Paul Ryan's SOPA Stance Changes: GOP Representative Comes Out Against Internet Piracy Bill

01/09/2012 06:51 pm ET | Updated Jan 09, 2012

Facing pressure from constituents, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) came out against the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) on Monday.

In a statement released on his official website, the House Budget Committee chairman outlined why he does not support the bill, noting that the current openness offered by the web should stay as is.

"The internet is one of the most magnificent expressions of freedom and free enterprise in history. It should stay that way. While H.R. 3261, the Stop Online Piracy Act, attempts to address a legitimate problem, I believe it creates the precedent and possibility for undue regulation, censorship and legal abuse. I do not support H.R. 3261 in its current form and will oppose the legislation should it come before the full House."

Mashable notes that a Reddit campaign may have played a role in Ryan's decision. "Operation Pull Ryan" was introduced last month, directing criticism against the congressman over his then-pro stance toward the bill. Ryan has accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars from organizations that support the initiative.

Rob Zerban, Ryan's 2012 Democratic challenger, has been part of the Reddit thread. The Kenosha County Supervisor applauded Ryan's change of heart as an example of social networking power.

"This is an extraordinary victory," Zerban wrote. "Reddit was able to force the House Budget chair to reverse course -- shock waves will be felt throughout the establishment in Washington today -- other lawmakers will take notice."

Back in mid-December, The Huffington Post's Zach Carter provided some SOPA background, explaining how the bill has "the power to fundamentally reshape the laws governing the internet." Passage of the act would give the federal government broad powers to eliminate web domains believed to be partaking in piracy-related activities.

SOPA opponents have come out swinging against the legislation. Moves against the measure include creating boycott apps, filming protest videos and transferring domains from pro-SOPA sites. GoDaddy.com was among the victims of that movement, eventually releasing a statement expressing opposition to the bill.

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