Which presidential candidates are against SOPA and PIPA?All of them, actually.
President Barack Obama and all of the major Republican presidential candidates - Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul and Rick Santorum - took stands against the Stop Online Piracy Act and its companion Protect IP Act, at least in their initial forms in early 2012.
The controversial legislation would give the federal government broad new powers to crack down on foreign websites that distribute pirated movies, music and other products. But the presidential candidates said SOPA and PIPA would give the government too much power.
Here's a look at each candidate's first public comments on SOPA and PIPA.
The Obama administration warned SOPA and PIPA could threaten free speech and open access to the Internet."While we believe that online piracy by foreign websites is a serious problem that requires a serious legislative response, we will not support legislation that reduces freedom of expression, increases cybersecurity risk, or undermines the dynamic, innovative global Internet," the administration said in a January 2012 statement.
"Any effort to combat online piracy must guard against the risk of online censorship of lawful activity and must not inhibit innovation by our dynamic businesses large and small. Across the globe, the openness of the Internet is increasingly central to innovation in business, government, and society and it must be protected."
Romney, the Republican former Massachusetts governor, described SOPA and PIPA as being "intrusive, far too expansive, far too threatening to freedom of speech and movement of information across the Internet."
"It would have a potentially depressing impact on one of the fastest-growing industries in America, which is the internet and all those industries connected to it," Romney said during a televised debate in January 2012.
"If we can find a way to very narrowly, through our current laws, go after those people who are pirating, particularly those from offshore, we'll do that. But a very broad law which gives the government the power to start stepping into the Internet and say who can pass what to who, I think that's a mistake, so I'd say no, I'm standing for freedom."
Gingrich, a former speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, said during a Republican presidential debate that he was "weighing" SOPA and PIPA but indicated the legislation was deeply flawed.
"We have a patent office. We have copyright law. If a company finds that it has genuinely been infringed upon, it has the right to sue. But the idea that we're going to preemptively have the government start censoring the Internet on behalf of giant corporations' economic interests strikes me as exactly the wrong thing to do," Gingrich said.
In a statement posted on his campaign website in January 2012, Gingrich said he opposes the "current form" of SOPA and PIPA. "Combating online piracy of intellectual property and its adverse effects on jobs and free market competitiveness is without question an important objective. However, each bill allows for private rights of action to censor the Internet while opening up additional risks to national security."
Paul, the libertarian in the 2012 Republican presidential contest, took what was the most clear and decisive position against PIPA and SOPA, calling it a "disaster."
Writing on his Facebook page, Paul said, "My campaign, and the entire freedom movement, would not be as strong as they are today without a free Internet, and that's just one of the reasons why the establishment hopes to censor it with SOPA and PIPA. I'm proud to see so many taking a stand today. Contact your representative and senators and tell them to oppose these disastrous bills."
Santorum, a former U.S. senator from Pennsylvania, said during a January 2012 debate that he is opposed to SOPA and PIPA but added that he believes the government should be doing more to protect intellectual property rights.
"I don't support this law and I agree with everybody up here that it goes too far. But I will not agree with everybody up here that there isn't something that can and should be done to protect the intellectual property rights of people," Santorum said.
"The Internet is not a free zone where anybody can do anything they want to do and trample the rights of other people .... I'm for free but I'm not for people abusing the law, and that's what's happening right now and I think something proper should be done. I agree this law goes too far. But the idea that anything goes on the Internet, where did that come from? Where in America does it say anything goes? We have laws and we respect the law and the rule of law is an important thing and property rights should be respected."