According to a tweet from House member Darrell Issa (R-CA) the House mark-up of SOPA (the Stop Online Piracy Act) is scheduled to resume on Wednesday, Dec. 21, at 9 a.m., if Congress is in session. The move comes after an unexpected delay stopped the bill from coming to a vote in the judiciary committee last Friday. According to CNET’s Declan McCullough, a “vocal minority of committee members” ground last week’s mark-up session to a halt, introducing “more than 50 amendments intended to delay and derail the legislation.” Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) said critics' issues with the bill--that it would impinge on free speech, foster censorship, and destroy the Internet as we know it, were “completely hypothetical.”
Passing out of committee would pave the way for a full floor vote early in 2012. A similar Senate bill, PROTECT IP, has already passed committee. Despite a rising tide of opposition from the public, and among House members, observers say the bill has more than enough support to pass out of committee, if it makes it to a vote.
Smith acknowledged the bill has both “bi-partisan support and bi-partisan opposition,” but in a scathing release last week, accused SOPA critics of “spreading lies,” taking specific aim at Google. “Companies like Google have made billions by working with and promoting foreign rogue websites,” Smith said, “so they have a vested interest in preventing Congress from stopping rogue sites.” Smith said Google’s opposition was self-serving “since they profit from doing business with rogue sites that steal and sell America’s intellectual property.”
Opposition to SOPA, however, comes from broader sources than Google—including copyright and intellectual property scholars, and lawyers, including Laurence Tribe, perhaps the nation’s most prominent constitutional scholar, who said in a letter last week that the bill as written was unconstitutional.