Check Out Our New Look

Stop Online Piracy Act Vote Likely Delayed Until Next Year

By | Friday December 16, 2011 @ 12:27pm PST

After some heated back-and-forth yesterday during the House Judiciary Committee’s markup of the Stop Online Piracy Act, the panel adjourned today without a final vote on the contentious bill, which seeks to shut down access to foreign websites deemed to be infringing copyrights. The fight pits content creators — like Hollywood studios and networks — who want their wares protected against tech companies who fear censorship and a curb on innovation. The delay means a vote on SOPA won’t take place until House leadership is called back, which probably won’t be until January. (The Senate’s piracy legislation, the PROTECT IP Act, already has passed out of committee.) House Judiciary Chairman Lamar Smith, R-Texas, was well on his way to striking down various amendments to the bill, meaning it eventually is likely to be approved by the panel and head to the House for a full vote. “The Judiciary Committee’s overwhelming support for the bill shows that the legislative process, when allowed to work, can result in strong, bi-partisan legislation that will protect millions of American jobs and creativity,” Michael O’Leary, the MPAA’s policy chief, said today. The Hill blog said Smith was more open to a suggestion by members to allow a study by cybersecurity experts to weigh the impact of some of the proposed legislation — a concession that has heartened opponents of the bill. “NetCoalition is encouraged that Chairman Smith is considering the requests of … Read More »

Comments (11)

Jobs Vs Free Speech? House Committee Hears Debate Over Stop Online Piracy Act

UPDATED: The House Judiciary Committee has wrapped up its hearing about the Stop Online Piracy Act, which would enable the government to block overseas websites that traffic in copyright-infringing content. Movie studios support the measure and tech companies oppose it. Representatives from the MPAA, U.S. Library of Congress, Pfizer, MasterCard, Google, and the AFL-CIO testified.

Bill opponents complained that the witness list was overloaded with supporters. “Concerns about SOPA have been raised by Tea Partiers, progressives, computer scientists, human rights advocates, venture capitalists, law professors, independent musicians, and many more. Unfortunately, these voices were not heard at today’s hearing,” Consumer Electronic Association CEO Gary Shapiro says. Google, AOL, eBay, Facebook, Yahoo, and Twitter said in a letter to the committee yesterday that the bill poses “a serious risk to our industry’s continued track record of innovation and job creation, as well as to our nation’s cybersecurity.” Google says it would rather see lawmakers pass legislation that would trace consumer payments to copyright-infringing sites. “If we can cut off their financial ties, they won’t have a way to make money,” Google counsel Katherine Oyama said, warning that SOPA could lead to “unintended consequences” stifling free speech. “Getting the balance right is important.”

But Michael O’Leary, the MPAA’s senior EVP for global policy and external affairs, says that the measure “is about jobs” noting that movie and TV companies account for more than 2M jobs across all states with $38.9B going in … Read More »

Comments 26