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U.S. House and Senate call off votes on PIPA and SOPA

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid this morning postponed a vote on the PROTECT IP Act, a controversial anti-piracy bill that, along with the House’s Stop Online Piracy Act, drew widespread online protest just two days earlier.

Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), chairman of the House  Judiciary Committee, quickly responded to the announcement by shelving SOPA “until there is wider agreement on a solution.”

The delays appear to be indefinite, with Reid suggesting that PIPA sponsor Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont) redraft the proposed legislation, saying in a statement, “There is no reason that the legitimate issues raised by many about this bill cannot be resolved.”

“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,” Reid (D-Nevada) continued. “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.”

In his statement, Smith added: “I have heard from the critics and I take seriously their concerns regarding proposed legislation to address the problem of online piracy. 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.”

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