Published January 14, 2012
WASHINGTON – Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), the chief sponsor of the Stop Online Privacy Act (SOPA) said Friday he would remove a controversial provision from the bill until further study takes place.
"After consultation with industry groups across the country, I feel we should remove Domain Name System blocking from the Stop Online Piracy Act so that the Committee can further examine the issues surrounding this provision," Smith said in a statement.
Domain Name System blocking was a key part of the SOPA legislation that blocked foreign websites accused of copyright infringement.
The move by Smith comes after Patrick Leahy (D-VT) said he would consider a similar move for the Senate version of SOPA, known as the Protect IP Act (PIPA).
While DNS blocking will be removed, SOPA will still allow the U.S. government to track funds and cut-off payment options to illegal sites overseas. Search engines such as Google would also be required to remove infringing sites from their search results.
"Congress cannot stand by and do nothing while some of America's most profitable and productive industries are under attack," Smith said.
Still, the move by Smith is a victory for SOPA opponents who argue the legislation would destroy the Internet as we know it. Websites such as Reddit have planned to go dark in protest of the bill and Google and Facebook have also expressed opposition to the legislation.