Congress to Resume SOPA Hearings Wednesday

News of Note: Congress to Resume SOPA Hearings Next Week (This Wednesday)

The U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee will continue its hearing on the controversial Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) on Wednesday, not until after Congress’ holiday break, as originally believed.

Late Friday, Representative Lamar Smith, a Texas Republican and committee chairman, scheduled a continuation of the hearing to amend the bill for this Wednesday at 9 a.m., even though many members of the committee may be out of town for the holidays. Representative Darrell Issa, a California Republican and opponent of the bill, tweeted the hearing announcement late Friday.

At the urging of some SOPA opponents, Smith said Friday he will consider a hearing or a classified briefing on the bill’s impact on cybersecurity. More than 80 Internet engineers and cybersecurity experts have raised security concerns about the bill, which would require Internet service providers and domain name registrars to block the domain names of foreign websites accused of copyright infringement.

It’s unclear how Wednesday’s hearing will affect any future hearings on SOPA, which is sponsored by Smith and 31 other lawmakers.

Continuing the markup hearing on Wednesday, when many lawmakers had planned to be out of Washington, D.C., “demonstrates a clear desire to continue dodging the questions raised by experts, members, and the public,” said Sherwin Siy, deputy legal director of Public Knowledge.

This unwillingness to take expert evidence, listen to constituents, or conduct due diligence in investigating the extraordinary harms risked by SOPA shows a process divorced from representation, responsibility, and reality,” Siy said in a statement.

The most scary thing of all is how little these congressmen actually know about the Internet and technology. It can be compared to putting toddlers at the control of a 747 aircraft. Here we are with the greatest innovation in human history and it’s about to be sold out by a bunch of old guys who don’t know how to use a keyboard. When everyone thought the bill was tabled for at least a few weeks, it is both irresponsible and crooked to squeeze it in again right before Christmas. What can you do? Contact the media, post on Facebook, Twitter, sign this petition, contact SOPA’s supporting companies and urge them to withdraw their support. Everyone’s help is valuable, please join in and share.

Creative Commons: Title and Slideshow image source