Anti-Piracy Bill Passes Committee, Then Runs in to Brick Wall

Wyden puts a hold on legislation for second time

Just hours after the Protect IP Act, a bill designed to thwart digital piracy and the selling of counterfeit goods online, passed the Senate Judiciary Committee in a unanimous vote, its progress came to a screeching halt.

Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., says he will put a hold on the legislation, the second time in two years that he's stepped in the way of passing a bill on this issue. Sponsors of the bill, including Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., and 12 of the Judiciary Committee's 18 members, made changes to this year's version, but apparently those revisions were not enough for Wyden.

"I understand and agree with the goal of the legislation, to protect intellectual property and combat commerce in counterfeit goods, but I am not willing to muzzle speech and stifle innovation and economic growth to achieve this objective," Wyden said in a statement.

Among Wyden's objections is a provision in the bill that would allow corporations to go after rogue sites through a private right of action. Wyden and others in the tech community are also concerned about provisions that would allow Internet service providers to interfere with domain name look-up services.

A spokeswoman for the Judiciary Committee indicated that the committee would move forward. So far, there has been no move to take the bill to the floor, so Wyden's "hold" is more threat than anything else at this point. "The unanimous vote for the bill speaks for itself," she said.

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