Conservative group urges lawmakers to oppose anti-piracy bills

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While Heritage said the House's Stop Online Piracy (SOPA) and the Senate's Protect IP Act (PIPA) are "well-intentioned," the group worried that the bills will cause "unintended and dangerous consequences," such as imposing unreasonable legal burdens on legitimate websites.

The bills are designed to go after foreign websites that offer illegal copies of music, movies and TV shows with impunity. They would empower the Justice Department and copyright holders to demand that search engines delete links to sites “dedicated” to copyright infringement. Ad networks and payment processors would be prohibited from doing business with the sites.

Movie studios, record labels and business groups say the law is necessary to curb online copyright infringement, which is hurting businesses and destroying jobs.

The issue does not breakdown easily along party lines. Members of both parties are among the bill's leading supporters and critics. 

The White House expressed concern with the legislation on Saturday but emphasized that the administration wants to crackdown on foreign infringing websites.

"Any effort to combat online piracy must guard against the risk of online censorship of lawful activity and must not inhibit innovation by our dynamic businesses large and small," the president's advisers wrote.

But House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) said on Tuesday he will push ahead with the bill in his committee next month.

"To enact legislation that protects consumers, businesses and jobs from foreign thieves who steal America's intellectual property, we will continue to bring together industry representatives and Members to find ways to combat online piracy," he said in a statement.

Senate Majority Harry Reid (D-Nev.) will bring the measure to a vote next week.

Major websites including Wikipedia and Reddit will temporarily shutdown on Wednesday and to protest the legislation. Google, the world's most visited webpage, will not shutdown but will display a banner opposing the bill. 

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