M+E Daily

Senator Moves to Block ‘Protect IP Act’

Following the Senate Judiciary Committee’s unanimous approval of the “Protect IP Act” on Thursday, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) placed a “hold” on the anti-piracy bill, blocking it from proceeding to the floor of legislature for debate.

Under the bill, which is sponsored by Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), websites that stand accused of being “dedicated to infringing activities” would be subject to court-ordered shutdowns. As the National Journal reports, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) could overcome Sen. Wyden’s hold by seeking a cloture vote on allowing the bill to reach the Senate floor. Cloture requires votes from 60 Senators.

Wyden commented that while he agrees with the goals of the Protect IP Act, the “overreaching approach” of the bill intrudes upon citizens’ free speech rights and hampers legitimate Internet commerce.

Last December, Wyden blocked a similar bill from advancing in the Senate because he “felt the costs of the legislation far outweighed the benefits.”

Hollywood trade groups including the Independent Film & Television Alliance, the National Association of Theatre Owners, and the Motion Picture Association of America are vocal in their support of the Protect IP Act.

“By helping shut down rogue websites that profit from stolen films, television shows, and other counterfeit goods, this legislation will protect wages and benefits for the millions of middle class workers who bring America’s creativity to life,” said Michael O’Leary, the MPAA’s EVP of government affairs, in a statement.