Congress passed a bill on Thursday to fight piracy, making it the first time lawmakers have passed a copyright law in nearly 20 years.
The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) is a sweeping measure that would give the government sweeping new powers to censor Internet traffic.
It has drawn intense criticism from civil liberties groups, but the House passed it Thursday with no Democratic support.
The legislation, which would also allow companies to sue individuals for damages, would give U.S. authorities new tools to shut down websites suspected of infringing copyright.SOPA and other anti-pipeline legislation have been blocked by President Barack Obama, who has said he would veto the legislation if it reaches his desk.
Lawmakers voted 219-212 in favor of the legislation, a margin that included more than 60 Democrats and one independent, all of whom voted against the bill.
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) told reporters the measure had the backing of all House members and that it had bipartisan support.
It was not immediately clear how many Democrats voted in favor.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who is leading the opposition, called the bill a “dangerous piece of legislation that will undermine the internet as we know it and threaten free speech.””SOPA will hurt America’s economy and undermine freedom of speech,” Pelosi said.
“It will also encourage copyright trolls to make more money from copyright infringement than they would from legitimate copyright infringement.”
Republicans have criticized the legislation for being too broad and could give the U.N. to spy on Americans without warrants.
The House passed a resolution urging Obama to veto it.
Sophos, which provides security software, is the biggest U.K. internet service provider.
The company said Thursday it would no longer offer its own encryption, in a move that some industry experts said could lead to more hackers getting access to sensitive data.