The Hong Kong government has agreed to approve an opposition motion to end debate on a new copyright law. The motion is to be voted through on April 13.

The move means that the government will formally withdraw the bill that was fiercely contested in the Legislative Council between December of last year and this March, and which it gave up hope of passing last month.

The decision was announced by Carrie Lam, government Chief Secretary.

Passage of the bill was urged by large parts of Hong Kong’s entertainment industry. It was described as a modernization of outdated statute and necessary to combat online piracy. It was opposed by those who feared it would stifle creativity and freedom of expression.

But the bill became emblematic of the political gridlock and was far more hotly contested for its symbolic value than on its technical merits or demerits. Police made arrests following a small explosion that took place outside the Council building in December.

The Hong Kong government has a majority in LegCo, but, in the currently politically-charged times in the territory, it was fearful of the political and social consequences of using brute force to pass a new law. That exposed the bill to months of filibustering and other procedural delaying tactics.

In early March the government said it would no longer seek to pass the bill before the next legislative elections. By removing it from the agenda completely, the government will now free up the passage of numerous other bills that had been held up.