offices of Sens. Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand (both D-NY). One agency executive I spoke to today compared the size of the crowd outside Schumer's office to the one waiting for the iPad to go on sale at the 5th Ave. Apple Store.

Don't marginalize the technology industry's move as a publicity stunt, as Motion Picture Association of America chief Chris Dodd (a former US Senator from Connecticut) did today. The tech sector's tactics may differ from those of the entertainment and media businesses that supported the anti-piracy measures, but they've proven far more effective at marshalling public support than the lobbying dollars spent by the MPAA and the Recording Industry Association of America.

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