Under pressure, Reid withdraws PIPA from consideration

The Protect Intellectual Property Act - PIPA - an anti-piracy measure opposed by most of the online community, has been withdrawn from consideration by Senator Harry Reid.


In a brief statement, Reid said there was no reason why concerns about the legislation cannot be resolved. He offered no new date for the vote, which had been scheduled for Tuesday.

Reid's action comes a day after a senior Democratic aide, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the measure lacked the votes to clear a procedural hurdle and it was unclear if it could muster needed support.

The measure - known as the Protect Intellectual Property Act, or PIPA for short - is aimed at curbing access to overseas websites that traffic in pirated content and counterfeit products, such as movies and music.

Support for the Senate bill, and a similar one in the House known as SOPA, or Stop Online Piracy Act, has eroded in recent days because of fears that legitimate websites could end up in legal jeopardy.

Reid, in his statement, said, "In light of recent events, I have decided to postpone Tuesday's vote" on whether to begin consideration of the measure.

Despite his decision to postpone action, Reid said, "There is no reason that the legitimate issues raised by many about this bill cannot be resolved.

The key word here is "legitimate" issues of concern that have been raised. Many liberal Democrats deride the concerns addressed by the online community as exaggerated or overhyped. They want to see government start controlling the internet -- innovation and technological progress be damned.

Online piracy is a serious problem. And if Reid and the Democrats are serious about addressing it, they will drop their support for many of the onerous provisions in both SOPA and PIPA, and work with the tech community to come up with legislation that works while not infringing on the rights of site owners.