U.S. lawmakers are planning to suspend the controversial Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) bill after the Obama administration released a statement addressing SOPA concerns, the Guardian reported.
According to the report:
California congressman Darrell Issa, an opponent of Sopa, the Stop Online Piracy Act, said he had been told by House majority leader Eric Cantor that there would be no vote “unless there is consensus on the bill.”
The Washington Post also reported SOPA’s key sponsors are showing signs of walking away from the bills’ most controversial parts. But with no official statement yet coming from Congress, Wikipedia announced today they will commit to a 24-hour site shutdown on Wednesday in protest of the bill. Mozilla, Reddit and others are planning similar online demonstrations.
SOPA has been a hotly contested piece of legislation among free speech advocates, Internet companies and entertainment industry interest groups. If the legislation were to have passed, the government and individual copyright holders could have potentially shut down any website or person associated with copyright infringement.
Although the White House released a statement on Saturday addressing the SOPA, they were shy of explicitly saying if they supported or disapproved of anti-piracy bill.
“While we believe that online piracy by foreign websites is a serious problem that requires a serious legislative response, we will not support legislation that reduces freedom of expression, increases cybersecurity risk, or undermines the dynamic, innovative global Internet,” three White House officials said in the joint statement.
The carefully worded statement seemed to have been enough for Congress to put the controversial legislation on the back burner, however, to the disappointment of some of SOPA’s biggest backers.
“The failure to pass meaningful legislation will result in overseas websites continuing to be a safe haven for criminals stealing and profiting from America,” the Motion Picture Association of America said.
The Obama administration’s public statement caused media mogul Rupert Murdoch to lash out on Twitter.
“So Obama has thrown in his lot with Silicon Valley paymasters who threaten all software creators with piracy, plain thievery,” Murdoch wrote in a series of tweets.
The digital piracy war in Congress is not entirely over, however.
The Enforcing and Protecting American Rights Against Sites Intent on Theft and Exploitation Act, or simply the e-Parasite act, is the second bill aimed to tackle online piracy and is scheduled for a Senate vote Jan. 24.