updated 09:40 pm EST, Fri January 13, 2012
SOPA to no longer censor outside sites
Key Stop Online Privacy Act (SOPA) promoter Representative Lamar Smith stated Friday that he wanted to remove the domain name blocking provision from the proposed bill. He wanted the Congressional Judiciary Committee to "further examine the issues" surrounding the measure, according to CNET. A corresponding move was already underway with the Senate equivalent of the bill, Protect IP (PIPA), from Senator Patrick Leahy.
The element was the most controversial part of SOPA as it would effectively amount to censorship of certain sites outside the US once it was determined that a site was hosting illegal content, even if it was a minority of what was on the page or submitted by a user without the site owner's knowledge. It would also have compromised DNSSEC, a US government initiative meant to prevent domain name poisoning attacks that could theoretically be used to compromise the web.
A withdrawal is likely in reaction to stiff opposition that has brought many of the potential problems of the bill to light. GoDaddy, which had once argued that SOPA was absolutely necessary to stop piracy, retracted its support as it became clear thousands of customers were transferring their domains in protest. Multiple large companies that once supported it, such as Nintendo and Sony, dropped their support at least by name.
The measure still has its opponents, including the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Many of these believe both SOPA and PIPA were drafted more by the music and movie industries and that the measures still don't give sites adequate protection from takedowns without a legal defense.