http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-16655272 Source BBC The US Congress has halted debate on two contested anti-online piracy bills. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid delayed a vote on the Protect IP Act (Pipa) scheduled for Tuesday. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith then said http://judiciary.house.gov/news/01202012.html the Stop Online Piracy Act (Sopa) until a compromise was reached. The decisions follow protests by online encyclopaedia Wikipedia, and thousands of other websites, which went "dark" in protest for 24 hours earlier this week. "In light of recent events, I have decided to postpone Tuesday's vote on the PROTECT IP Act," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Democrat, https://twitter.com/#%21/SenatorReid/status/160367959464878080 on Friday. Mr Smith, a Texas Republican, said in a statement: "I have heard from the critics and I take seriously their concerns regarding proposed legislation to address the problem of online piracy. "It is clear that we need to revisit the approach on how best to address the problem of foreign thieves that steal and sell American inventions and products." 'Censoring the web' Of about 40 co-sponsors for the Pipa bill, a handful withdrew their support on Wednesday, as thousands of websites participated in a co-ordinated online protest. Floods of emails and phone calls to congressmen followed the online protests, prompting some lawmakers to withdraw their support of the measures. More than seven million people signed a petition on Google saying that passage of the legislation would result in censoring the web and impose a regulatory burden on businesses. Both bills focus on responding to online piracy, specifically illegal copies of films and other media. The bills would also outlaw sites from containing information about how to access blocked sites.