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No one saw this one coming, but it's a very welcome surprise:
The House Judiciary Committee is considering whether to send the Stop Online Piracy Act to the House floor abruptly adjourned Friday with no new vote date set — a surprise given that the bill looked certain to pass out of committee today.

The committee’s chairman and chief sponsor of the legislation, Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), agreed to further explore a controversial provision that lets the Attorney General order changes to core internet infrastructure in order to stop copyright infringement.

Smith said the hearing would resume at the “earliest practical day that Congress is in session.” That could be weeks.

The abrupt halt to Friday’s proceeding, which followed a marathon-long, 11-hour hearing Thursday, was based on a motion from Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah). He urged Smith to postpone the session until technical experts could be brought in to testify whether altering the internet’s domain-naming system to fight websites deemed “dedicated” to infringing activity would create security risks.

Yesterday Smith had said hearing from the technical experts wasn't necessary, "despite a signed letter signed by many of the internet’s core engineers saying that the bill’s approach was technically flawed." So this is a temporary victory for the geeks, and for everyone who cares about real internet security and a flourishing, vibrant web.

Congress isn't slated to get back to work until the end of January, so it will be weeks before the hearing reconvenes and those experts are brought in, giving opponents weeks to organize and educate legislators—both in the House and Senate—of just how dangerous this bill is. That's critical, because the Senate is ready to bring its bad version of this bill to the floor.

Stay tuned for further action notices on this. But in the meantime, give yourself a pat on the back if you are one of the more than 44,000 Daily Kos readers who pitched in by contacting your senators or representative.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Fri Dec 16, 2011 at 12:21 PM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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