SOPA Hearing Postponed Until January

Dec 21, 2011 9:15 AM PST

WASHINGTON — The House of Representatives Judiciary Committee's continuation of its hearing on the controversial Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) has been put on hold.

The congressional battle over President Obama's proposed payroll tax holiday extension is the reason why SOPA was postponed today.

Congressional leaders, bothered by an inability to reach a deal on the tax proposal, decided to go into recess at the end of today's session rather than tomorrow evening as originally planned.

House Judiciary Committee spokeswoman Kim Smith said continuation of the hearing is expected to resume in the new year.

If passed, SOPA would give the Justice Department the power to shut down "rogue" websites that sell or trade pirated materials.

But a growing number of opponents say the legislation would stifle free speech.

And some political leaders say that if the legislation were to pass as worded,  the government would be in the business of protecting online adult companies, which account for a substantial amount of traffic on the Internet.  

If the bill makes it through the committee, it would still have to pass the full House of Representatives and the Senate before it would go to President Obama's desk.

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