Three co-sponsors of the SOPA and PIPA antipiracy bills have withdrawn their support as Wikipedia and thousands of other websites staged blackouts in protest of the legislation Wednesday.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) withdrew as a co-sponsor of the Protect IP Act in the Senate, and Reps. Lee Terry (R-Neb.) and Ben Quayle (R-Ariz.) said they were pulling their names from the companion House bill, the Stop Online Piracy Act, the Los Angeles Times
Critics of the legislation say its broad definitions could mean censorship of online content and literally shut down some sites.
Rubio said on Facebook that after the Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously passed its bill last year, he has "heard legitimate concerns about the impact the bill could have on access to the Internet and about a potentially unreasonable expansion of the federal government's power to impact the Internet."
"Congress should listen and avoid rushing through a bill that could have many unintended consequences," Rubio said. With his withdrawal, the number of co-sponsors drops to 39.
Two other co-sponsors, Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and four other Senate Republicans wrote a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid urging him delay the vote. Grassley and Hatch have not withdrawn support.
Terry and Quayle were among the 31 sponsors of the House legislation before they withdrew their support Tuesday.
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