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The Victory Lap That Won't End The Victory Lap That Won't End The Victory Lap That Won't End The Victory Lap That Won'...

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Congress

The Victory Lap That Won't End

April 25, 2012

It's the victory lap that won't end.

The tech industry found another occasion Wednesday night to cheer its victory in defeating controversial online anti-piracy legislation at the Consumer Electronics Association's annual Digital Patriot's Dinner.

CEA's turn came a month after the Center for Democracy and Technology used its annual "tech prom" to applaud efforts to defeat the anti-piracy bills known as the Stop Online Piracy Act in the House and the Senate's Protect IP act.

Even though both bills enjoyed strong support from Washington heavyweights like the Motion Picture Association of America and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, congressional leaders sidelined the measures in January after an unprecedented protest from tech firms, civil libertarians and Internet activists against the two bills. Opponents argued that the legislation, aimed at curbing piracy and counterfeiting on foreign websites, would stifle innovation and online free speech.

Following a similar honor by CDT, Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., who helped lead congressional efforts to oppose the anti-piracy bills, received CEA's Digital Patriot award. The group also honored Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, who worked to defeat SOPA as a member of the House Judiciary Committee, and Carlyle Group Managing Director David Rubenstein. He was honored for his work on the Sony Betamax case -- described as the "tech Magna Carta" -- in the 1980s when the Supreme Court struck down efforts to outlaw the company's video recording device.

"This historic win in terms of the debate about [Protect IP] and SOPA was not primarily between overzealous rights holders and the protectors of the free and open Internet. It was also a proxy discussion for how were going to promote innovation in our country," Wyden said.

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