I spoke to Sen. David Vitter today about why he ever supported the Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act of 2011 (PIPA) and Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA)—the House version of the bill—and what made him change his mind.
The remarks were made after a town hall meeting in Jonesville.
Vitter, originally a co-sponsor of the bill, came out against the legislation yesterday, along with twelve other senators. The announcement was made on his Facebook page with this statement:
I won’t be supporting the Protect IP Act (PIPA or SOPA as it’s called in the House of Representatives) because, though I’ve been pushing hard on both internet freedom and national security concerns, they still haven’t been fully addressed. It’s a real mistake to press forward with a flawed bill now. It will only endanger ever properly dealing with the very real problem of internet piracy.
Legislators withdrawing support coincided with a protest Internet black-out by Wikipeida and several other high-traffic sites–which believe that the bill would lead to censorship on the web–so I asked him how much the protest played into his decision.
Vitter also said that former-Sen. Chris Dodd, who now serves as head of Motion Picture Association, didn’t lobby him to support PIPA. It had to be asked.
Toward the end of the video, the senator discussed his feelings about the Republican presidential field. I knew, of course, that he wouldn’t endorse any particular candidate, but I wanted to press him a little to see how much he would say.
I also asked him if he thinks the candidates are being treated fairly by the Main-Stream-Media–something of a rhetorical question, at best:
Most of the things discussed at the townhall were local issues—like what could be done about FDA restrictions on turtle farming –but there were things talked about of interest to a wider audience, such as Obama nixing the Keystone XL pipeline, that I might post later.