22 Jan 2012

Anti-online piracy bills delayed

6:55 am on 22 January 2012

The US Congress has halted debate on two anti-online piracy bills.

In a statement issued on Friday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid delayed a vote on the Protect IP Act scheduled for Tuesday.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith then said his panel would not consider the Stop Online Piracy Act until a compromise was reached.

The BBC reports both bills focus on responding to online piracy, specifically illegal copies of films and other media.

They would also outlaw sites from containing information about how to access blocked sites.

Online encyclopaedia Wikipedia and thousands of other websites went "dark" in protest for 24 hours earlier this week.

The move was seen as a retaliation after the Department of Justice shut down a major file-sharing website, Megaupload and four employees were arrested in Auckland, New Zealand.

The Hong Kong-based site had around 150 million users and 50 million daily hits.

The company was indicted in a federal court in Alexandria, Virginia, USA, on Thursday.