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by
Patrick Richardson

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January 16, 2012 - 9:12 am

Just got a press release from the office of Chairman Darrell Issa of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform which was set to take up a hearing on the so-called Stop Online Piracy Act (it wouldn’t, probably nothing can) on Wednesday. That hearing has been postponed indefinitely:

House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa today announced that a hearing scheduled for Wednesday, which was to examine the impact of Domain Name Service (DNS) and search engine blocking on the Internet, has been postponed following assurances that anti-piracy legislation will not move to the House floor this Congress without a consensus.

“While I remain concerned about Senate action on the Protect IP Act, I am confident that flawed legislation will not be taken up by this House.  Majority Leader Cantor has assured me that we will continue to work to address outstanding concerns and work to build consensus prior to any piracy legislation coming before the House for a vote, said Chairman Issa. The voice of the Internet community has been heard. Much more education for Members of Congress about the workings of the Internet is essential if anti-piracy legislation is to be workable and achieve broad appeal.

Earlier tonight, Chairman Smith announced that he will remove the DNS blocking provision from his legislation.  Although SOPA, despite the removal of this provision, is still a fundamentally flawed bill, I have decided that postponing the scheduled hearing on DNS blocking with technical experts is the best course of action at this time. Right now, the focus of protecting the Internet needs to be on the Senate where Majority Leader Reid has announced his intention to try to move similar legislation in less than two weeks.”

Chairman Issa intends to continue to push for Congress to heed the advice of Internet experts on anti-piracy legislation and to push for the consideration and passage of the bipartisan OPEN Act, which provides an alternative means for protecting intellectual property rights without undermining the structure and entrepreneurialism of the Internet.  Learn more about Rep. Issa and Sen. Ron Wyden’s alternative the OPEN Act at www.keepthewebopen.com.

SOPA is not really about protecting IP rights. It a naked power-grab which would give federal regulators the power to shut down any Web site which has any content which violates a copyright. Goodbye YouTube and, well, pretty much the entire Web from Twitter to Facebook. It ain’t over yet folks, Harry Reid is still pushing this nonsense. Keep the pressure on.

Patrick Richardson has been a journalist for almost 15 years and an inveterate geek all his life. He blogs regularly at www.otherwheregazette.com, which aims to be like another SF magazine, just not so serious.
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