Reddit users are going after legislators who support the Stop Online Piracy Act and its companion bill in the Senate.
Their target on Thursday was Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), and his potential opponents in 2012, Democrat Rob Zerban, has seized on the issue. The users have vowed to unseat a member of Congress who supports the legislation.
The only problem is that Ryan is not a co-sponsor of the legislation. His spokesman issued a statement today clarifying that point, although he did not say whether Ryan is for or against the anti-piracy bill. “He remains committed to advancing policies that protect free speech and foster innovation online and will continue to follow the House Judiciary Committee’s deliberations on this issue carefully,” his spokesman said.
Hollywood studios and unions have invested what is almost certain to be millions in a campaign to pass the bill, but they are facing a sustained attack from opponents all across the web. What’s happening is that the general public’s first impressions of the legislation — if they are aware of it at all — are that it is a threat to Internet freedom. That is a function of the fact that the legislation is complex and complicated, and also that opponents have the advantage of a sustained campaign all across the web. Nevertheless, it is expected to pass the House Judiciary Committee, just as it did the Senate Judiciary Committee. But the bill is far more controversial at the end of 2011 than it was when it was a relatively obscure piece of pending legislation earlier in the year.