US & World

Debate over Internet piracy bill SOPA rages in the House

Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C.
Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C.
Andreas Adelmann/Flickr

It’s likely to be a long night at the House Judiciary Committee. The committee is considering a bill to address online piracy.

Hollywood, cable TV companies and Major League Baseball support the Stop Online Piracy Act, or SOPA. It would let the federal government block access to sites that offer pirated content. Online giants like Yahoo and Google oppose the measure.

One Capitol Hill supporter, Southland Democratic Congresswoman Judy Chu, says she’s not holding her breath for a vote on the matter. Chu says there are 60 amendments being considered.

"And there was the reading of the bill that was demanded by some members," Chu said, "which is highly unusual and really unnecessary, too. So it seems like the tactics by the opponents is to keep this going on as long as possible."

The two most vocal opponents are Californians: Democrat Zoe Lofgren and Republican Darrell Issa. They back an alternative measure that would place an international trade commission, not the federal courts, in charge of intellectual property and piracy matters.

The chairman of the Judiciary Committee, Lamar Smith of Texas, told his House colleagues to “bring your lunch and your flashlight. We’re gonna be here a long, long time.”

Congressman Darrell Issa is streaming the proceedings on the site for a competing bill he's pushing.