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.
The deal came after Chaffetz attempted to amend the bill to delay a provision that would strike websites from the Internet’s central domain naming system (DNS) — a proposal that critics have specifically targeted for fundamentally breaking the structure of the Internet.
When Chaffetz offered to set his amendment aside if Smith would agree to hold hearings on how the rule would affect classified and civilian cyber-security, the chairman agreed.
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.
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