(BALTIMORESUN) — (Reuters) – U.S. legislation aimed at curbing online piracy, which had appeared to be on a fast track for approval by Congress, appears likely to be scaled back or jettisoned entirely in the wake of critical comments over the weekend from the White House, people familiar with the matter said.

The legislation, known as SOPA in the House of Representatives and PIPA in the Senate, has been a major priority for entertainment companies, publishers, pharmaceutical firms and many industry groups, who say it is critical to curbing online piracy that costs them billions of dollars a year.

The legislation is designed to shut down access to overseas websites that traffic in stolen content or counterfeit goods.

Internet companies have furiously opposed the legislation and have ramped up their lobbying efforts in recent months, arguing the legislation would undermine innovation and free speech rights and compromise the functioning of the Internet.

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