SOPA headed for complete rewrite
The Stop Online Piracy Act, or SOPA, isn't quite gone—but it's set for a complete reboot, according to one of its primary backers.
Rep. Lamar Smith (R.-Tex.), the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said in a statement that the committee would postpone consideration of the legislation until more consensus is reached.
Smith issued the statement after the Senate announced it would postpone consideration of PIPA, a slightly different version of similar antipiracy legislation. Both bills drew widespread protests across the Internet, leading many legislators to drop their support.
Members of the Internet community criticized SOPA and PIPA for giving too much power to copyright holders and government officials to shut down websites merely suspected of involvement with infringing activities.
Smith's action puts the ball firmly in the court of SOPA opponents: What legislation will they push forward to deal with the problem of rogue websites, many based overseas, which facilitate illegal file sharing?
It's a prime opportunity for the Internet community to push forward legislation that balances the interests of copyright holders and the people who consume, remix, and distribute copyrighted materials—often quite legally under longstanding provisions of copyright law, even if copyright holders aren't always happy about it.