updated 05:40 pm EST, Fri December 16, 2011
Bill had been expected to be pushed to House floor
In a surprise move, the House Judiciary Committee suddenly adjourned today without voting to send the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) to the full House floor. The bill had been expected to make it out of the committee today. The adjournment came after committee chairman Rep. Lamar Smith, who is also the bill's chief sponsor, agreed that further exploration was warranted of a provision that lets the Attorney General demand DNS (domain name service) changes.
The SOPA legislation is embroiled in controversy. At the core of the concern was elements of the bill that mandated that ISPs be directed to alter or even falsify DNS address lookup data to block American users from visiting sites deemed to be infringing on sites allegedly engaging on piracy.
"The US government has regularly claimed that it supports a free and open internet, both domestically and abroad," wrote 83 renowned internet engineers, including Vint Cert, John Gilmore and L. Jean Camp, in an open letter. "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."
The European Commission also objected to the legislation, which some claim would be the equivalent of the US creating the Great Chinese Firewall used by the Chinese government to block sites and restrain freedom of expression.
The postponement of the vote came on a motion by Rep. Jason Chaffetz, who asked Smith to postpone the session until technical experts could be brought in to testify. Until now, Smith had allowed representatives of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) to testify, but had not thought it was necessary to hear testimony from any Internet experts. No date has been set for a new vote on the SOPA legislation. [via Wired]