Chalk up another big win for the Internet companies and their online protest against controversial anti-piracy bills. Both PIPA and SOPA are now on hold in Congress, giving lawmakers more time to work out a compromise between Silcon Valley and Hollywood.
Citing "recent events," Senate majority leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said he would postpone Tuesday's vote on PIPA, the Protect Intellectual Property Act.
Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Tex.), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, also backed down, issuing a statement that he would "postpone" consideration of the Stop Online Piracy Act "until there is wider agreement on a solution." He had originally announced he would resume markup of the controversial bill in February.
Up until this morning, Reid seemed determined to bring the controversial bill to the floor even as 36 Senators pulled their support for the bill or called for its delay. When Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) came out against the bill on Thursday, leaving mostly Dems defending a bill that even the Administration found troubling, the writing may have been on the wall.
In a statement, Reid urged Senators to work on a compromise. "There is no reason that the legitimate issues raised by many about this bill cannot be resolved," Reid said. "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. … I encourage Chairman [Patrick] Leahy (D-Vt.) to continue engaging with all stakeholders to forge a balance between protecting Americans' intellectual property, and maintaining openness and innovation on the Internet. We made good progress through the discussions we've held in recent days, and I am oiptimistic that we can reach a compromise in the coming weeks."
Smith's statement also recognized the power of the Internet protest and the lobby that took to the halls of Congress this week. "I have heard from the critics and I take seriously their concerns regarding proposed legislation to address the problem of piracy. It is clear that we need to revisit the approach on how best the problem of foreign thieves that steal and sell American inventions and products," Smith said.