The House Judiciary Committee adjourned Friday without sending a controversial anti-piracy bill to the floor, amid strong indications that the committee will eventually pass the Stop Online Piracy Act.
House Judiciary Committee chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) had hoped to clear the legislation before Congress goes on recess, but ran out of time as House members faced a floor vote on a $1 trillion spending bill to avert a government shutdown. He said that the markup will resume when Congress is next in session — presumably next year — although no exact date has been set.
Despite the delay, it was clear that the legislation had the votes.
Opponents have proposed more than a dozen amendments, and others that were withdrawn, that they say would have added more due process protections into the legislation. They also sought 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 were turned back by wide margins on the committee.
A chief opponent of the bill, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), admitted earlier today that he does not expect to prevail in efforts to narrow the legislation’s scope.
The changes that have passed have been relatively minor. They 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.