In a dramatic display of the power of online protest, a congressional vote on the anti-piracy bills SOPA and PIPA have been shelved.
Two days after some of the biggest web presences 'blacked-out' swaths of the internet in opposition to the proposals - that critics claim will contravene the freedom of online information - Senate majority leader Harry Reid announced that postponement the planned ballot on Protect IP Act (PIPA) is to be postponed.
Republican chairman of the House Judiciary committee and chief sponsor of Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), Lamar Smith followed suit. He said his panel will delay any action on SOPA until there is wider agreement on the legislation.
The decision to postpone the vote was made in light of "recent events", Reid said. It is assumed that by 'recent events' Reid is referring to the unprecedented online protests - including the blackout and the flooding of social networks with messages opposing the bills - which led to a huge drop in support for the legislation.
"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," Smith said in a statement.
President Obama's administration had shown opposition to the bills in their present forms in a post on the 'We the People' petition website. The White House told those opposed to the bills that it would not support any legislation that "reduces freedom of expression, increases cybersecurity risk or undermines the dynamic, innovative global internet.
However , in a statement, Reid highlighted that although the planned vote in the Senate would now be postponed, it would not be killed off entirely.
"There is no reason that the legitimate issues raised by many about this bill cannot be resolved," he said, in a nod to Wednesday's unprecedented online protests.
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