Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell spoke out against his own body’s anti-piracy legislation Thursday, urging the Democratic majority (and its Republican supporters) to shelve the proposed bill for the foreseeable future.
McConnell wants opponents and proponents of the Protect IP Act -- the Senate's counterpart to the House's Stop Online Piracy Act -- to resolve some of the “serious issues” with the legislation before moving forward with any kind of vote.
“While we must combat the on-line theft of intellectual property, current proposals in Congress raise serious legal, policy and operational concerns," the Kentucky Republican said. "Rather than prematurely bringing the Protect IP Act to the Senate floor, we should first study and resolve the serious issues with this legislation.
He said that considering the bill without first doing so could be counterproductive to the shared goal of combating intellectual property theft.
"I encourage the Senate Majority to reconsider its decision to proceed to this bill,” he said.
He becomes the latest and most senior Congressional official to publicly criticize the two primary anti-piracy bills – PIPA and SOPA.
A vote to close debate on PIPA is still scheduled for Jan. 24, but just within the past few days five Senators have withdrawn their support as public scrutiny of the legislation intensifies.
Thousands of websites, including Wikipedia and Reddit, shut down on Wednesday in protest while the likes of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg expressed their displeasure with the bills as currently written.
On the House side, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith has said he has every intention of moving forward with SOPA, but that will not begin until February at the earliest.