SOPA and PIPA Officially Postponed by Congress
The looming threat of anti-piracy bills PIPA and SOPA caused a cyber uproar this week, as several prominent websites went dark and opponents around the world unleashed rage toward congressional backers of legislation that threatened the future of the Internet as we know it.
On Friday, it became official: SOPA and PIPA are dead—for now, at least.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced Friday that the Senate’s vote on PIPA, previously scheduled for Tuesday, would be postponed.
“In light of recent events, I have decided to postpone Tuesday’s vote on the Protect IP Act,” Reid said Friday.
For his part, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith said that he is calling off plans to formally draft SOPA next month.
“I have heard from the critics and I take seriously their concerns regarding proposed legislation to address the problem of online piracy,” Smith said in a statement. “The House Judiciary Committee will postpone consideration of the legislation until there is wider agreement on a solution.”
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Although SOPA and PIPA supporters have decided to hold off and regroup, this isn’t the end for the fight to stop web piracy. Both Reid and Smith have stated that they remain committed to the issue and want to find a reasonable solution.
“There is no reason that the legitimate issues raised by many about this bill cannot be resolved,” Reid said. “Counterfeiting and piracy cost the American economy billions of dollars and thousands of jobs each year. I’m optimistic that we can reach compromise on Protect I.P. in coming weeks.”
Chris Dodd, chairman of the Motion Picture Association of America and former Senator, expressed his frustration with the decision to postpone.
“As a consequence of failing to act, there will continue to be a safe haven for foreign thieves; American jobs will continue to be lost; and consumers will continue to be exposed to fraudulent and dangerous products peddled by foreign criminals,” Dodd said in a statement.
As expected, PIPA/SOPA supporters have been expressing relief in the glow of their successful efforts.
“We appreciate that lawmakers have listened to our community’s concerns, and we stand ready to work with them on solutions to piracy and copyright infringement that will not chill free expression or threaten the economic growth and innovation the Internet provides,” said a spokesman for Facebook, Inc.
How changing your company's software code can prevent bias
Two-third of tech professionals believe organizations aren’t doing enough to address racial inequality. After all, many companies will just hire a DEI consultant, have a few training sessions and call it a day.
Wanting to take a unique yet impactful approach to DEI, Deltek, the leading global provider of software and solutions for project-based businesses, took a look at and removed all exclusive terminology in their software code. By removing terms such as ‘master’ and ‘blacklist’ from company coding, Deltek is working to ensure that diversity and inclusion are woven into every aspect of their organization.
Business Chief North America talks to Lisa Roberts, Senior Director of HR and Leader of Diversity & Inclusion at Deltek to find out more.
Why should businesses today care about removing company bias within their software code?
We know that words can have a profound impact on people and leave a lasting impression. Many of the words that have been used in a technology environment were created many years ago, and today those words can be harmful to our customers and employees. Businesses should use words that will leave a positive impact and help create a more inclusive culture in their organization
What impact can exclusive terms have on employees?
Exclusive terms can have a significant impact on employees. It starts with the words we use in our job postings to describe the responsibilities in the position and of course, we also see this in our software code and other areas of the business. Exclusive terminology can be hurtful, and even make employees feel unwelcome. That can impact a person’s desire to join the team, stay at a company, or ultimately decide to leave. All of these critical actions impact the bottom line to the organization.
Please explain how Deltek has removed bias terminology from its software code
Deltek’s engineering team has removed biased terminology from our products, as well as from our documentation. The terms we focused on first that were easy to identify include blacklist, whitelist, and master/slave relationships in data architecture. We have also made some progress in removing gendered language, such as changing he and she to they in some documentation, as well as heteronormative language. We see this most commonly in pick lists that ask to identify someone as your husband or wife. The work is not done, but we are proud of how far we’ve come with this exercise!
What steps is Deltek taking to ensure biased terminology doesn’t end up in its code in the future?
What we are doing at Deltek, and what other organizations can do, is to put accountability on employees to recognize when this is happening – if you see something, say something! We also listen to feedback our customers give us and have heard their feedback on this topic. Those are both very reactive things of course, but we are also proactive. We have created guidance that identifies words that are more inclusive and also just good practice for communicating in a way that includes and respects others.
What advice would you give to other HR leaders who are looking to enhance DEI efforts within company technology?
My simple advice is to start with what makes sense to your organization and culture. Doing nothing is worse than doing something. And one of the best places to start is by acknowledging this is not just an HR initiative. Every employee owns the success of D&I efforts, and employees want to help the organization be better. For example, removing bias terminology was an action initiated by our Engineering and Product Strategy teams at Deltek, not HR. You can solicit the voices of employees by asking for feedback in engagement surveys, focus groups, and town halls. We hear great recommendations from employees and take those opportunities to improve.