Issa rebuts critics, says online piracy bill has no chance to pass in the House

The divide in the House over online piracy legislation continued to grow Wednesday as House Oversight Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) doubled down on his criticism of the controversial Stop Online Piracy Act.

"Good bills, with good support that leave the House passed, do pretty well. Bad bills that don't leave the House never get a chance to be heard in the Senate. I don't think SOPA will leave the House. I don't think it could pass a House vote today," Issa told The Hill on Wednesday.


Issa plans to introduce an alternative online piracy bill that relies on the International Trade Commission to handle online copyright claims against infringing foreign sites as soon as next Wednesday.

A draft of that legislation has been circulating since last week and has attracted bipartisan support in both chambers, but still lags far behind SOPA and its Senate counterpart Protect IP, both championed by the Judiciary Committees in their respective chambers.

Issa pushed back at criticism of his draft bill from the House Judiciary Committee, disputing the notion that his approach would be more expensive than SOPA's approach. He acknowledged an increase in online copyright complaints would cost more but argued his bill would be the most economical approach.

Issa also discussed a new transparency initiative dubbed MADISON at the Congressional Facebook Developer Hackathon on Wednesday afternoon. MADISON is an open-source platform where interest groups and members of the public can comment on, provide input and re-write legislation while having their actions tracked.

Issa said part of the problem with SOPA is that it was thought up in secrecy, which is why he hopes the new platform will give the public a clear view of how various stakeholders shape the debate over a piece of legislation.

The platform is part of Issa's DATA Act, which builds on the safeguards used by the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board to track stimulus funds. The new online piracy bill will be the first test case for MADISON, which is schedled to launch in beta format on Thursday.