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QUICK TAKE: Amid Heavy Opposition, Reid Puts Off Vote on Web Piracy Bill QUICK TAKE: Amid Heavy Opposition, Reid Puts Off Vote on Web Piracy Bi...

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Congress / CONGRESS

QUICK TAKE: Amid Heavy Opposition, Reid Puts Off Vote on Web Piracy Bill

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid speaks at the Capitol.(Liz Lynch)

photo of Dan  Friedman
January 20, 2012

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., will postpone a cloture vote on a controversial bill to crack down on foreign websites that use pirated content. His move comes after a public campaign by websites concerned the bill would expose them to lawsuits turned once bipartisan support for the measure to strong opposition in both parties.

“In light of recent events, I have decided to postpone Tuesday’s vote on the PROTECT I.P. Act,” Reid said in a statement.

While some Democrats had left open the prospect of voting for cloture to allow debate on the measure to start, Senate Republicans were set to filibuster the measure, assuring it would have been soundly defeated. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., on Thursday evening called for Reid to cancel the vote.

 

The vote was put off despite Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy’s continued efforts to cut a deal on an amendment that addressed critics’ concerns. Reid did not say when the bill may come up again.

“I admire the work that Chairman Leahy has put into this bill,” Reid said. “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.  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.”

Opponents of the legislation, including tech giants such as Google and Wikipedia, are wary of pronouncing victory too soon and worry that the enough changes will be offered to make it appear as if critics' concerns  have been addressed.

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