Controversial SOPA bill shelved

We haven't devoted too much coverage to the whole SOPA debacle in recent weeks—politics aren't necessarily our area of expertise—but this latest development deserves a post. The Hill reports that the controversial Stop Online Piracy Act has effectively been shelved. Here's what House Oversight Chairman Darrell Issa said this weekend, according to the site:

"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 a statement. "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."

In its original form, SOPA sought to make Internet service providers block access to foreign websites accused of linking pirated content. That particular provision was dropped last week, although as I understand it, the legislation would still have penalized search engines for linking to infringing websites.

A number of high profile tech companies, including Google, Facebook, and Yahoo!, and organizations like the Electronic Frontier Foundation campaigned vehemently against SOPA, arguing (PDF) that the bill would be tantamount to censorship and would hurt both job growth and the Internet. Responding to an online petition asking it to veto the legislation, the White House noted that it would "not support legislation that reduces freedom of expression, increases cybersecurity risk, or undermines the dynamic, innovative global Internet."

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