When Rep. Lamar Smith announced the Stop Online Piracy Act in late 2011, he knew it was going to be controversial. But the Texas Republican probably never anticipated the broad and fierce outcry from Internet users that SOPA provoked.
Declan McCullaghFormer Senior Writer
Declan McCullagh is the chief political correspondent for CNET. You can e-mail him or follow him on Twitter as declanm. Declan previously was a reporter for Time and the Washington bureau chief for Wired and wrote the Taking Liberties section and Other People's Money column for CBS News' Web site.
But in 2012, something strange happened. Hollywood and its allies
among large copyright holders actually lost.
Online Piracy Act, or SOPA, and a parallel Senate version called
Protect IP were designed to appear non-controversial, and its authors
claimed the bills would target only "rogue" offshore sites. But as
Internet users delved into the details of the proposed law -- and its
potential impact on security,
inspection, and free
speech -- support in D.C. for the proposals began
SOPA may, however, return under a different name. In April, the White
Congress to enact a new copyright law "to address offshore
infringement," and next year's chairman of the House of
Representatives panel that would draft a SOPA successor recently
said that he remains "committed to enacting strong copyright