First Dem reverses course on piracy bill

Rep. Tim Holden (D-Pa.) became the first Democrat to drop his support for the controversial Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) on Wednesday after a massive Web protest of the bill.

Republican Reps. Lee Terry (Neb.) and Ben Quayle (Ariz.) have also withdrawn their co-sponsorship of the House's anti-piracy measure.

Holden was one of the earliest backers of the controversial legislation and is the first Democrat in either chamber to reverse course after thousands of sites, including Google, encouraged users to contact lawmakers about opposing the legislation. Wikipedia and reddit blacked out their sites in protest.

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Lawmakers in both parties who had not previously taken a position on the bill announced their opposition after the popular websites brought mass attention to the issue. 

Others, including GOP Sens. Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchKey Republicans say Biden can break Washington gridlock Trump awards Medal of Freedom to racing industry icon Roger Penske Trump holds more Medal of Freedom ceremonies than predecessors but awards fewer medals MORE (Utah), Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioApple under pressure to unlock Pensacola shooter's phones Senators offer bill to create alternatives to Huawei in 5G tech Surging Sanders draws fresh scrutiny ahead of debate MORE (Fla.), Roy BluntRoy Dean BluntSenate GOP mulls speeding up Trump impeachment trial Biden calls for revoking key online legal protection GOP threatens to weaponize impeachment witnesses amid standoff MORE (Mo.), John BoozmanJohn Nichols BoozmanAppropriators fume over reports of Trump plan to reprogram .2 billion for wall The job no GOP senator wants: 'I'd rather have a root canal' Eleven GOP senators sign open letter backing Sessions's comeback bid MORE (Ark.) and Kelly AyotteKelly Ann AyotteGOP fears Trump backlash in suburbs Trump makes rare trip to Clinton state, hoping to win back New Hampshire Key endorsements: A who's who in early states MORE (N.H.), pulled their support for SOPA's Senate counterpart, the Protect IP Act. 

The piracy bills are designed to go after foreign websites that offer illegal copies of movies, music and TV shows. The bills would empower the Justice Department and copyright holders to demand that search engines delete links to sites deemed to be “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 legislation would cut down on illegal file sharing, which is hurting companies and eliminating jobs.


But Web companies warn the bills would stifle innovation and censor free speech. They say the legislation would impose an unreasonable burden on websites to police user-generated content and could lead to legitimate websites being shut down.

Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidThe Trumpification of the federal courts Trump to rally evangelicals after critical Christianity Today editorial Left presses 2020 Democrats to retake the courts from Trump MORE (D-Nev.) will bring the Protect IP Act to a vote on Tuesday. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) plans to push ahead with work on SOPA next month.