Leahy battles back on PIPA, pledges comeback

"I regret that the Senate will not be proceeding this week to debate the legislation, and any proposed amendments," said the Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. "[I] hope that after delay we can come back together and do what we have to do." 

PIPA, which was slated for legislative action in the Senate this week would have granted the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) powers to shut down some websites accused of existing for the purpose of facilitating copyright infringement. A coordinated worldwide protest from many of Internets giants last week, however, eroded support for the bill in the upper chamber. Opponents argued that the legislation would create daunting legal regulations and hurdles for online businesses. Last week Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) announced he was pulling the bill from the Senate floor.  

Leahy, on Monday, said he understood Reid's decision, but suggested it was merely a temporary delay and that with some changes the bill would soon be back on the floor for a vote. 

"I thank the majority leader for seeking to schedule that debate on this serious economic threat and I understand that when the Republican leader recently objected and Republican Senators who had cosponsored and long supported this effort jumped ship, he was faced with a difficult decision," said Leahy.  

"My hope is that after a brief delay, we will, together, confront this problem," he said.

Leahy went on to suggest that despite the sinister characterization many in the online comity made of PIPA, he had designed it to protect and expand freedoms on the Internet, rather than hamper them. 

"Today the rogue foreign websites based in Russia that are stealing Americans’ property are delighted to continue their operations and counterfeiting sweatshops in China are the beneficiaries of Senate delay," said Leahy.

"In the flash of interest surrounding this bill last week, those who were forgotten were the millions of individual artists, the creators and the companies in Vermont and elsewhere who work hard every day only to find their works available online for free, without their consent," he concluded. 

Reid cancelled the procedural vote scheduled for that legislation earlier in the day on Monday.