A marathon congressional hearing on the Stop Online Piracy Act, which detoured through discussions of Twitter-borne insults and the popular meme “The Internet is for Porn,” was expected to resume sometime in 2012.
But Rep. Jason Chaffetz, a Utah Republican, said Friday on Twitter that the hearing will continue Wednesday morning — but only if the U.S. House of Representatives is in session.
Any delay represents a victory for opponents of SOPA, who pulled off a quasi-filibuster by repeatedly presenting critiques of the controversial Hollywood-backed copyright legislation and offering over 70 amendments that sought to rewrite individual portions of the bill.
Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), the head of the House Judiciary committee chairman and author of SOPA — also known as Hollywood’s favorite House Republican — initially had promised to hold a final vote on his bill as soon as possible.
“Yes, I have every intention of going forward today, tomorrow, and however long it takes,” Smith said Thursday.
But Smith’s plan was derailed by a dogged group of opponents, who managed to pull off this legislative upset even though they were badly outnumbered on the committee by allies of the Motion Picture Association, the Recording Industry Association of America, and other SOPA proponents.
Rep. Zoe Lofgren, a California Democrat who represents part of Silicon Valley, launched the first procedural fusillade as soon as the hearing began yesterday by insisting on her right to have the entire text of SOPA read aloud by the committee’s clerk.
An unhappy Smith said that the reading “will take 45 minutes to an hour.”
Rep. Howard Berman, a California Democrat whose district is adjacent to Hollywood, asked Smith if “a motion to dispense with the reading is in order.”
“Such a motion regrettably is not in order,” Smith replied, and the markup session ground to a halt for an hour.