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DNS Provisions to be Removed from SOPA

Today, January 13, 2012, Rep. Smith (R-TX), Chair of the House Judiciary Committee, announced that he plans to remove the controversial DNS provisions from the “Stop Online Piracy” (SOPA) (H.R. 3261) bill.  In a statement Smith said, “After consultation with industry groups across the country, I feel we should remove Domain Name System blocking from the “Stop Online Piracy Act” so that the Committee can further examine the issues surrounding this provision.  We will continue to look for ways to ensure that foreign websites cannot sell and distribute illegal content to U.S. consumers.”

The DNS provisions in the legislation have been of concern to EDUCAUSE as they could have potential negative effects on campus network operators if the legislation passed. In a letter to the House Judiciary Committee, EDUCAUSE stated that “it would be trivially simple for a willing infringer to circumvent DNS blocking.  The meager deterrent effect that DNS blocking would have on infringement is therefore not sufficient to justify the widely acknowledged cybersecurity problems. ISPs are working in good faith with rights holders to develop less dramatic solutions to ‘keep honest people honest.’  Rather than create new technology mandates with dubious benefits, Congress should let these private solutions develop.”  (See previous blog posts on October 28th, November 15th, December 1st, and December 21st for further background information.)

EDUCAUSE will continue to monitor and report on this legislation.

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