WASHINGTON, Jan. 20 (UPI) -- Congressional leaders Friday postponed action on anti-Internet piracy legislation, apparently feeling the pressure from tech companies and online activists.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., postponed the Protect IP (Intellectual Property) Act in the Senate "in light of recent events," an apparent reference to this week's 24-hour protest that blacked out some of the Internet's most popular Web sites, The Hill reported
"There is no reason that the legitimate issues raised by many about this bill cannot be resolved," Reid said in a statement Friday. "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."
In the House, Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith, R-Texas, said he will postpone voting on the Stop Online Piracy Act until there is wider agreement.
"I have heard from the critics and I take seriously their concerns regarding proposed legislation to address the problem of online piracy," Smith said. "It is clear that we need to revisit the approach on how best to address the problem of foreign thieves that steal and sell American inventions and products."
Support for the bills collapsed after thousands of Web sites, including Google and Wikipedia, took part in an online protest Wednesday, The Hill reported.
On Thursday, Republican Sens. Orrin Hatch of Utah, Marco Rubio of Florida, Roy Blunt of Missouri, John Boozman of Arkansas and Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, who all had signed on as co-sponsors of the Protect IP Act, switched their position in the wake of the protest.