Members of Florida delegation withdraw support for controversial anti-piracy bills

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla. (Pic via Facebook)

Florida elected officials who co-sposored congressional legislation to fight online piracy announced today they have withdrawn their support, while Google and Wikipedia joined many other online companies and organizations in a blackout to stop passage of the legislation.

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla. — who co-sponsored the Senate’s PROTECT IP Act, know as PIPA — wrote today that, having “heard legitimate concerns about the impact the bill could have on access to the Internet,” he has “decided to withdraw my support for the Protect IP Act.”

Florida GOP Rep. Dennis Ross also issued a statement today withdrawing his support for the House version of this bill, called the Stop Online Piracy Act, or SOPA.

The concerns Rubio mentions include technology companies and supporters of a free and open Internet that have led the opposition to the PIPA and SOPA.

“The Senate is set to vote on PIPA next week. Take action to learn more about this destructive bill, and urge your senators to vote against it,” writes Free Press as part of its campaign to support the blackout and maintain opposition to the measures.

Free Press shows that 16 senators oppose PIPA; 38, including Florida Sen. Bill Nelson, support PIPA; and 45 are “on the fence.”

Maplight, which researches money’s influence on politics, shows that private SOPA supporters have given members of the House over $92 million, while opponents have contributed over $19.6 million dollars. Maplight data also shows that a large number of members of the U.S. House have taken money from supporters and opponents of SOPA.

Wikipedia is blacked out today in protest of the measures: “Right now, the U.S. Congress is considering legislation that could fatally damage the free and open Internet. For 24 hours, to raise awareness, we are blacking out Wikipedia.”

Google joined the blackout, adding that PIPA and SOPA “would censor the Web and impose harmful regulations on American business. Millions of Internet users and entrepreneurs already oppose SOPA and PIPA.”

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