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US delays SOPA bill

Posted by lahar9jhadav on January 21, 2012

US delays bill in wake of piracy protests

By North America correspondent Lisa Millar and wires

Posted January 21, 2012 07:08:33

The first stage of the Hollywood-backed anti-piracy bill will not go before Congress as planned, with voting indefinitely delayed after an online protest by Google and Wikipedia earlier this week.

There were widespread protests this week and Wikipedia blacked out its site for 24 hours, arguing the bill would create censorship.

Half a dozen senators who sponsored the measure say they now oppose it.

Senate majority leader Harry Reid has postponed a vote on the Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA), which was scheduled for January 24, saying he is optimistic a compromise can be reached that protects intellectual property and maintains openness of the internet.

Mr Reid’s action comes a day after a senior Democratic aide, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the measure lacked the 60 votes needed to clear a procedural hurdle in the 100-member Senate.

A handful of senators who had co-sponsored the legislation dropped their support after Wednesday’s protests started.

The bills, known as PIPA in the Senate and Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the House, are aimed at curbing access to overseas websites that traffic in pirated content and counterfeit products, such as movies and music.

The legislation has been a priority for entertainment companies, publishers, pharmaceutical companies and other industry groups who say it is critical to curbing online piracy, which they believe costs them billions of dollars a year.

But technology companies are concerned the laws would undermine internet freedoms, be difficult to enforce and encourage frivolous lawsuits.

Public sentiment on the bills shifted in recent weeks after internet players ramped up their lobbying.

Yesterday, activist network Anonymous claimed responsibility for an attack which brought down the FBI and US Department of Justice websites.

Anonymous says it launched a denial of service attack to cripple government and music industry websites in a protest against an FBI crackdown on popular file-sharing website megaupload.com.

The two government sites were up and running again after several hours.

White House officials weighed in on Saturday, saying in a blog post that they had concerns about legislation that could make businesses on the internet vulnerable to litigation and harm legal activity and free speech.

On Wednesday, protests blanketed the internet, turning some popular websites dark for 24 hours.

Google, Facebook, Twitter and others protested the proposed legislation but did not shut down.

ABC/Reuters

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