Sen. Leahy bows to pressure, pledges to amend Protect IP bill

Declan McCullagh
January 13, 2012

Sen. Patrick Leahy, the sponsor of a controversial Hollywood-backed copyright bill, has bowed to public pressure and will yank the most controversial sections from the legislation.

The Vermont Democrat, a longtime ally of large copyright holders, said today he would delete portions of his Protect IP Act that mandate Domain Name System (DNS) blocking and redirecting.

“I’m going to set aside these domain name provisions,¯ Leahy told Vermont Public Radio. “That we’ll hold back on, because I’ve listened to some of the concerns on those. I think there [are] easy answers to it, but let’s set it aside, let’s spend a year or so studying that part.¯ (See CNET’s FAQ.)

Leahy’s volte face has thrown an unexpected obstacle in front of the Motion Picture Association of America and the Recording Industry Association of America“which have lobbied for a bill to censor “rogue¯ offshore Web sites“just a few days before the Senate debate on the bill begins on January 24. A Web blackout day to protest SOPA and PIPA is planned for January 18 by sites including Reddit and perhaps even Wikipedia.

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