By AMY SCHATZ
WASHINGTON—The push for antipiracy legislation brought lawmakers together for much of the past year, but in the Senate at least, the support that remains after nationwide protests appears to be mostly from Democrats.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada is moving ahead with plans for a test vote on the legislation Tuesday, but the Senate’s top Republican, Mitch McConnell, on Thursday called for a postponement, citing “serious issues with this legislation.”
At least 14 Republican senators announced their opposition to the legislation this week as thousands of Internet sites, including online encyclopedia Wikipedia, went dark Wednesday to protest the bills. Seven Democratic senators said they either had serious concerns or couldn’t support the legislation in its current form, adding their voices to a handful of Democrats who had previously opposed the bill.
The House and Senate are considering similar legislation—known as the Stop Online Piracy Act, or SOPA, in the House—aimed at cracking down on foreign-based websites that offer pirated movies, music and other content. The bills have received strong backing from the Hollywood studios and unions, which say the pirated sites are costing both money and jobs..
Google Inc., eBay Inc. and other Internet companies say the legislation would harm the Web’s open nature and could lead to more lawsuits against U.S. Internet sites that inadvertently host pirated content. Google said Thursday that over seven million people had signed its online protest petition.
The battle has scrambled the usual Washington lines. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and labor unions, usually rivals, back the bills, while many activist groups on both the left and the right oppose them.
For most Republicans, pressure from vocal opponents is adding up to a no vote, or at least a “not yet” position. Some worry that the enforcement that’s authorized could hurt U.S. cybersecurity efforts.
It’s a tougher call for some Democrats, thanks in part to the bill’s strong union backing and the fact that Hollywood has opened its collective wallet wider for Democrats historically. The bill is a top priority of the Motion Picture Association of America, which hired veteran Democratic senator Chris Dodd as its chairman last year. Mr. Dodd is barred from lobbying former colleagues now, but he remains friends with many of them.
The legislation has been particularly tricky for California lawmakers trying to balance the needs of both Hollywood and Silicon Valley. Last week, Sen. Dianne Feinstein met with Google and Facebook Inc. and other bill opponents to explain her support. A spokesman said Thursday that she “recognizes the bill needs further changes.”http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203750404577171270036110402.html?mod=WSJASIA_hpp_LEFTTopWhatNews