House, Senate Postpone Piracy Bills Under Pressure

Josh Smith, Dan Friedman, and Juliana Gruenwald | Nextgov | January 20, 2012

Capping a dramatic week of protests and legislative maneuvering, leaders in the Senate and the House announced on Friday that they are backing off efforts to pass a pair of controversial bills to crack down on foreign websites that use pirated content.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., announced that he will postpone a cloture vote on the Senate's Protect IP Act, originally scheduled for Tuesday. And in the House, Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith, R-Texas, said he will postpone consideration of the House version until more agreement can be found.

Congress backed off the legislation after an unprecedented online protest on Wednesday by an estimated 115,000 websites and 13 million Internet users that catapulted the debate onto the national stage. At least eight former cosponsors of the Protect IP Act have defected, and support is waning for the House's Stop Online Piracy Act, which aims to give U.S. officials more tools for combating international piracy and copyright infringement...