Say it ain’t so, Steve.
The news on the progress of Software Online Piracy Act proceedings in the House Judiciary Committee is not good, with a tiny silver lining:
We weren’t supposed to be able to stop SOPA, but we could at least raise awareness, put up a fight, and prepare for the floor votes. And sure enough, the vote to keep the Internet censorship provisions went in favor of censorship 22-11.
Well, it turns out, we managed to slow the process down. After we made our threats to start working on primary challenges over that 22-11 vote, Lamar Smith put off SOPA, halting the current process until next week at the earliest. Stay sharp, but feel good about this delay. The longer we delay, the more we can gain support for the OPEN Act instead of SOPA.
SOPA opponents Darrell Issa, Zoe Lofgren, Jared Polis, and Jason Chaffetz also deserve credit. Why yes, that list does include a Democrat. Just shows how wrong Lamar Smith is to side with disgraced former Senator Chris Dodd and the MPAA on this. Two men who between them have no clue how the Internet works.
Here’s more from Adweek.com:
SOPA Markup Halted; Opponents Get a Little More Time; Adjournment only delays inevitable
With 31 co-sponsors on both sides of the aisle, the controversial Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) is likely unstoppable in the Judiciary Committee, despite a well-orchestrated and highly visible campaign to kill it by SOPA opponents both in and out of the hearing room.
But the inevitable will have to wait for another day. With votes looming on the House floor, Judiciary Chairman Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, the lead sponsor of SOPA, was forced to adjourn the markup in its second day. The Committee has scheduled to pick up the market next Wednesday.
Committee members, especially opponents, were no doubt breathing a sigh a relief after soldiering through a 12-hour day on Thursday and an hour Friday morning, until Smith adjourned about 1:30 p.m. following a two-hour recess.
The markup was, if anything, great theater until its abrupt adjournment.
Hoping to defy the odds and delay the markup, SOPA opponents Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., and Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., joined by other members such as Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah., used every tactic and argument at their disposal, including offering some 60 amendments. They are part of a bipartisan group of lawmakers from both chambers pushing the Online Protection and Enforcement of Digital Trade Act, an alternative bill to SOPA in the House and Protect IP in the Senate.
All three bills are aimed at shutting down foreign websites that infringe on copyright holders and sell counterfeit goods, but OPEN takes a different approach than SOPA and Protect IP. To combat rogue sites, OPEN would set up the International Trade Commission to go after foreign sites by cutting off advertising and payment to those venues. SOPA would use the U.S. legal system to force domain name servers and Internet service providers to block websites and links to infringing material, an approach the Internet community believes goes way too far.
… At the beginning of markup Day 2, Issa knew he couldn’t win the markup fight. “It’s very clear we’re going to lose here today, and lose in the worst possible way, without all the facts,” Issa said.
But now at least, he and SOPA opponents have got a little more breathing room.
Almost, Adweek. We KNOW it goes too far.
I can’t seem to get any committee roll call detail, but there’s very little doubt that “my” congressman, erstwhile Tea Party supporter turned co-sponsoring Internet censor Steve Chabot, has been voting with the committee’s misguided majority.
Not that yours truly’s travails are of surpassing importance, but I should inform readers that I called Chabot’s office four times during the previous three days asking for some form of documented justification as to why he is co-sponsoring this travesty. It wasn’t until yesterday on call #4 that I was informed that they could/would not send me information because I don’t live in his district.
Until this week, the BizzyBlog bunker was located in Jean Schmidt’s OH-02. But effective on December 14, when the redrawn congressional map out of Columbus became official (still subject to challenge, I think, but it’s official until a challenge succeeds), it is now in Chabot’s OH-01. The person I spoke with on call #4 (I should emphasize that Chabot’s peeps have been uniformly polite despite the tension) told me that she thought that eligibility for communications might be based on Chabot’s old district lines until Election Day 2012. At that point, I invoked the fact that I have editorialized on the topic, that perhaps Mr. Chabot might recognize me from past commentaries on his performance — usually good (e.g. here and here) and occasionally bad (here and here), and that surely he has said something somewhere about SOPA’s alleged desirability.
So far, I’ve received nothing. For now, we must assume that Mr. Chabot is on board with what has accurately been described as “China-Style Internet Censorship.”
If Mr. Chabot continues to lead the charge for this, he’s lost my vote. I only wish that it were realistic in the short time between now and next year’s primary for a credible challenger to emerge. Sadly, that’s a pipedream.
UPDATE: Paul Tassi at Forbes — “How SOPA Could Ruin My Life.” Read the whole thing. Folks, this is not idle chit-chat or nerdy paranoia.
Law prof Instapundit’s reax: “Tar. Feathers.”
UPDATE 2: At TechDirt –
Despite the fact that Congress was supposed to be out of session until the end of January, the Judiciary Committee has just announced plans to come back to continue the markup this coming Wednesday (Dec. 21). This is rather unusual and totally unnecessary. But it shows just how desperate Hollywood is to pass this bill as quickly as possible, before the momentum of opposition builds up even further.
Another Instapundit reax: “SOPA Hearing Not Delayed Until Next Year — Rescheduled For the 21st In The Hope You Won’t Notice.”