SOPA And PIPA Indefinitely Shelved On Capitol Hill
The blackout campaign by Internet content providers continues to have an impact on Capitol Hill:
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid called off a vote on controversial anti-piracy legislation Friday — the surest sign yet that a wave of online protests have killed SOPA and PIPA for now and maybe forever.
Reid canceled the procedural vote on PIPA scheduled for Tuesday. Meanwhile, in the House, Judiciary Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas), announced plans Friday to put off any consideration of SOPA indefinitely.
“I have heard from the critics and I take seriously their concerns regarding proposed legislation to address the problem of online piracy,” Smith said in a statement Friday. “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.”
Silicon Valley interests and cyber activists rejoiced at the victory.
“Hallelujah!” tweeted Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of the Consumer Electronics Association.
“Dems, Sen. Reid has just saved u from a lot of embarrassment/loss of support,” tweeted Gigi Sohn, co-founder of Public Knowledge, which had helped organize protests.
In a statement, Reid said, “In light of recent events, I have decided to postpone Tuesday’s vote on the PROTECT IP Act.”
But the Nevada Democrat said talks would continue between the warring sides — Hollywood and content providers are on one side and Silicon Valley and the tech community on the other.
“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,” Reid said.
“There is no reason that the legitimate issues raised by many about this bill cannot be resolved,” he added. “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.”
This comes on top of yesterday’s news that Reid had told Senate Democrats that they were released from supporting the bill:
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid won’t whip Democratic votes for an online anti-piracy bill, according to sources familiar with his plans.
The decision deals a severe blow to movie, music and television producers, who had hoped to withstand a surprisingly strong Silicon Valley surge against the bill. It also casts serious doubt over whether the bill authored by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) will be able to net the 60 votes needed to reach cloture.
At the very least, this means that its back to the drawing board on both these bills. Given the amount of public opposition that they have created, though, it seems highly doubtful that they will be able to get anything passed before the November elections.