POLITICS

SOPA domain blocking blocked for now

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Politics,Beltway Confidential,Joel Gehrke

Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif, announced today that the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) will not receive a vote on the House floor, pending further negotiations, after Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, decided to remove a controversial provision from (SOPA) that would require internet providers to block access to certain websites.

"The voice of the Internet community has been heard," said House Oversight and Government Relations chair Darrell Issa, R-Calif., after noting that "Majority Leader Cantor has assured me that we will continue to work to address outstanding concerns and work to build consensus prior to any anti-piracy legislation coming before the House for a vote.

Issa also said that he is postponing a hearing on Domain Name Service blocking, given that Smith has decided to pull that provision from SOPA. "After consultation with industry groups across the country, I feel we should remove the Domain Name System blocking from the Stop Online Piracy Act so that the Committee can further examine the issues surrounding this provision," Smith said in statement last night, adding that "Congress must address the widespread problem of online theft of America's technology and products from foreign thieves."

Designed to protect American intellectual property rights from theft by foreign websites, SOPA neverthelass created an unlikely array of alliances and animosities. Conservative and liberal stalwarts such as Issa and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., for instance, united in opposition to the legislation.

Democratic National Committee (DNC) chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., and Tea Party favorite Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., each co-sponsored the bill. 

SOPA threatened to become a litmus test for some conservative grassroots activists. "I love Marsha Blackburn. She is a delightful lady and a solidly conservative member of Congress," Erick Erickson of Redstate wrote before Christmas. "And I am pledging right now that I will do everything in my power to defeat her in her 2012 re-election bid [because of her support for SOPA]" -- a position which, applied consistently, might have required opposition to such rising Republican stars as Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., who co-sponsored the Senate version of SOPA.

House leaders seem to have reached a detente, for now. "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," Issa said in his statement.

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