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In the Senate, Anti-Piracy Legislation Is Delayed

BY Nick Judd | Friday, January 20 2012

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's office is circulating a statement today in which the Democrat of Nevada announces he will delay action on controversial anti-piracy legislation until the bill can be changed.

Here's the statement:

In light of recent events, I have decided to postpone Tuesday’s vote on the PROTECT I.P. Act.

There is no reason that the legitimate issues raised by many about this bill cannot be resolved. 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. We live in a country where people rightfully expect to be fairly compensated for a day’s work, whether that person is a miner in the high desert of Nevada, an independent band in New York City, or a union worker on the back lots of a California movie studio.

I admire the work that Chairman Leahy has put into this bill. I encourage him 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 optimistic that we can reach a compromise in the coming weeks.

After protest actions Wednesday both in the street and online, organizers urged activists on Thursday to bombard senators sponsoring the Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act of 2011 with calls voicing their opposition to the bill. These protests have gained traction because the Senate bill, called PROTECT IP or PIPA for short, and similar legislation in the House, call for changes to the structure of the Internet and create a fast track for private interests to in essence force the denial of access to certain content online.

Reid did not set a date for another vote.

House Speaker John Boehner has said that related legislation on his side of Congress, the Stop Online Piracy Act, won't move until a consensus forms on what to do with the bill. SOPA, as it is called, is currently sitting in the House Judiciary Committee's markup process.

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