De-fanged: DNS blocking has been removed from SOPA bill

In some very pleasant news, House Judiciary Committee and Hollywood thrall Rep. Lamar Smith has removed DNS blocking from the Stop Online Piracy bill. While this does not kill the bill outright, the removal of the most controversial aspect represents a huge de-clawing of this legal tiger. 

The DNS blocking provision allowed rights holders the ability to force any website it didn’t like under the covers — blocking the ability for United States residents to view it. It was the most questionable and dangerous aspect of the bill, and its removal has made SOPA slightly less horrifying — though not completely harmless. 

SOPA still allows corporations to request the cutoff of revenue toward targeted sites, effectively starving them to death. It should also be noted that Smith is still keen on shutting down access to foreign sites accused of piracy, claiming that he’ll “continue to look for ways to ensure that foreign websites cannot sell and distribute illegal content to U.S. consumers.”

Bear in mind also that PIPA — the twisted sibling of SOPA — still wants DNS blocking, although plans for that have been delayed

It’s not a massive, overturning victory, but it is a wonderfully encouraging sight to see SOPA’s staunchest political defender partially removing his head from his arse. In any case, the fact that SOPA and PIPA are both taking these discrediting shots is at least great proof of how badly written they were in the first place.

Jim Sterling