WASHINGTON – Arkansas Sen. John Boozman withdrew his support Wednesday for anti-piracy legislation as Internet giants Google and Wikipedia launched a massive on-line protest against the proposal.

WASHINGTON – Arkansas Sen. John Boozman withdrew his support Wednesday for anti-piracy legislation as Internet giants Google and Wikipedia launched a massive on-line protest against the proposal.

Boozman, a Republican, was one of 40 co-sponsors of legislation proposed by Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., to prevent online theft of intellectual property.

Wikipedia blacked out its English-language website and Google covered its icon with a black rectangle Wednesday to protest the anti-piracy legislation that is pending in the Senate and House.

The anti-piracy bill is supported by the music, movie and video gaming industries.

Boozman posted a statement on his Facebook page Wednesday explaining his decision to drop his sponsorship of the bill.

“Over the past few weeks, the chorus of concerns over Congressional efforts to address online piracy has intensified. I can say, with all honesty, that the feedback I received from Arkansans has been overwhelmingly in opposition to the Senate bill,” he said.

Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., who is not a co-sponsor, also issued a statement Wednesday expressing his concern that the bill has “too many unanswered questions” that could lead to many unintended consequences.

“We need a solution that will protect intellectual property without restricting American’s rights to an open Internet. I believe we can do better,” he said.

Rep. Tim Griffin, R-Little Rock, one of 30 cosponsors of the House “Stop Online Piracy Act” also reconsidered his support after Wednesday’s protests.

Griffin said he was hopeful that lawmakers could revise the bill proposed by Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, to address many of the concerns that have been raised. But, he said, that he is now “taking a second look” to see if that is possible.

“I will not support a bill unless my constituents are comfortable with it,” Griffin said.

Boozman, Pryor and Griffin said they are still committed to finding a way to protect intellectual property that is available online. “Online piracy hinders creativity and steals jobs. Much of this criminal behavior comes from rogue websites operating in countries like Russia and China. Their ability to operate threatens American ingenuity by distributing copyrighted material free of charge. We must work to ensure that copyright holders are protected if we want to defend American ingenuity, ideas and artwork,” Boozman said.