On January 14, 2012, the US House of Representatives postponed hearings on the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) [PDF]. Many popular and influential websites had responded negatively to the bill because of its controversial Domain Name System (DNS) blocking provisions, which would have required US Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to block any website suspected of hosting copyright infringement-related material. The bill aimed to expand the power of the US Department of Justice (DOJ) and copyright holders to slow the spread of pirated material and counterfeit goods. Legal experts in the field of intellectual property also voiced concerns that DNS blocking may violate the First Amendment.
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