One of America's most respected newspapers has come out on the side of copyright owners by supporting a controversial antipiracy legislation, which the technology sector has sworn to defeat.
The Wall Street Journal's editorial section today published a piece called "Brake the Internet Pirates." The paper said that the creative industries are being threatened by abusers "who hijack [the Internet's] architecture." The Journal wrote that regardless of what critics say, that is all the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) would do.
"SOPA merely adapts the current avenues of legal recourse for infringement and counterfeiting to new realities," the Journal wrote. "Without rights that protect the creativity and innovation that bring fresh ideas and products to market, there will be far fewer ideas and products to steal."
The Journal's declaration comes less than a week after Rupert Murdoch, chairman of the Journal's parent company News Corp., took to Twitter to bash Google and President Barack Obama for opposing SOPA.
SOPA is a bill that was supposed to be voted on soon in the U.S. House of Representatives but was delayed amid loud opposition by the public. Opposition in the House appears to be gaining momentum as the blog Politico reported today that two more Republican Congressman, Ben Quayle from Arizona and Lee Terry from Nebraska announced that they had dropped support for SOPA.
Over in the Senate, where a similar bill, Protect IP Act or PIPA, is due to be voted on next week, Sens. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) and Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) have reversed their positions and now oppose the bill.
And that was before a wave of tech companies launched an unprecedented assault on SOPA and PIPA. Opponents say SOPA and PIPA will lead to censorship of the Web so in an effort to illustrate what that could look like, Google blocked out its home page logo and posted a link leading to information about why the company opposes the bills.
Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia, has pledged to go dark for 24 hours. Dozens of other sites have begun participating in similar blackouts or by posting information about opposition to the bills. Some lawmakers have noted that PIPA and SOPA would not affect anyone of the Web sites participating in the blackout.
The next test for both supporters and opponents of the legislation comes Tuesday, when the Senate is due to vote on PIPA.