SOPA Will Probably Pass, Sometime

The House Judiciary Committee resumed consideration of the Stop Online Piracy Act this morning, with strong indications that the controversial anti-piracy legislation will pass. The only question is when.

Opponents have proposed more than a dozen amendments that they say would have added more due process protections into the legislation, as well as measures that would limit the bill’s emphasis on blocking websites that traffic in infringing content via steps to prevent searches from resolving to a site’s domain name. All have been turned back by wide margins on the committee, indicating that supporters will have enough votes to pass.

Nevertheless, the committee is expected to consider many more amendments throughout the day. The chairman of the Judiciary Committee, Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), has vowed to get the legislation through before Congress recesses for the holidays.

A chief opponent of the bill, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), said earlier today that he does not expect to prevail in efforts to narrow the legislation’s scope.

The changes that have passed include measures holding copyright holders liable for court and other costs if a court determines that they knowingly misrepresented that a site is dedicated to infringing activities. Another amendment that passed calls for the Secretary of State to publish a report on the use of tools in other countries to block Internet access, and whether SOPA has been cited by authorities in other countries. Opponents worry that foreign governments will justify censorship by citing the U.S. anti-piracy measures.

 

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