Senator Roy Blunt (R-Missouri) has pulled his sponsorship of the Protect IP Act, or PIPA. He writes:
"American innovation is a cornerstone to our nation's economic growth, and job creators have lost $135 billion in revenue annually as a result of rogue internet sites."While I believed the bill still needed much work, I cosponsored the Senate version of the Protect IP Act because I support the original intent of this bill - to protect against the piracy of lawful content."Upon passage of this bill through committee, Senate Judiciary Republicans strongly stated that there were substantive issues in this legislation that had to be addressed before it moved forward. I agree with that sentiment. But unfortunately, Senate Leader Harry Reid is pushing forward with legislation that is deeply flawed and still needs much work."That is why I'm withdrawing my co-sponsorship for the Protect IP Act."The right to free speech is one of the most basic foundations that makes our nation great, and I strongly oppose sanctioning Americans' right to free speech in any medium - including over the internet."I continue to believe that we can come to a solution that will cut off the revenue sources for foreign websites dedicated to counterfeiting and piracy that steal American jobs, hurt the economy, and harm consumers. But the Protect IP Act is flawed as it stands today, and I cannot support it moving forward."
We trust that Senator Blunt's decision had nothing to do with Vice magazine exposing him earlier today as a violator of copyright laws himself. In the last 24 hours, Senators Scott Brown, Marco Rubio, and Jeff Merkley have come out against PIPA. Senator Ben Cardin, a cosponsor of PIPA, said earlier this week that he won't vote for it.
UPDATE: Senator Representative Tim Holden, another cosponsor of the House version, withdraws his support. And Senator John Cornyn.
(H/t NBC's Kelly O'Donnell)