GOP chairman shelves Stop Online Piracy Act

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) announced on Friday that he will postpone consideration of his Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) until there is wider agreement on the controversial legislation.

"I have heard from the critics and I take seriously their concerns regarding proposed legislation to address the problem of online piracy," Smith 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."

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Smith's announcement came just minutes after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) announced he would shelve the Senate's version of the anti-piracy legislation, the Protect IP Act.

The move is a stunning acknowledgment of failure for the powerful chairman.

Smith was the author of SOPA and its most vocal proponent. He had repeatedly said the bill did not need to be changed and accused the critics of "spreading lies." 

But support for the bill collapsed after a massive Web protest on Wednesday. Major sites including Google and Wikipedia either shut down in protest or displayed messages opposing the legislation.