South Dakota's representatives in Congress distanced themselves Wednesday from two bills targeting online piracy that have sparked a fierce Internet backlash.
The Stop Online Piracy Act and the Protect Internet Property Act are the House and Senate versions of a proposal to give government and copyright holders more tools to target websites accused of facilitating copyright infringement.
Sen. Tim Johnson, D-S.D., is a co-sponsor of PIPA who stands behind the need for new legislation.
"At the heart of the issue, it's about protecting American goods from being pirated by rogue foreign websites," Johnson said.
But Johnson said in a statement that he has asked Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., the lead sponsor of PIPA, "to refine the bill and work with stakeholders to ensure their concerns are heard."
Johnson also said he has more problems with SOPA, the House version.
Neither Sen. John Thune nor Rep. Kristi Noem, both Republicans, have expressed concerns about the legislation.
"While critical reforms need to be made to put an end to online piracy, I do not believe PIPA, in its current form is the appropriate solution," Thune said in a statement.
Thune said he would work to alter the bill. But absent "fundamental changes," Thune said he would vote to block PIPA from being approved by the Senate.
Noem is hoping for a compromise, her spokesman, Joshua Shields, said in an e-mail.
"She hopes the two sides can hammer out their differences on this legislation and come to a compromise that creates new tools to fight piracy without creating a chilling effect on Internet entrepreneurs and web developers," Shields said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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