SOPA hearings to resume in February in US House

Even as a number of major web sites plan to shut down their operations on Wednesday to protest the Stop Online Piracy Act, there's word today that SOPA hearings won't even be held until sometime in February. In a press release from the US House Judiciary Committee, a statement from the committee chairman, Congressman Lamar Smith, says that the committee won't begin its discussions on SOPA until sometime in February.

Congressman Smith, a major supporter of SOPA, is quoted in the statement as saying:

Due to the Republican and Democratic retreats taking place over the next two weeks, markup of the Stop Online Piracy Act is expected to resume in February. I am committed to continuing to work with my colleagues in the House and Senate to send a bipartisan bill to the White House that saves American jobs and protects intellectual property.

The statement makes no mention at all of the planned web shutdown protests that will involve web sites like Reddit, Wikipedia and many others on Wednesday. A few days ago it looked like SOPA was going to be put into limbo but Congressman Smith's statement would seem to indicate that it is simply been delayed, not shelved.

The US Senate is also debating a similar bill, the Protect IP Act (PIPA). Even though there was a call from several Senators to hold off on voting on the bill, the US Senate's Majority Leader Harry Reid has announced that the vote will continue on PIPA as scheduled on January 24.

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