SOPA and PIPA anti-piracy bills shelved

20 Jan 2012
piracy

Work on SOPA and PIPA has been delayed indefinitely following online protest

A pair of controversial US anti-piracy bills have been shelved following a high-profile online protest.

The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect IP Act (PIPA) drew criticism from web giants including Wikipedia and Google, which complained the copyright protecting provisions would hurt the freedom of the internet.

Wikipedia and a host of other sites shut down for 24 hours on Wednesday, while Google publicised the pair of bills, asking users to contact their representatives.

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

The next day, several high-profile politicians pulled back from the bills, and now next week's vote on PIPA has been delayed.

"In light of recent events, I have decided to postpone Tuesday's vote on the Protect IP Act," said Senator Harry Reid.

"There is no reason that the legitimate issues raised by many about this bill cannot be resolved," he added. "We must take action to stop these illegal practices... We made good progress through the discussions we've held in recent days, and I am optimistic that we can reach a compromise in the coming weeks."

SOPA stalled

SOPA was supposed to be discussed in Congress in February, but it too has been delayed, with the House of Representatives saying it would "postpone consideration of the legislation until there is wider agreement on a solution".

“I have heard from the critics and I take seriously their concerns regarding proposed legislation to address the problem of online piracy," said House Judiciary Committee chairman Lamar Smith. "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."

Smith stressed that online piracy remained an issue that was "too big to ignore".

“The Committee will continue work with both copyright owners and internet companies to develop proposals that combat online piracy and protect America’s intellectual property," he said. "We welcome input from all organisations and individuals who have an honest difference of opinion about how best to address this widespread problem."

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