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SOPA hearings to resume next month

Hearings on the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), which were postponed recently, will resume next month, according to the House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith.

Mr Smith, who tabled the legislation, said on the Committee’s website that the markups for the bill were expected to continue in February due to the Republican and Democratic retreats over the next two week.

A hearing on the bill scheduled for Wednesday was postponed, according to House Oversight and Government Reform Committee chairman Darrell Issa, who said the Leader of the House of Representatives Eric Cantor had assured him work to address outstanding concerns and to reach consensus would continue before any anti-piracy legislation came before the House for a vote.

The bill has seen criticism from Google, Mozilla and New Zealand’s own InternetNZ, whose chief executive Vikram Kumar wrote a guest article for NBR outlining some of the issues with SOPA, which, along with the similar PROTECT IP (Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property) Act, would enable the United States government and IP holders to make US ISPs block websites providing material violating copyright, stop services such as advertising and payment processing to said websites and prevent search engines displaying links to them, he said.

Actions against SOPA include the planned blacking out of the Wikipedia website tomorrow, as well as home grown protests.

Mr Smith said he was committed to continuing to work with his colleagues in the House and Senate to send a bipartisan bill to the White House that “saves American jobs and protects intellectual property.”

“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.”

Gizmodo reported that with the White Houses’ opposition to the bill, SOPA would need to be modified to avoid being vetoed

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