A vote on House legislation that seeks to clamp down on Internet piracy has been postponed indefinitely.
The House Judiciary subcommittee on courts and and intellectual property has postponed the vote because of a disagreement over wording in the bill that prohibits electronic consumer devices from circumventing systems designed to protect copyrighted material.
Critics of the provisions argue that the bill will stifle the legal, non-commercial recording functions of digital audio and video devices, as well as personal computers.
Dave Joergenson, press secretary for Representative Carlos Moorhead (R-California), the bill's main sponsor and chairman of the subcommittee, disagreed with the criticism. "This bill is not designed to go after the little guy," he said, adding that strict enforcement of home audio and video taping is impractical.
The subcommittee vote, one of the first steps in the legislative process, has not been resecheduled, but Moorhead's office warned that the bill faces certain death if the vote doesn't take place in the next couple of weeks.
"It takes a lot of time to pass a bill," Jorgensen said, "and we're running out of legislative days."
Congress has until the end of the year to pass the bill, but election year distractions and the lengthy summer recess are likely to reduce chances of any action.