Lamar Smith, the chief sponsor of SOPA, said on Friday that he is pulling the bill “until there is wider agreement on a solution.”
“I have heard from the critics and I take seriously their concerns regarding proposed legislation to address the problem of online piracy,” Smith (R-Texas) said. “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 also released the following statement on Friday:
“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 move comes after widespread protest on the Internet on Wednesday by Wikipedia, Reddit and others. The sites signaled their displeasure with the bill by going dark. That day, several Congressmen dropped their support for SOPA and its Senate counterpart, PIPA. The latter bill has also been taken off the table for now.
“In light of recent events, I have decided to postpone Tuesday’s vote on the PROTECT IP Act,” said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) in a statement Friday morning.
Smith’s stance comes just two days after he told The Wall Street Journal that he didn’t plan to back down on SOPA, telling the newspaper he expected to “move forward” with the bill in February.