Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), architect of the controversial “Stop Online Piracy Act” abruptly adjourned the marathon markup hearing on his bill after more than 14 hours of bickering between lawmakers who wanted to pass it as soon as possible, and those who, at the very least, wanted more hearings to understand the implications of the bill.
The opponents of SOPA, though outnumbered, seem to have won a temporary victory, halting the markup hearing in its tracks.
Smith grabbed the olive branch extended by prominent SOPA critic Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), who said he would withdraw his amendment to delay DNS—takedown provisions of SOPA from going into effect until studies had been done on how it would affect the nation’s cybersecurity infrastructure.
“I am willing to withdraw this amendment if the Chairman [Smith] is willing to consider having two hearings,” Chaffetz said, outlining that he wanted one classified intelligence hearing featuring cybersecurity experts from the Department of Homeland Security, and another public hearing featuring civilian cybersecurity experts.
Smith said he would be willing to consider holding the hearings but added that he hoped that Chaffetz wasn’t “using this to delay the proceedings.” Chaffetz assured Smith that he was not.
After some prodding by anti-SOPA legislators Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) and Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-TX), Smith finally adjourned the hearing and said it would conclude on the next predictable legislative date, sometime in early 2012.
For now, SOPA’s passage has been delayed.