SOPA is Dead: Smith Withdraws Bill from the House

On Friday, the chief sponsor of SOPA, Lamar Smith said that he is withdrawing the bill “until there is wider agreement on a solution.”

Smith (R-Texas) told, “I have heard from the critics and I take seriously their concerns regarding proposed legislation to address the problem of online piracy. 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.”

Following is given an extract from the statement released by Smith:

“We need to revisit the approach on how best to address the problem of foreign thieves that steal and sell American inventions and products. The problem of online piracy is too big to ignore. American intellectual property industries provide 19 million high-paying jobs and account for more than 60% of U.S. exports. The theft of America’s intellectual property costs the U.S. economy more than $100 billion annually and results in the loss of thousands of American jobs. Congress cannot stand by and do nothing while American innovators and job creators are under attack.

“The online theft of American intellectual property is no different than the theft of products from a store. It is illegal and the law should be enforced both in the store and online.

“The Committee will continue work with copyright owners, Internet companies, financial institutions to develop proposals that combat online piracy and protect America’s intellectual property. We welcome input from all organizations and individuals who have an honest difference of opinion about how best to address this widespread problem. The Committee remains committed to finding a solution to the problem of online piracy that protects American intellectual property and innovation.”

The bill is withdrawn from the house as a result of heavy protest on the Internet by several websites including Wikipedia, Reddit, Google and many others. Majority of these sites held black-out to show their discontent with the bill. On seeing the raising protest, many of the Congressmen dropped their support for SOPA and its Senate equivalent, PIPA. The bill related to PIPA has also been withdrawn from the house for the time being.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Raid (D-Nev) said on Friday that “In light of recent events, I have decided to postpone Tuesday’s vote on the PROTECT IP Act.”

Just two days before, Smith while talking to The Wall Street Journal said that he won’t back down on SOPA and will hope to move forward with the bill in coming month.

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