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Groups Ask Congress To Postpone New Anti-Piracy Efforts

Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., poses in the Rayburn Room in the Capitol Building in Washington Thursday, June 12, 2003. Hundreds of thousands of Californians are signing petitions to kick Democratic Gov. Gray Davis out of office, spurred on by a campaign bankrolled by Issa who wants to take his place. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)(AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

February 6, 2012

Opponents of the House's Stop Online Piracy Act and the Protect IP Act in the Senate want Congress to hit pause on efforts to forge new anti-piracy legislation.

In a letter sent to Capitol Hill on Monday, about 70 advocacy groups, Internet companies, and venture capitalists urged Congress to stop pushing new legislation until all concerns have been addressed.

"Now is the time for Congress to take a breath, step back, and approach the issues from a fresh perspective," the groups wrote. "The concerns are too fundamental and too numerous to be fully addressed through hasty revisions to these bills. Nor can they be addressed by closed-door negotiations among a small set of inside-the-beltway stakeholders."

Amnesty International, Consumers Union, Public Knowledge, and Mozilla were among the organizations that signed the letter.

Besides addressing the criticism that led to last month's unprecedented online protest by thousands of Internet companies, including Google and Wikipedia, Congress should work to determine the full extent and impact of online piracy, the letter said.

On Wednesday Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., unveiled crowd-sourced portions of his Online Protection & Enforcement of Digital Trade (OPEN) Act, which he claims would take a more targeted approach to online piracy. Issa established a website to solicit crowd-sourced recommendations from Internet users, but it may not be enough to spark enthusiasm for the measure.

Industry groups and entertainment companies have said they do not support Issa's bill.

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