House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Virginia) brings some good news for those against the Stop Online Piracy Act: he has decided that he won't allow it to come to the floor of the House for a vote unless there is some real consensus on the bill. If this tells us anything it is that the American people have flooded House members with phone calls and emails complaining about this bill and how it is being fast-tracked by some members with power like sponsor Lamar Smith (R-Texas).
This news comes after House Judiciary Committee Chairman Smith indicated that he would amend SOPA to remove the DNS blocking provisions. While opponents of the bill applauded this step, they still say that SOPA is unacceptable.
Darrell Issa (R-California) said that he will postpone the House Oversight Committee's hearing on the bill, which would have seen experts in the tech industry's expert testimony on Wednesday. From Issa:
"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. 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," said Chairman Issa. "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."
"Earlier tonight, Chairman Smith announced that he will remove the DNS blocking provision from his legislation. Although SOPA, despite the removal of this provision, is still a fundamentally flawed bill, I have decided that postponing the scheduled hearing on DNS blocking with technical experts is the best course of action at this time. Right now, the focus of protecting the Internet needs to be on the Senate where Majority Leader Reid has announced his intention to try to move similar legislation in less than two weeks."
With the momentum on SOPA slowed a bit, lawmakers now have the time to educate themselves properly on this issue. This is important because if you are going to regulate the entire online ecosystem than you'd better get it right the first time or not do it at all. We obviously prefer the latter. Now the only other thing to be done is to stop PIPA from making it to the Senate floor for a vote.