House minority leader softens in position on legislation

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi issued a statement softening her stance opposing a major piece of anti-piracy legislation, saying that Congress needs to pass legislation aimed at foreign websites that traffic in pirated goods.

Her office issued a statement in which she said that she is “fully supportive of the need to pass legislation in this Congress to combat intellectual piracy, specifically dealing with rogue digital theft sites. This legislation needs to be effective from the perspective of rights holders. It is incumbent on the parties that are concerned by the current proposal to offer changes that would effectively deal with piracy. We must work together for an effective solution.”

The new statement came after Pelosi said in a tweet Thursday that lawmakers “need to find a better solution” than the Stop Online Piracy Act, recently introduced in the House. In a statement later in the day, a Pelosi spokesman noted that Internet, human rights and the cybersecurity community raised concerns that the bill “doesn’t strike the right balance” to protect copyright holders and Internet users.

The legislation has significant bipartisan support, but Internet firms and digital rights groups oppose the measure because they say it is too broadly written, and have drawn a list of opponents that include Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas). Given Pelosi’s longtime ties to the entertainment community, studio reps believed that she would be supportive of the legislation, and, perplexed at her opposition, contacted her office on Friday asking for additional clarification, sources say. That resulted in the latest statement, issued later on Friday.

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