By Keegan Gibson, Managing Editor
The bill, called SOPA, has received intense protest from the online community including tech companies like Wikipedia and Google, as well as many of the architects of the internet itself.
“Based on my background as a sheriff, the Stop Online Piracy Act, commonly referred to as SOPA, was brought to me as a law enforcement bill,” Holden said. “At its core, the bill’s intent to eliminate theft by foreign websites protects the intellectual property of American manufacturers of all spheres. However, the possible unintended consequences, such as stifling innovation and limiting free speech on the Internet, have come to the forefront of debate. An open Internet requires that we find a better approach that is acceptable to all sides. Therefore, I withdrew my cosponsorship of this bill and will work to find a solution that protects both the openness and innovation of the Internet as well as intellectual property.”
The issue came to prominent public attention Wednesday as Wikipedia went “dark” – not allowing users to access its content.
It also became an issue in Holden’s re-election effort. Likely primary challenger Matt Cartwright, a prominent attorney from Scranton, had criticized the bill.
“In my opinion, this bill is so full of unconstitutional infringements on free speech and unconstitutionally vague criminalization of conduct it is hard to imagine that its authors ever even read the document they swore to uphold and defend,” Cartwright told PoliticsPA.
The only other Pa. co-sponsor of the bill is Rep. Tom Marino (R-Lycoming). PoliticsPA is reaching to to his office to see if he is reconsidering his support.
Sen. Bob Casey is a co-sponsor of the Senate version of the bill, called PIPA.