After some heated back-and-forth yesterday during the House Judiciary Committee’s markup of the Stop Online Piracy Act, the panel adjourned today without a final vote on the contentious bill, which seeks to shut down access to foreign websites deemed to be infringing copyrights. The fight pits content creators — like Hollywood studios and networks — who want their wares protected against tech companies who fear censorship and a curb on innovation. The delay means a vote on SOPA won’t take place until House leadership is called back, which probably won’t be until January. (The Senate’s piracy legislation, the PROTECT IP Act, already has passed out of committee.) House Judiciary Chairman Lamar Smith, R-Texas, was well on his way to striking down various amendments to the bill, meaning it eventually is likely to be approved by the panel and head to the House for a full vote. “The Judiciary Committee’s overwhelming support for the bill shows that the legislative process, when allowed to work, can result in strong, bi-partisan legislation that will protect millions of American jobs and creativity,” Michael O’Leary, the MPAA’s policy chief, said today. The Hill blog said Smith was more open to a suggestion by members to allow a study by cybersecurity experts to weigh the impact of some of the proposed legislation — a concession that has heartened opponents of the bill. “NetCoalition is encouraged that Chairman Smith is considering the requests of many on the committee that additional hearings be conducted, particularly on the issue of Internet security, in order that the committee be fully briefed on the potentially serious and negative consequences that the proposed legislation would create,” NetCoalition executive director Markham Erickson said.
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