PIPA anti-piracy bill vote postponed in Senate
Next week's scheduled vote on the PIPA anti-piracy bill has been postponed by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, handing a defeat to Hollywood and a major victory to Internet companies that launched online protests to battle the legislation and its House companion, known as SOPA.
"In light of recent events, I have decided to postpone Tuesday’s vote on the Protect IP Act," Reid (D-Nev.) said Friday. He called for all sides to work together to resolve "legitimate issues" raised about the bill to crack down on foreign websites that traffic in pirated movies, music and other goods.
"Counterfeiting and piracy cost the American economy billions of dollars and thousands of jobs each year, with the movie industry alone supporting over 2.2 million jobs. We must take action to stop these illegal practices," Reid said. "We made good progress through the discussions we've held in recent days, and I am optimistic that we can reach a compromise in the coming weeks."
Wikipedia led a 12-to-24-hour blackout by more than 10,000 websites on Wednesday in protest of the proposed Protect Intellectual Property Act and the Stop Online Piracy Act. The sites directed people to contact their members of Congress, flooding Capitol Hill with calls and emails.
The bills are strongly backed by the entertainment industry and had been on a fast track to approval, with the Senate set to hold a key procedural vote on Tuesday. But the protests led several co-sponsors of the legislation to pull their support, with numerous other lawmakers vowing to oppose the legislation in its current form out of concern that it could squelch free speech on the Internet and lead to the shutdown of legitimate sites.
-- Jim Puzzanghera in Washington
Photo: Protesters in New York on Wednesday demonstrate against the proposed Stop Online Piracy Act and Protect Intellectual Property Act. Credit: Mario Tama/Getty Images