SOPA and PIPA are bills currently before the US Congress that threaten to undermine the openness and freedom of the internet (which are already undermined), as well as ability of many of your favorite websites to stay online.
Opposition efforts of highly debated Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) from Google, Wikipedia and others have pushed an official vote on the proposed legislation back at least a month, according to a new statement from the House Judiciary Committee today.
Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), who authored SOPA, said he expects markup on the bill (a.k.a. debate, amendments and rewrites to the bill) to continue in February due to Republican and Democratic retreats taking place over the next two weeks that will keep many members of congress busy.
“To enact legislation that protects consumers, businesses and jobs from foreign thieves who steal America’s intellectual property, we will continue to bring together industry representatives and Members to find ways to combat online piracy,” Smith said in a statement. “I am committed to continuing to work with my colleagues in the House and Senate to send a bipartisan bill to the White House that saves American jobs and protects intellectual property.”
To summarize the bill, SOPA gives both the U.S. government and copyright holders the authority to seek court orders against foreign-operated websites associated with infringing, pirating or counterfeiting intellectual property. If it becomes law, it could drastically change the way the Internet operates. For example, if a website is accused of containing copyright-infringing content, the site could be blocked by ISPs, de-indexed from search engines and even prevented from doing business online with services like PayPal.
Many leaders in the tech industry as well as online communities have banded together in protest of SOPA and the senate version the Protect IP Act (PIPA). Earlier today, a group of tech leaders participated in a public discussion about the potential evils of bad copyright bills like SOPA/PIPA, as VentureBeat previously reported.