As a follow up to our ongoing coverage of the SOPA debate, It looks as though the U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee will postpone any ruling son the controversial Stop Online Privacy Act (SOPA) until after the Congress holiday break.
Texas Republican Representative Lamar Smith stated on Friday that he would consider a hearing or a classified briefing on the bill’s potential impact on cyber-security.
The new bill has raised concerns from over 80 Internet engineers and cyber-security experts as it would provide ISPs and domain name registrars the ability to block the domain names of foreign websites accused of copyright infringement.
Several opponents of the bill that are on the Judiciary Committee include Republicans Chaffetz, Darrell Issa of California and Jim Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin, as well as Democrats Zoe Lofgren of California and Jared Polis of Colorado.
Chaffetz stated "We have deep concerns about what this will do to cyber security," and that, "I think it would be dangerous for members on this committee to vote on final passage of this bill without having at least one hearing and some clarification" on the security impact.
Virginia Republican, Bob Goodlatte, said the right for copyright holders to seek court orders is a "key provision" of SOPA. "If you are not going to allow this legal relief, you are severely damaging the bill," he said.
If passed, the new bill would give the U.S. Department of Justice significant powers to target foreign copyright infringements. Sensenbrenner said. "Enforcement should be a law enforcement function in this area," he said. "We don’t give people very many opportunities to sue everybody in the world when law enforcement doesn’t do what they want them to do."
The bill would also allow the DOJ to seek similar court orders targeting ad networks and payment processors. The DOJ could also use this bill to seek court orders barring search engines from linking to allegedly infringing sites, requiring domain name registrars to take down the websites and requiring Internet service providers to block subscriber access to the sites.
By the time I finished this post, I came across another post that stated the "SOPA has NOT been postponed to 2012! The Committee members who support SOPA quietly changed the hearing date to the 21st, trying to trick the American people into thinking it was over for the year. This is dirty politics and should be illegal. Fight back. Let them know this is not over."