Opponents claim victory in SOPA battle

In a move the technology sector will surely see as a victory, a controversial antipiracy bill being debated in Congress will no longer include a provision that would require ISPs to block access to overseas Web sites accused of piracy.

House Judiciary chairman Lamar Smith (R-Tex.) has invited five supporters of SOPA to testify tomorrow, but only one opponent.
House Judiciary chairman Lamar Smith (R-Tex.)
U.S. House of Representatives

Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas), one of the biggest backers of the Stop Online Piracy Act, today said he plans to remove the Domain Name System (DNS) blocking provision.

"After consultation with industry groups across the country," Smith said in a statement released by his office. "I feel we should remove (DNS) blocking from the Stop Online Piracy Act so that the [U.S. House Judiciary] Committee can further examine the issues surrounding this provision.

"We will continue to look for ways," Smith continued, "to ensure that foreign Web sites cannot sell and distribute illegal content to U.S. consumers."

A watered down SOPA means Smith improves his chances of getting the bill through Congress. Smith's move comes a day after a backers of a similar bill in the Senate, known as the Protect IP Act, began to backtrack on the issue of DNS.

Sen. Patrick Leahy, the sponsor of Pro IP, a bill heavily supported by the music and film industries, said he would yank the DNS sections that mandate DNS blocking and redirecting.

The technology sector was nearly unanimously against the bill and labored to rally opposition. The few tech companies that did support the bill, such as GoDaddy, felt a harsh backlash from customer-companies.

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