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SOPA, PIPA legislation postponed

Anti-piracy law votes postponed indefinitely following massive public outcry

SOPA, PIPA legislation postponed
Votes on the PIPA and SOPA anti-piracy bills have been postponed indefinitely following massive public outcry.

US lawmakers have indefinitely postponed votes on two anti-piracy bills following a massive outcry against the proposed legislation by internet companies, such as Wikipedia, Facebook and Red Hat.

"I have heard from the critics and I take seriously their concerns regarding proposed legislation to address the problem of online piracy. 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," Lamar Smith, the Republican chairman of the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee told Reuters in a statement.

Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid also said he would postpone a critical vote that had been scheduled for 24th January 24 "in light of recent events".

The two bills under question are the PROTECT IP Act (PIPA) in the Senate, and the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the House, these acts are aimed at stopping internet users accessing non-US websites that feature pirated or counterfeit content, such as music and movies.

The legislation would have benefitted entertainment companies who say they are losing billions of dollars a year to piracy, but technology companies have concerns that the legislation would undermine internet freedom, be tough to enforce and lead to unnecessary lawsuits.

On Wednesday last week, internet companies, such as Wikipedia and Reddit turned dark for 24 hours, while Google, Facebook and Twitter protested the legislation, but did not close their sites.

White House officials on Sunday said they had concerns that the legislation could make businesses on the internet vulnerable to legal action and harm legal activity and free speech and several sponsors of the legislation, including Senators Roy Blunt, Chuck Grassley, Orrin Hatch, John Boozman and Marco Rubio, have withdrawn their support following the global protests.

"We appreciate that lawmakers have listened to our community's concerns, and we stand ready to work with them on solutions to piracy and copyright infringement that will not chill free expression or threaten the economic growth and innovation the Internet provides," a Facebook spokesman told Reuters.

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