Congress puts online piracy bills on hold (Update 3)

Jan 20, 2012
US Senate majority leader Harry Reid, pictured in December 2011, said Friday that he was delaying next week's scheduled vote on a controversial bill aimed at cracking down on online piracy. "In light of recent events, I have decided to postpone Tuesday's vote on the Protect IP Act," Reid said in a statement two days after Wikipedia and Google led a wave of online protest against the legislation.

US congressional leaders put anti-online piracy legislation on hold Friday following a wave of protests led by Google and Wikipedia denouncing the bills as a threat to Internet freedom.

Senate majority leader Harry Reid said he was delaying next week's vote on the Protect IP Act (PIPA) and House Judiciary Committee chairman Lamar Smith said he would "revisit" the House version, the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA).

"In light of recent events, I have decided to postpone Tuesday's vote on the Protect IP Act," Reid announced in a statement two days after a wave of online protests against the bill swept the Internet.

"There is no reason that the legitimate issues raised by many about this bill cannot be resolved," the Democrat from Nevada added. "I am optimistic that we can reach a compromise in the coming weeks."

Smith, a Republican from Texas, said he would postpone consideration of the House bill in committee "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," Smith said.

"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," he said.

The announcements by Reid and Smith came amid eroding congressional support for the bills intended to crack down on online piracy of movies and music and the sale of counterfeit goods.

Wikipedia shut down the English-language version of its online encyclopedia for 24 hours Wednesday to protest the legislation and hundreds of other sites joined in the protest.

Google blotted out the logo on its US home page with a black banner and published an exhortation to users to "Tell Congress: Please don't censor the Web!"

Google said more than seven million people in the United States had signed an online petition against the bills.

The draft legislation has won the backing of Hollywood, the music industry, entertainment giants like Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., the National Association of Manufacturers, the US Chamber of Commerce and others.

But the bills have come under fire from online companies and digital rights groups for allegedly paving the way for US authorities to shut down websites accused of online piracy, including foreign sites, without due process.

On Thursday, US authorities shut down Megaupload.com, one of the world's largest file-sharing sites, and charged seven people in what they called one of "the largest criminal copyright cases ever brought by the United States."

The shutdown of Megaupload triggered a wave of retaliatory attacks by the online hacktivist group Anonymous, which temporarily disabled the websites of the Justice Department, FBI and Recording Industry Association of America.

In his statement, 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.

"We must take action to stop these illegal practices," he said. "We live in a country where people rightfully expect to be fairly compensated for a day's work."

White House spokesman Jay Carney said Friday that Congress needs to find a solution "that both deals with online piracy and continues to ensure a free and open Internet."

The decision to delay the bills was welcomed by a wide range of groups.

"There is more still to be done to ensure the bills do no harm to technology innovation and the growth of the Internet," said Robert Holleyman, president and chief executive of the Business Software Alliance.

"Millions of Internet users let it be known that their rights and use of the Internet should not be easily tampered with, and Congress has wisely signaled it has heard their concerns," said Ed Black, president and chief executive of the Computer and Communications Industry Association.

In a joint statement, the American Federation of Musicians, American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, Screen Actors Guild and other groups said they hoped there would be a "new tone" in the debate going forward.

"We would hope a new tone can be set that does not pit the creativity and innovation of our directors, actors, performers, craftspeople, and technicians against those innovators in other industries," they said.

"We believe an Internet that does not allow outright stealing has to be the Internet of the future or all the promises it holds will be unrealized."

Explore further: Twitter rules out Turkey office amid tax row

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Wikipedia to be blacked out over anti-piracy bill (Update)

Jan 16, 2012

Wikipedia will black out the English language version of its website Wednesday to protest anti-piracy legislation under consideration in Congress, the foundation behind the popular community-based online encyclopedia ...

Internet pioneers oppose US online piracy bills

Dec 14, 2011

The founders of Craigslist, eBay, Google, Twitter, Yahoo! and other Internet giants expressed concern to the US Congress on Wednesday over legislation intended to crack down on online piracy.

Democratic senators set path on US energy bill

Jun 18, 2010

Senate Democrats said Thursday they had come to an agreement on the framework of an energy bill sought by President Barack Obama to reduce US dependence on fossil fuels.

Debate starting on new French Internet piracy bill

Jul 21, 2009

(AP) -- Lawmakers in France's lower house of parliament are to start debate Tuesday on a new version of a bill aimed at cracking down on online piracy by cutting the Internet connections of those who illegally download movies ...

Wikipedia, Google protest US antipiracy proposals

Jan 18, 2012

(AP) -- January 18 is a date that will live in ignorance, as Wikipedia started a 24-hour blackout of its English-language articles, joining other sites in a protest of pending U.S. legislation aimed at shutting ...

Recommended for you

Net neutrality balancing act

1 hour ago

Researchers in Italy, writing in the International Journal of Technology, Policy and Management have demonstrated that net neutrality benefits content creator and consumers without compromising provider innovation nor pr ...

Twitter rules out Turkey office amid tax row

Apr 16, 2014

Social networking company Twitter on Wednesday rejected demands from the Turkish government to open an office there, following accusations of tax evasion and a two-week ban on the service.

How does false information spread online?

Apr 16, 2014

Last summer the World Economic Forum (WEF) invited its 1,500 council members to identify top trends facing the world, including what should be done about them. The WEF consists of 80 councils covering a wide range of issues including social media. Members come ...

User comments : 17

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

HydraulicsNath
not rated yet Jan 20, 2012
It has very good aspects but i agree in that who knows what consequences it may have?
CHollman82
2.5 / 5 (22) Jan 20, 2012
Delaying? What good does delaying it do? If there was sufficient public outcry to warrant action then that action should be to scrap it, not to delay it.
AWaB
4.4 / 5 (12) Jan 20, 2012
One of the problems with this bill is one of the basic premises for it being created. The premise that piracy is costing money and thus jobs is the first false assumption. The dollar figures are calculated by assuming that anyone who downloaded something for free would have paid full price for that product. This is such a dishonest statement that I'm surprised those that make it haven't grown pinochio (sp?) noses!
Xbw
2 / 5 (24) Jan 20, 2012
One of the problems with this bill is one of the basic premises for it being created. The premise that piracy is costing money and thus jobs is the first false assumption. The dollar figures are calculated by assuming that anyone who downloaded something for free would have paid full price for that product. This is such a dishonest statement that I'm surprised those that make it haven't grown pinochio (sp?) noses!


Correct. Also, the fees and penalties aimed at those who supposedly would violate these new laws would of course go straight to our loving government. Just another law to "help" revenue.
wiyosaya
4.5 / 5 (8) Jan 20, 2012
Studies indicate that people who download music illegally from peer-to-peer sites tend to buy more music than those who do not download from such sites. Seems that the likely effect of this would be that the "content" industry might actually lose money if illegal downloading is curtailed. http://news.bbc.c...7887.stm
Cave_Man
5 / 5 (7) Jan 20, 2012
-- intended to crack down on online piracy of movies and music and the sale of counterfeit goods.

From what I read on craigslist this bill gives giant corporations the right to shut down any website they THINK is hurting their profits without any kind of judicial process.

Now either craigslist is being over dramatic or this bill means the end of the free world. Dont they realize that this will lead to one giant corporation who has the power of the govt.?

I mean all these (sorry offensive i know) MORONIC pieces of excrement are always blathering on about getting rid of big government while at the same time pushing for a corporate oligarchy. Seriously how does everyone miss the conspiracy?

Like the fact that rupert murdoch owns AOL and News Crap, so how can they be on both sides of the arguement?

Well because any way this debate goes people are going to be forced to pick a side... And the choices are big govt or big corp. Both basically the same. Bad for 95% of us. So I say f the 5%
Argiod
3 / 5 (2) Jan 20, 2012
Studies indicate that people who download music illegally from peer-to-peer sites tend to buy more music than those who do not download from such sites. Seems that the likely effect of this would be that the "content" industry might actually lose money if illegal downloading is curtailed. http://news.bbc.c...7887.stm


Indeed; there are many legally purchased CDs and DVDs in my collection that would not be there if I had not been able to 'test drive' the full versions from .torrents. I have a very limited budget and cannot afford to buy something for hundreds of dollars, just to find out it is buggy or doesn't fill my needs. And most often, if you open the package, you're stuck with it, like it or not. And I've also used various 'demo' versions of software, and found they don't always work the same when you buy the full package. Sometimes 'trial' versions are excerpted from beta versions with features not carried over into the commercial product.
powerup1
5 / 5 (3) Jan 20, 2012
The people that try to pass bills such as SOPA and PIPA need to understand that the internet is a living thing with a growing immune system (us), that will protect itself from idiots that try to harm its existence.
GDM
5 / 5 (3) Jan 20, 2012
What scares me is how the bills got so far "down the road" before being stopped (or simply delayed until the furor subsides). The lobbyists have been very busy writing the legislation for our so-called representatives, giving them tons of money, and playing a very patriotic commercial non-stop. It is now time for the people to speak - very loudly.
kochevnik
1 / 5 (1) Jan 21, 2012
This is the kind of issue libertarians should get behind. And some film titles are simply not available in the States. Takashi Miike movies come to mind as do many Asian titles.
Sinister1811
2.3 / 5 (6) Jan 21, 2012
They probably realized the kind of outrage they caused. And now they're re-thinking the whole idea.
kochevnik
3 / 5 (2) Jan 21, 2012
I would prefer to watch a movie and then pay the director, producer or one of the actors directly. Cut out the worthless vampire middlemen. Make an paypal link on the IMDB page.
Callippo
1 / 5 (1) Jan 21, 2012
The lability and populism of american lawmakers illustrated. Note that the tendency to totalitarian stance is independent on left-right orientation of voters.

http://imgur.com/r/pics/Wf6Uh
_nigmatic10
5 / 5 (2) Jan 21, 2012
Sometimes i long for the days when one could record a song off the radio, listen to it, and not worry about some privacy thugs appearing at ones door spitting trash about piracy bull.
waterflea
not rated yet Jan 22, 2012
Whats cool is that the media companies are the ones that build the writeable CDs, DVDs and BluRays. What did they think we would put on them? Open any cd player/writer and you'll see a chip made by Sony.
jsa09
not rated yet Jan 22, 2012
"We must take action to stop these illegal practices," he said. "We live in a country where people rightfully expect to be fairly compensated for a day's work."


Yep a fair days pay for a fair days work. Wish someone would give me 30 million dollars for doing my job all year.
Vendicar_Decarian
not rated yet Jan 22, 2012
Walt Disney Co. Chief Executive Robert Iger received compensation valued at $31.4 million for 2011, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Mr. Iger's compensation rose 11.9% over his package for the year prior, valued at $28 million.

More news stories

Net neutrality balancing act

Researchers in Italy, writing in the International Journal of Technology, Policy and Management have demonstrated that net neutrality benefits content creator and consumers without compromising provider innovation nor pr ...

Cosmologists weigh cosmic filaments and voids

(Phys.org) —Cosmologists have established that much of the stuff of the universe is made of dark matter, a mysterious, invisible substance that can't be directly detected but which exerts a gravitational ...

Bionic ankle 'emulates nature'

These days, Hugh Herr, an associate professor of media arts and sciences at MIT, gets about 100 emails daily from people across the world interested in his bionic limbs.