That was quick. Less than an hour ago, Sen. Marco Rubio announced he no longer supports the PROTECT IP Act (PIPA) -- the Senate version of the Stop Online Privacy (SOPA) -- which he was previously a cosponsor of.
As we noted this morning, two South Florida congressional representatives, Democratic Reps. Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Ted Deutch, are cosponsors of SOPA.
Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson is listed by the Library of Congress as a cosponsor of PIPA.
Rubio, though, says he's bailing on the controversial legislation.
Here's the statement he just released:
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In recent weeks, we've heard from many Floridians about the anti-Internet piracy bills making their way through Congress. On the Senate side, I have been a co-sponsor of the PROTECT IP Act because I believe it's important to protect American ingenuity, ideas and jobs from being stolen through Internet piracy, much of it occurring overseas through rogue websites in China. As a senator from Florida, a state with a large presence of artists, creators and businesses connected to the creation of intellectual property, I have a strong interest in stopping online piracy that costs Florida jobs.
However, we must do this while simultaneously promoting an open, dynamic Internet environment that is ripe for innovation and promotes new technologies.
Earlier this year, this bill passed the Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously and without controversy. Since then, we've heard 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. Congress should listen and avoid rushing through a bill that could have many unintended consequences.
Therefore, I have decided to withdraw my support for the Protect IP Act. Furthermore, I encourage Senator Reid to abandon his plan to rush the bill to the floor. Instead, we should take more time to address the concerns raised by all sides, and come up with new legislation that addresses Internet piracy while protecting free and open access to the Internet.