What's the status of two controversial bills designed to block foreign, rogue websites and prevent U.S. residents from accessing pirated movies and music?
The proposed bills are the House's Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Senate's Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act (Protect IP Act, or PIPA). Numerous businesses and technologists--for starters--have criticized the bills, leading an estimated 7,000 websites Wednesday to either black out their site (in the case of the English language version of Wikipedia) or to alter their site design to demonstrate their opposition to the bills (as in the case of Google and Mozilla).
With opposition mounting, here's where the bills now stand:
1. SOPA is still alive.
Are both SOPA and PIPA now stalling? In fact, SOPA's chief sponsor, Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), said Tuesday that he expects to bring the bill to a House Judiciary Committee markup hearing in February. At such hearings, legislators can debate the bill and propose amendments, as well as vote on whether the bill should then be passed to the full House. "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," said Smith Tuesday in a statement.
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