Top Republican presidential candidates have denounced the contentious Internet piracy bill arguing that it comes in the way of internet freedom and increases governmental control in the free cyber world.
The two proposed laws — Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in House of Representatives and Protect IP Act (PIPA) in Senate — if passed by the Congress would give the government the ability to block access to websites with copyrighted material.
“The truth of the matter is that the law as written is far too intrusive, far too expansive, far too threatening to freedom of speech and movement of information across the Internet,” leading Republican candidate Mitt Romney said during presidential debate in South Carolina.
The State, which is governed by Indian American, Nikki Haley, goes to the primary on January 21. Haley has endorsed Romney.
The former Governor of Massachusetts was responding to questions on the controversial internet bill.
“It would have a potentially depressing impact on one of the fastest-growing industries in America, which is the internet and all those industries connected to it,” he said.
“I favour freedom. And I think that if we have a Patent Office, we have copyright law. If a company finds that it has genuinely been infringed upon, it has the right to sue for, but the idea that we’re going to preemptively have the government start censoring the internet on behalf of giant corporations’ economic interests strikes me as exactly the wrong thing to do,” said Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of U.S. House of Representatives.
“I don’t support this law, and I agree with everybody up here that it goes too far,” said Rick Santorum, the former Pennsylvania Senator.
He added, “But I will not agree with everybody up there that there isn’t something that can and should be done to protect the intellectual property rights of people”.
The former Pennsylvania Senator said the internet is not a free zone where anybody can do anything they want to do and trample the rights of other people.
“And particularly when we’re talking about -- in this case, we’re talking about entities offshore that are doing so, that are pirating things,” he said.
Participating in the debate, the Texas Congressman, Ron Paul, said he was among the first Republicans to sign up in opposition to the bill.
“I am pleased that the attitude has mellowed up here, because Republicans have been on the wrong side of this,” he said.