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ON CAPITOL HILL

Lawmakers abandon piracy bills as websites go dark

Online protests expose hundreds of millions of Internet users to legislation

Support for two controversial online-piracy bills began to crumble Wednesday in the face of protests from thousands of websites, including tech titans Google and Wikipedia.

The unprecedented online demonstration against the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect IP Act (PIPA) — epitomized by a black censorship bar plastered over the Google logo — spurred a rush for the exits on Capitol Hill as lawmakers rapidly withdrew their support for the legislation.

Senate Republicans reacted quickly to the Web blackout, which exposed hundreds of millions of Internet users to the piracy bills for the first time.

GOP Sens. Roy Blunt (Mo.), Orrin Hatch (Utah), John Boozman (Ark.) and Marco Rubio (Fla.) dropped their support for the Senate version of the anti-piracy legislation, and Sen. John Cornyn (Texas), who leads the Senate GOP’s campaign arm, said the legislation should be put on hold.

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