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Reid Delays Vote on Protect IP Act - Broadcasting & Cable

Reid Delays Vote on Protect IP Act

Follows Jan. 18 Web blackout protest; confident that a compromise could be reached "in the coming weeks"
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In the wake of massive Web pushback and the
defection of some former co-sponsors of the bill, Sen. Majority Leader Harry
Reid (D-Nev.) Friday said that he would delay the planned Tuesday vote on the
PROTECT IP Act (PIPA), anti-piracy legislation opposed by powerful Web
companies including Google and Yahoo! Sen. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), sponsor of
the Stop Online Protection Act (SOPA) has also reportedly said he too would
postpone further consideration of his bill, though that signal had already been
sent by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.).

"There
is no reason that the legitimate issues raised by many about this bill cannot
be resolved," Reid said in a statement Friday, while continuing to say he
supported tackling an issue that costs billions of dollars and thousands of
jobs a year.

He
said he was confident a compromise could be reached "in the coming
weeks," though from the rhetoric from both sides of the issue, that would
appear to be a tall order.

The
move follows Wednesday's (Jan. 18) Web blackout protest involving, among many
others, Google, Craigslist and Wikipedia.

A
dispirited-sounding Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), sponsor of PIPA, said he respected
Reid's decision but suggested the move by colleagues to block consideration of
the bill would give aid and comfort to online pirates around the globe.
"[T]he day will come when the Senators who forced this move will look back
and realize they made a knee-jerk reaction to a monumental problem," he
said. "Somewhere in China today, in Russia today, and in many other
countries that do not respect American intellectual property, criminals who do
nothing but peddle in counterfeit products and stolen American content are
smugly watching how the United States Senate decided it was not even worth
debating how to stop the overseas criminals from draining our economy." 

Meanwhile,
bill critics were pushing for absolute victory. "While the PROTECT IP Act and
its House counterpart, the Stop Online Piracy Act, are still kicking around the
corridors of Capitol Hill, our elected members of Congress would be wise to
relegate these bad bills to the dustbin of history," said Craig Aaron,
president and CEO of Free Press Action Fund.
."This shows, once again, that people power works. Any Democrat or Republican who tries to resurrect this bill will be setting themselves up to face massive accountability at the hands of voters for trying to kill the Internet as we know it," said Adam Green, co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee.

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