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Sopa and Pipa bills postponed in US Congress

The US Congress has halted debate on two contested anti-online piracy bills.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid delayed a vote on the Protect IP Act (Pipa) scheduled for Tuesday.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith then said his panel would not considerthe Stop Online Piracy Act (Sopa) until a compromise was reached.

The decisions follow protests by online encyclopaedia Wikipedia, and thousands of other websites, which went "dark" in protest for 24 hours earlier this week.

"In light of recent events, I have decided to postpone Tuesday's vote on the PROTECT IP Act," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Democrat,said in a statement on Friday.

Mr Smith, a Texas Republican in the House of Representatives, said in a statement: "I have heard from the critics and I take seriously their concerns regarding proposed legislation to address the problem of online piracy.

"It is clear that we need to revisit the approach on how best to address the problem of foreign thieves that steal and sell American inventions and products."

Of about 40 co-sponsors for the Pipa bill, a handful withdrew their support on Wednesday, as thousands of websites participated in a co-ordinated online protest.

Floods of emails and phone calls to congressmen followed the online protests, prompting some lawmakers to withdraw their support for the measures.

More than seven million people signed a petition on Google saying that passage of the legislation would result in censoring the web and impose a regulatory burden on businesses.

Both bills focus on responding to online piracy, specifically illegal copies of films and other media.

The bills would also outlaw sites from containing information about how to access blocked sites.

The Motion Picture Association of America, a key supporter of the legislation, has campaigned strongly against the violation of copyright laws.

But on Thursday evening their website was targeted by a hacking group known as Anonymous.----

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Added: Jan-20-2012 Occurred On: Jan-20-2012
Tags: SOPA, PIPA, bills, postponed, yankeeland, congress
Location: United States (load item map)
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