January 19, 2012, 1:08 PM — The Record Industry Association of America's (RIAA) snarky tweet didn't give much credit to the alarming gaps, write-in campaigns and overt criticism of sites opposing the anti-piracy bills backed by the RIAA and other copyright owners.
Blackouts by Wikipedia and Reddit, a censorship-mourning-bar Google Doodle and dozens of other online protests had an immediate impact on the Senate, however.
Thirteen Senators who were either positive or neutral on the Protect IP Act (PIPA), including two of the original sponsors of the bill, according to Ars Technica.
Marco Rubio, (R-Fla) withdrew his sponsorship due to "legitimate concerns about the impact the bill could have on access to the Internet and about a potentially unreasonable expansion of the federal government's power to impact the Internet.
"Stealing content is theft, plain and simple, but concerns about unintended damage to the internet and innovation in the tech sector require a more thoughtful balance, which will take more time," another former PIPA supporter, Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex), wrote on his Facebook page.
Roy Blunt (R-MO) withdrew his sponsorship as well, blaming Senate Majority leader Harry Reid for "pushing forward with a flawed bill that still needs much work."
(Needless to say, but it is a mind-boggling bit of hypocritical acrobatics to co-sponsor a bill and supporting it until it proves unpopular, then withdraw your support and blame a leader of the other political party for having allowed the bill you co-sponsored to be debated. One can only hope, for humanitarian reasons, that Blunt didn't injure himself or become permanently dizzy spinning his own position that hard just so he can blame someone else for it.)
More than 162 million visitors saw the SOPA/PIPA protest page Wikipedia posted in place of its usual content, according to a Thank You the open-source encyclopedia site posted after the protest.