The White House waded into the politically volatile territory of SOPA today, notes the Hill, and it sounds a little wary about the anti-piracy legislation. "While we believe that online piracy by foreign websites is a serious problem that requires a serious legislative response, we will not support legislation that reduces freedom of expression, increases cybersecurity risk, or undermines the dynamic, innovative global Internet," reads a blog post from three tech officials in the administration.
Maybe more significant for SOPA opponents: House Judiciary chair Lamar Smith yesterday backed off controversial language in his bill that would require Internet service providers to block non-US websites that have pirated content, notes Bloomberg. (It's a "major concession" in the arcane area of Domain Name System filtering, says the Hill.) Smith issued a statement today welcoming the White House position and pledging to get something passed this year. SOPA foe Darrell Issa, meanwhile, says the bill is still "fundamentally flawed" even with Smith's concession, but he said he's gotten assurances from House leaders that it won't hit the floor until consensus is reached. The Senate is expected to have a procedural vote on its version on Jan. 24.