SOPA vote delayed in House
Action on SOPA, the House bill aimed at stopping online piracy, has been delayed. The House Judiciary Committee could vote on SOPA as early as Wednesday.
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As it’s written now, SOPA would also force some pretty major technical changes to DNS, one of the technologies that underlies the Internet. The bill’s latest version would require Internet service providers like Comcast to bar customers from visiting a blacklisted site by blocking the site’s DNS or otherwise firewalling it. SOPA would also mandate the offending site’s removal from US search engine listings. Six amendments came up on Thursday that would have softened those provisions, but the Judiciary Committee voted each of them down. (One of these amendments would have exempted universities and research institutions from the blacklisting provision; the amendment’s failure means that these groups would also have to block their users from visiting infringing sites.)Skip to next paragraph
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Critics of the bill, including Internet security experts and other members of the technology community, say that the changes to DNS technology proposed under SOPA would make the Web less secure. In an open letter sent to Congress on Thursday, 83 prominent Internet engineers voiced this concern, arguing that “We cannot have a free and open Internet unless its naming and routing systems sit above the political concerns and objectives of any one government or industry.” On Thursday, several lawmakers requested a delay to hear testimony from Internet engineers.
The House Judiciary Committee’s hearings will continue, but the fate of SOPA isn’t yet certain. Its Senate cousin, the Protect IP Act (PIPA), was approved in May, although the full Senate hasn’t yet taken action.
Have you been following the debate on SOPA and PIPA? What do you think about the bills’ provisions? Too harsh, or necessary to protect the legitimate interests of copyright holders? Let us know in the comments section below – we’re listening.