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House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R, Texas), lead sponsor of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) legislation, has issued a statement today saying that the United States House will delay their vote on the legislation.
The statement reads:
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.
The problem of online piracy is too big to ignore. American intellectual property industries provide 19m high-paying jobs and account for more than 60pc of US exports. The theft of America’s intellectual property costs the US economy more than $100bn 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 both copyright owners and internet companies to develop proposals that combat online piracy and protect America’s intellectual property. We welcome input from all organisations 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 statement was issued after SOPA’s sister act, the Protect Intellectual Property Act of 2011 (PIPA), was indefinitely postponed by Senate majority leader Harry Reid (D, Nevada).
His statement reads:
In light of recent events, I have decided to postpone Tuesday’s vote on the PROTECT I.P. Act.
There is no reason that the legitimate issues raised by many about this bill cannot be resolved. 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. We must take action to stop these illegal practices. We live in a country where people rightfully expect to be fairly compensated for a day’s work, whether that person is a miner in the high desert of Nevada, an independent band in New York City, or a union worker on the back lots of a California movie studio.
I admire the work that Chairman Leahy has put into this bill. I encourage him to continue engaging with all stakeholders to forge a balance between protecting Americans’ intellectual property, and maintaining openness and innovation on the internet. 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.
image via ProPublica