Six U.S. lawmakers dropped their support for Hollywood-backed anti-piracy legislation as Google Inc., Wikipedia and other websites protest the measures.
Co-sponsors who say they can no longer support their own legislation include Senators Marco Rubio, a Florida Republican, Roy Blunt, a Missouri Republican, and Ben Cardin, a Maryland Democrat. Republican Representatives Ben Quayle of Arizona, Lee Terry of Nebraska, and Dennis Ross of Florida also said they would withdraw their backing of the House bill.
The Senate bill and the Stop Online Piracy Act in the House are backed by the movie and music industries as a means to crack down on the sale of counterfeit goods by non-U.S. websites. Hollywood studios want lawmakers to ensure that Internet companies such as Google share responsibility for curbing the distribution of pirated films and television shows.
Google, owner of the world's most popular search engine, covered the Google" icon on its home page today with a black box and linked to a website that says the bills may spur censorship and slow U.S. economic growth. Visitors to that website are urged to sign an online petition asking Congress to reject the legislation.