Bloomberg News

McConnell Urges Senate to Shelve Hollywood-Backed Piracy Bill

January 23, 2012

Jan. 19 (Bloomberg) -- The U.S. Senate’s top Republican urged the chamber’s Democratic leaders to shelve a Hollywood- backed anti-piracy bill a day after Google Inc. and Wikipedia led global online protests against the measure.

“Rather than prematurely bringing the Protect IP Act to the Senate floor, we should first study and resolve the serious issues with this legislation,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said in a statement today. The bill faces a procedural vote on Jan. 24.

Adam Jentleson, a spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, said he had no immediate comment in response to McConnell’s statement. Earlier today, Jentleson had said next week’s vote would proceed as planned.

The movie and music industries and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the nation’s largest business-lobbying group, are backing legislation in the Senate and House as a way to fight sales of pirated content by non-U.S. websites. Internet companies say the measures would promote online censorship, disrupt the Web’s architecture and harm their ability to innovate.

An Internet protest yesterday led by Google Inc., Wikipedia and other websites has threatened to unravel bipartisan support for the anti-piracy legislation, with eight Senate co-sponsors, including seven Republicans, withdrawing their support or expressing reservations about the bill.

Representative Lamar Smith, a Texas Republican and chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said this week he expects his panel will resume consideration of the House version of the Hollywood-backed bill, the Stop Online Piracy Act, in February.

“I am committed to continuing to work with my colleagues in the House and Senate to send a bipartisan bill to the White House that saves American jobs and protects intellectual property,” Smith, who introduced the House bill, said in a Jan. 17 statement.

--With assistance from Derek Wallbank in Washington. Editors: Michael Shepard, Steve Walsh

To contact the reporters on this story: Eric Engleman in Washington at eengleman1@bloomberg.net; Laura Litvan in Washington at llitvan@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Shepard at mshepard7@bloomberg.net


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