Guess Alexis Ohanian and Brad Burnham won’t be going to Washington after all. Rep. Lamar Smith, one of the co-sponsors of the Stop Online Piracy Act, just announced that the bill “will no longer include a provision that would require ISPs to block access to overseas web sites accused of piracy,” according to CNET.
The announcement comes a week before Mr. Ohanian and Mr. Burnham were scheduled to appear before the committee to talk about the issues raised by the bill’s provisions for DNS and search engine blocking.
The DNS provision was a flashpoint for the bill, with opponents arguing that disruptions in the DNS registry would break links across the web. “If you cut off a site at DNS, first of all, a user can just put in the IP address and probably still get to the site,” proto-blogger and local tech buff Anil Dash told Betabeat. “But even if that’s not the case, it can break all kinds of other parts of the web.”
The DNS provision raised technical issues that exposed general ignorance on the committee.
A statement from Rep. Smith’s office (via PaidContent):
Washington, D.C. – House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) today said he plans to remove a provision in the Stop Online Piracy Act (H.R. 3261) that requires Internet Service Providers to block access to certain foreign websites.
Chairman Smith: “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. We will continue to look for ways to ensure that foreign websites cannot sell and distribute illegal content to U.S. consumers.