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Ryan Criticizes Anti-Piracy Legislation

January 9, 2012

Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., officially came out against controversial anti-piracy legislation after weeks of criticism from activists who thought he supported it.

"The internet is one of the most magnificent expressions of freedom and free enterprise in history. It should stay that way," Ryan said in a statement.

He said the House version, the Stop Online Piracy Act, "creates the precedent and possibility for undue regulation, censorship and legal abuse."

Users of the social website Reddit targeted Ryan after mistakenly believing he was a cosponsor of the bill, known as SOPA.

Those users raised thousands of dollars for Ryan's Democratic opponent. In trying to tamp down that controversy in December, a Ryan spokesperson didn't go as far as to say Ryan opposed SOPA.

The legislation, as well as its Senate counterpart, seeks to reduce online piracy and copyright infringement by allowing companies and law enforcement to take more aggressive action against offending websites.

Its sponsor, House Judiciary Chairman Lamar Smith, R-Texas, says criticism is unfounded.

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