Congress shelves SOPA

House Oversight Committee chairman confirms that antipiracy legislation will not advance without consensus, calls for more education on "workings of the Internet" for legislators.

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Since its introduction in October last year, the controversial Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) has garnered both support and opposition from all sides of the gaming industry.

While the Entertainment Software Association officially endorses the legislation, a number of developers have recently declared their opposition to the bill, including Bungie, Epic Games, Riot Games, and Mojang.

It now appears that the outcry against SOPA, as well as the Obama administration's recent decision to break its silence over the bill, has not fallen on deaf ears.

In an official statement posted on the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform site today, committee chairman Darrell Issa revealed that SOPA will "not move to the House floor this Congress without a consensus."

SOPA has been shelved.

"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. "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."

"The voice of the Internet community has been heard. Much more education for members of Congress about the workings of the Internet is essential if anti-piracy legislation is to be workable and achieve broad appeal."

The announcement comes after a recent decision by the bill's original sponsor, Rep Chairman Lamar Smith (R, TX), to remove the DNS-filtering provision from the law, a practice by which SOPA would allow the government to block Americans' access to specific foreign sites suspected of engaging in piracy.

However, Issa said that SOPA is still a "fundamentally flawed bill," even with the removal of the DNS-filtering provision. He stated that his intention now is to continue to push forward the advice of experts on the issue of antipiracy legislation and bid Congress to consider the bipartisan OPEN Act, which "provides an alternative means for protecting intellectual property rights without undermining the structure and entrepreneurialism of the Internet."

Companies that support the bill--including the National Football League (NFL) and GameSpot parent company CBS--argue that it offers necessary protection to content creators. Opponents of the bill, such as Google, Facebook, Twitter, and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, argue that SOPA infringes upon First Amendment rights and will ultimately deprive the Internet of non-infringing content.

Discussion

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