PIPA vote postponed, SOPA shelved, ESA drops support

Friday, 20 January 2012 16:06 GMT By Stephany Nunneley

Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid (NV) has postponed a vote on PIPA due to various issues and protests surrounding the bill, stating there’s “no reason that the legitimate issues raised by many about this bill cannot be resolved.” SOPA has also been postponed for the time being, and the ESA has dropped support of it altogether.

PIPA postponed

In a statement, Reid said he was “optimistic that we can reach a compromise in the coming weeks,” and hopes the bill’s backer, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (VT), can help resolve issues with its legislation.

“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,” Reid said. “We must take action to stop these illegal practices.”

On Thursday, in move which surprised some of his more liberal constituents, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (KY), encouraged Reid to postpone action on the bill, as other senators previously behind PIPA and the similar bill SOPA, dropped support.

Last week, Leahy, has said more study was needed regarding DNS blocking proposed in his bill before it went to vote. His backpedaling was due to the outpouring of protest from his constituents in Vermont.

“I and the bill’s co-sponsors have continued to hear concerns about the Domain Name provision from engineers, human rights groups, and others,” Leahy said in a statement. “I have also heard from a number of Vermonters on this important issue. I remain confident that the ISPs – including the cable industry, which is the largest association of ISPs – would not support the legislation if its enactment created the problems that opponents of this provision suggest.

“Nonetheless, this is in fact a highly technical issue, and I am prepared to recommend we give it more study before implementing it.”

The PIPA vote, originally moved to Tuesday, January 23 has yet to be rescheduled as of press time. Via Reuters.

SOPA off the table, ESA backs out

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX) has also announced his panel would not proceed with pushing the SOPA bill until a compromise is reached regarding its contents.

“I have heard from the critics and I take seriously their concerns regarding proposed legislation to address the problem of online piracy,” said Smith. “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” (via BBC).

Meanwhile, the ESA has also decided to drop its support of SOPA after-the-fact, saying in a statement this afternoon: “From the beginning, ESA has been committed to the passage of balanced legislation to address the illegal theft of intellectual property found on foreign rogue sites. Although the need to address this pervasive threat to our industry’s creative investment remains, concerns have been expressed about unintended consequences stemming from the current legislative proposals.

“Accordingly, we call upon Congress, the Obama Administration, and stakeholders to refocus their energies on producing a solution that effectively balances both creative and technology interests. As an industry of innovators and creators, we understand the importance of both technological innovation and content protection and are committed to working with all parties to encourage a balanced solution.”

The ESA also supported PIPA and spent $190,000 on lobbying efforts in support of the bill in Washington.