Leaders In House And Senate Postpone Anti-Piracy Efforts

The push for controversial legislation known as SOPA and PIPA appears to have unraveled completely after leaders in both the House and Senate put the bills on ice.

In a press release this morning, Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Tx) announced that the House Judiciary Committee is suspending a planned mark-up for the Stop Online Piracy Act, a bill that would have created new powers to target foreign “rogue” websites. Here are excerpts from the release:

I have heard from the critics and I take seriously their concerns regarding proposed legislation to address the problem of online piracy…

The Committee remains committed to finding a solution to the problem of online piracy that protects American intellectual property and innovation.”

The House Judiciary Committee will postpone consideration of the legislation until there is wider agreement on a solution.

Smith’s announcement came shortly after Senate leader Harry Reid (D-Nv) said he was suspending a procedural vote on SOPA’s cousin, the Protect IP Act.

The news comes after a chaotic week in which the technology industry flexed newfound political power by blacking out popular websites in opposition to the bills, and the hacking collective Anonymous took down industry and government websites, including that of the FBI.

The upshot is that the current version of the legislation appears dead as a doorknob though some political watchers predict a modified version will reappear under a new name.

In the meantime, Reid and others are calling for a political rapprochement between Hollywood, who had pushed hard for SOPA, and Silicon Valley which ultimately sank it.

Many Republicans this week retreated from the legislation in the face of political pressure, meaning any new legislative proposals may not appear until after the November elections.

This week’s developments are remarkable considering that the legislation had wide bi-partisan support just months ago.