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senate majority leader

Democrat Harry Reid, the U.S. Senate Majority Leader, announced he will postpone a vote on a contested anti-online piracy bill.

This decision follows 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,” Harry Reid said in a statement.

The Senate was due to hold a procedural vote on the bill on Tuesday.

Two versions of anti-piracy legislation are pending in Congress: the Protect IP Act (PIPA) before the Senate and Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), due to be voted on by the House of Representatives.

In the wake of Wednesday’s protest, and amid a barrage of emails and phone calls from web users to their local congressmen, some lawmakers have shown signs of retreating from the bill.

Of about 40 co-sponsors for the PIPA bill, a handful withdrew their support on Wednesday, as thousands of websites participated in a co-ordinate online protest.

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.

It is not clear whether the SOPA bill will also be stalled.