Congressional debate of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) has been delayed until sometime after the new year.
Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), the Republican behind a controversial piece of legislation that would shut down any website accused of copyright infringement, abruptly adjourned a marathon session of the House Judiciary Committee on Friday as it was considering marking up the bill.
After roughly 14 hours of debate spanning two days, Smith accepted the proposal of Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), an opponent of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), who asked the chairman for more time and at least two more hearings so the committee could better understand some of the more technical aspects of the legislation. [...]
Although it’s not exactly a victory for opponents of SOPA, it does buy them a little extra time to lobby members of Congress. The next House Judiciary Committee hearing on the anti-piracy legislation will not take place until sometime early next year.
The longer this is delayed, the less likely it is to become law in its current iteration.
It’s unlikely this will be debated again until February at the earliest, and by then we will be well into primary season. Following primary season, both parties will be gearing up for the general election.
It’s difficult to find broad support for any piece of legislation, especially one as controversial as SOPA, during campaign season. This leaves a window of only a couple months where SOPA has any chance of passing until its kicked down the road to the next congress or scrapped entirely.
Public debate of SOPA, along with pressure from internet-based companies such as Google, has clearly slowed the bill down. Otherwise it would have already passed.