Congress makes a move to stop SOPA/PIPA

Stephanie Laumer

Congress moved to bury the highly controversial anti-piracy bills according to the New York Times. 

Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nevada, called off a scheduled vote on Protect IP Act (PIPA).  House of Representatives leaders also took steps to slow the Stop Online Piract Act (SOPA). 

However, Reid still voiced his support of the basic principles behind the bill and a need for action against piracy in a statement:

“There is no reason that the legitimate issues raised by the many about this bill cannot be resolved. 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.”

The author of SOPA, Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, has stated that he would postpone consideration of the bill.  This is a change from his initial statements that SOPA did not need change and critics were “spreading lies.”

The protests against the bills gained immediate worldwide attention.  Wikipedia closed down their site for 24 hours and Google, the most visited site in the world, posted a censorship bar over its logo. 

According to the New York Times, more than 7 million people signed Google’s petition opposing the legislation.

Rep. Lamar Smith was not the only politician to change positions following the public outcry against the bill.  Republican senators Orrin Hatch R-Utah, Marco Rubio R-Florida, Roy Blunt R-Montana, John Boozman R-Arkansas and Kelly Ayotte R-New Hampshire had all signed on as co-sponsors of PIPA, but by Thursday they all switched their position.

That Thursday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, asked Sen. Reid to postpone the vote.  Sen. McConnell’s opposition to the bill made it unlikely that it would have received the 60 votes it needed to proceed to a final vote.