As SOPA/PIPA Becomes Toxic, Frantic Congress Test Runs Dropping DNS Blocking Provisions

from the scurry-scurry dept

Well, well, well. It looks like some in DC are starting to get the message that there is real concern with SOPA/PIPA. The latest is that the fact that SOPA/PIPA support is becoming "toxic" is starting to make the press. In response to that, plus significant pressure from those within the government who are concerned about online security issues... the folks behind both SOPA/PIPA are doing some trial running of finding out how people would respond if they just completely dropped the DNS/site blocking aspects from the two bills. The goal is to get the tech industry to "stop opposing" the bills (if not actually support them). Clearly, the opposition is having a pretty big impact, and we're hearing that some of the "pressure" to "fix" these bills is coming from pretty high places. Separately, even with the House Oversight Committee hearings scheduled for next Wednesday, it sounds like Lamar Smith has decided he wants to restart the SOPA markup on the same day (perhaps with a new version of SOPA... sans DNS/site blocking).

Of course, while taking out DNS blocking fixes one problem with these bills, it still leaves in place a ton of other problems. Of course, supporters of the bill will falsely claim that taking out DNS/site blocking "fixes all the complaints!" That ignores that this is exactly what they said about the last "manager's amendment" version as well. They figure if they just keep claiming that they responded to all the complaints, maybe people will believe them. But that's ridiculous. The bills still have the super broad immunity provisions that will encourage all sorts of content/site takedowns to avoid liability. On top of that, many of the definitions in both bills remain ridiculously vague and would likely lead to overblocking in other ways -- that is, things like "information location tools" having to block links to sites deemed rogue under the legislation would remain. Also, the anti-circumvention measures remain in the bill (and are not limited to just foreign sites), which is going to continue to create a huge headache for the State Department, which is funding the creation of many such circumvention tools for foreign regimes... even though offering them in the US would be a violation under the bill! On top of that, both bills still include the private right to action, which will lead to numerous unnecessary lawsuits.

The takeaway here: the growing momentum against these bills is having a big, big impact in DC, and it's forced the bills' main backers to go back to the well to see if they can find at least something to compromise on. Taking out the DNS stuff will piss off Hollywood... no doubt, but it hardly solves many of the bigger problems in the bill. Don't be fooled. No one's fixing the bill (hell, it's not clear there's anything that will fix this bill, because no one's shown why this particular bill is needed!). They're simply taking out one provision that is especially bad... while leaving in a ton of other stuff.

Filed Under: congress, dns, pipa, protect ip, sopa

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Jan 2012 @ 7:45pm

    On top of that, both bills still include the private right to action, which will lead to numerous unnecessary lawsuits.

    Funny, before the bill was offered I heard an awful lot of sniveling about the government being a private police force. Now come the wailing about a private right of action. Let's be clear, it's actual you have a problem with.

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