House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith says he expects SOPA markup hearings to resume in February.
Remember those heady days when we thought the Stop Online Piracy Act, better known as SOPA, was effectively dead in the water? Yeah, that was yesterday. Today, however, it looks like all that enthusiasm and Braveheart-esque cries of "Victory!" were misplaced and premature, as Lamar Smith, who introduced the bill in the U.S. House of Representatives, put out a press release today saying that markup of the bill is expected to resume in February.
"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.
"Due to the Republican and Democratic retreats taking place over the next two weeks, markup of the Stop Online Piracy Act is expected to resume in February," he continued. "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."
There was never any question that SOPA would be back in some form or other, at some point or other, but the hope, I think, was that it would take a little longer than this. Smith's version of events actually suggests that the delay was simply part of the normal course of legislative business, and that White House criticism of the bill had nothing to do with it. That's not particularly encouraging either.
I also find his reference to "foreign thieves" to be deeply offensive, although it's hardly the first time SOPA proponents have played the "dirty foreigner" card - but being one myself, I suppose I may be a little over-sensitive to such things.