Reid postpones Tuesday PIPA vote

David Martosko Executive Editor
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On Friday, Senator Harry Reid postponed next Tuesday’s vote on the Protect IP Act (PIPA).

The announcement follows an angry uproar on the Internet earlier in the week.

Wednesday was “Blackout Day” when 75,000 websites, including Wikipedia, Reddit and Google, protested the pending anti-piracy legislation through acts of self censorship. Then on Thursday evening, hacktivist collective Anonymous retaliated against the entertainment industry, the Justice Department and the FBI in response to the indictment and arrest of the owners of MegaUpload, a popular file-sharing website.

Anonymous launched a full scale assault that simultaneously made several websites inaccessible. The Department of Justice, FBI, Motion Picture Association of America and Recording Industry Association of America all had websites impacted by the coordinated attack. Anonymous also attempted to take down the White House’s website.

“There is no reason that the legitimate issues raised by many about this bill cannot be resolved,” said Reid. “Counterfeiting and piracy cost the American economy billions of dollars and thousands of jobs each year, with the movie industry alone supporting over 2.2 million jobs.”

Both the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and PIPA would grant the Attorney General the authority to seek a federal court order to disable a foreign website engaged in the facilitation of copyright infringement. MegaUpload, for example, is foreign site registered to Hong Kong.

Reid said, “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.”

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