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Hitting the pause button

"Hitting the pause button" Continued...

Not all lawmakers backed away from the bills. Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., the lead sponsor of the Senate version, accused his colleagues of making a "knee-jerk reaction" by withdrawing support.

"Somewhere in China today, in Russia today, and in many other countries that do not respect American intellectual property, criminals who do nothing but peddle in counterfeit products and stolen American content are smugly watching how the United States Senate decided it was not even worth debating how to stop the overseas criminals from draining our economy," Leahy said.

Top Senate Democrat Reid promised that talks would continue on the bills "to forge a balance between protecting Americans' intellectual property and maintaining openness and innovation on the internet. We made good progress through the discussions we've held in recent days, and I am optimistic that we can reach a compromise in the coming weeks."

But with support dwindling from both parties in the aftermath of this week's protests, lawmakers may be reluctant to revisit the bills in an election year. Meanwhile, traditional Hollywood may need to take a few public relations pointers from the up-starts in Silicon Valley.

Edward Lee Pitts
Edward Lee Pitts

Lee teaches journalism at Dordt College in Sioux Center, Iowa, and is the associate dean of the World Journalism Institute.


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