Key US politicians withdraw support for SOPA and PIPA

Former PIPA co-sponsor warns against "unintended consequences" of proposed legislation.

A number of high-profile US politicians have withdrawn their support for the controversial SOPA and PIPA anti-piracy laws in the face of online protests.

Senators Marco Rubio (Florida) and Roy Blunt (Missouri), co-sponsors of PIPA, otherwise known as the Protect IP Act, both changed their stance yesterday.

"Congress should listen and avoid rushing through a bill that could have many unintended consequences," Rubio said in a statement.

Utah Senator Orrin Hatch no longer backs PIPA either. "After listening to the concerns on both sides of the debate over the Protect IP Act, it is simply not ready for prime time and both sides must continue working together to find a better path forward," he said in a statement.

Democrat Ben Cardin and the rest of the Republicans have also stopped supporting PIPA.

Over in the House of Representatives, Republicans Ben Quayle of Arizona, Dennis Ross of Florida and Lee Terry of Nebraska all withdrew their support for SOPA, the Stop Online Piracy Act.

Despite all this, the House intends to resume work on SOPA next month, while Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid still intends to bring PIPA to the Senate floor next week.

SOPA and PIPA were conceived as a way for the likes of film, music and game companies to protect their content from online piracy.

However, opponents have argued that the bills are overbearing and draconian, with potentially devastating consequences should they go through.

For example, SOPA would allow courts to order ISPs and services like Google and Paypal to block access to websites without the sites in question being allowed to defend themselves.

Yesterday many websites chose to protest against all this by blacking out or altering their homepages to raise awareness.

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