The Stop Online Piracy Act, which supporters say would prevent copyright infringement on the Internet while opponents state it would lead to Internet censorship, is steadily gaining opposition by the conservatives, even though their party initiated the bill.
SOPA is a House bill introduced by Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) and supported by many private conservative organizations, such as Chamber of Commerce and Americans for Tax Reform, according to Ars Technica. Ars Technica reports that The Heritage Foundation's James Gattuso and Erick Erickson, editor of the RedState, have recently voiced concerns about "unintended consequences" and the "slippery slope" that SOPA could lead to:
Gattuso's stance is notable because Heritage has traditionally supported strong enforcement of copyright law. As former US attorney general Edwin Meese put it in a 2005 article for Heritage, "stealing is stealing, and it must stop."
Gattuso agrees with Meese that the "stealing" needs to stop, but he argues Congress should deal with the problem "in a way that does not disrupt the growth of technology, does not weaken Internet security, and respects free speech rights." And he doesn't think SOPA fits the bill.
Erickson also opposes SOPA, and he is taking a more activist approach to the issue. In a Thursday blog post, he pledged to recruit primary challengers to run against conservatives who support SOPA.
"I love Marsha Blackburn (R-TN). She is a delightful lady and a solidly conservative member of Congress," he wrote. However, because Blackburn is a SOPA cosponsor, Erickson pledged to "do everything in my power to defeat her in her 2012 re-election bid."
Politico has other conservative bloggers voicing their opinions against the bill:
“If either the U.S. Senate’s Protect IP Act (PIPA) & the U.S. House’s Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) become law, political blogs such as Red Mass Group [conservative] & Blue Mass Group [liberal] will cease to exist,” wrote a blogger at Red Mass Group.
“Of course, restrictions of results provided by Internet search engines amount to just that: prior restraint of their free expression of future results. Google and others, under SOPA, are told what they can or can’t publish before they publish it. Kill. The. Bill,” conservative blogger Neil Stevens argued at RedState.
Politico also reports that some of the corporate support for the bill is backing down. Last week, the domain registry GoDaddy.com lost more than 70,000 customers in a protest against its support for the bill, according to CNET. The domain hosting site has since changed its position on the bill.
Earlier this month, the House Judiciary committee was set to vote on the bill, but delayed said vote till the new year. Both Google and Wikipedia's CEOs have spoken out strongly or considered strong action with their sites to protest SOPA.