As the House and Senate's anti-piracy bills increasingly look like they're on their way to the trashcan, Rep. Darrell Issa and Sen. Ron Wyden must be taking tap dance breaks, as they push forward their alternative piece of legislation: OPEN. The position of the bipartisan, bicameral bill is interesting. Issa, a California Republican just introduced the bill to the House on Wednesday, and Wyden, an Oregon Democrat, introduced it to the Senate late last year. When Harry Reid announced that he would postpone the vote on PROTECT IP (PIPA), Issa seized the opportunity to plug his less shrill legislation. "Supporters of the Internet deserve credit for pressing advocates of PIPA and the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) to back away from an effort to ram through controversial legislation," Issa said in a statement sent to The Atlantic Wire. "After inviting all stakeholders to help improve American intellectual property protections, I have introduced the bipartisan OPEN Act with Senator Rob Wyden which can be read and commented on at KeepTheWebOPEN.com."
We called Issa's office immediately after seeing news of the PIPA delay on Twitter, and they sounded busy. Frederick Hill is the Communications Director for Issa, the committee chaired by Issa where the hotly anticipated gathering of the nerds will take place next week, and was away from his desk, when we called for comment. (It's the one that will feature Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, who's been crowdsourcing his thoughts and positions in a comment thread on the popular and increasingly powerful link-sharing site.) In his stead, we spoke to Becca Watkins for an update on the next steps for OPEN -- the Online Protection and ENforcement of Digital Trade Act. As expected, she sounded busy, but more than willing to talk about the opening (pun unavoidable) the failure of SOPA and PIPA.