The Protect IP Act wasn’t just put on the back burner by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, it was taken off the stove entirely:
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. …
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.
Meanwhile, in the House, with sponsors of the Stop Online Piracy Act dropping like flies (Rep. Marsha Blackburn is the latest), the bill’s primary sponsor Rep. Lamar Smith announced that he’s putting it on hold:
According to Cnet, House Rep. Lamar Smith—aka the most vocal proponent of the proposed SOPA legislation—just announced that the House will put the bill on hold. The move follows tuesdays SOPA blackout protest and the Senate’s decision to postpone their vote on the corresponding PIPA bill.
Rep. Smith issued an official statement, saying that he has “heard from the critics” and that it’s “clear that we need to revisit the approach” with regard to SOPA.
It seems this week’s internet protest of these bills has made them toxic. Don’t expect them to come up again any time soon, especially given that this is an election year.
But they will come up again, and they probably should. Online piracy is a problem that does need to be addressed. But if the federal government is going to do so, they should do it in a way that respects due process rights and doesn’t give the federal government the power to turn off websites without so much as a court hearing.