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Senate majority leader postpones PIPA vote

Senate majority leader postpones PIPA vote

January 20, 2012 | By Mike Rose

The U.S. Senate's controversial Protect IP Act (PIPA) took a hit today, as Senate majority leader Harry Reid said that he has decided to postpone the vote on the legislation.

PIPA and its House sibling, the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), are similar measures that would give the U.S. government and copyright holders the ability to block U.S. internet users from accessing sites accused of primarily being dedicated to copyright and trademark infringement.

But opponents to the bill raise questions about the bills' effectiveness against piracy, and how the measures would impact free speech on the internet.

Reid, originally one of PIPA's biggest supporters, was expected to bring the bill to the Senate on January 24 for a procedural test vote.

However, he has now postponed the vote, explaining in a statement, "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," he continued.

"We must take action to stop these illegal practices... 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."

Reid's actions cast doubt over whether or not PIPA will be able to net the votes it needs to receive a full vote in Senate.

This is just the latest blow for the bill, as both PIPA and SOPA have seen opposition grow over the past week. In the wake of anti-internet blacklist bill protests on Wednesday, a total of 18 Senators opposed the bill, including a number of Senators who were originally co-sponsors of the legislation.

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