Earlier this week, a number of popular online sites — including Wikipedia and Google — went “dark” in protest of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA), two anti-piracy bills that had been making their way through the House and Senate, respectively.

The protests appear to have had an effect, as scheduled votes on both bills have been put on hold. Over at GigaOm, Stacey Higginbotham examines why the protests were effective:

The protests that rocked the web on Wednesday and resulted in 13 million Americans taking some form of action to protest PIPA and its companion bill in the House, the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), have been essential for swaying legislative opinion on the issue. Behind the scenes, tech industry leaders have been discussing the issue with congressional staffers and legislators in an effort to educate them about the effects of the legislation and more broadly about how the Internet works at a technical and business level.

Online piracy is a complicated issue, and it’s unlikely the debate will be settled any time soon. But it’s encouraging that Congress is willing take its time on legislation. After all, the Internet only became what it is today thanks to a “light touch” when it comes to government intervention.