As I’m sure many of my techie friends have come to find out, GoDaddy backed the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). Honestly, it doesn’t surprise me since Bob Parsons is probably the biggest douchebag on the planet (right next to Kim Jong Il, who was recently removed from the list due to personal reasons). A mass exodus from GoDaddy has begun with the help of bloggers and social media. As a long time DreamHost alum, I encourage everyone who wishes to switch to a host who isn’t evil to transfer domains and hosting there… I’ll even give you 5 free domain registrations!
Edit (6:37p) : GoDaddy has dropped support for SOPA as of a few hours ago. As soon as I get to a PC, I’ll find the tweet. They’ve sent hundreds and hundreds of @replies about it. Scrolling through on Plume is murder.
Edit (9:22p): A press release came out via the GoDaddy blog which redacts the support. Nothing on the GoDaddy Twitter account (except the @replies) says anything about it. Christine Jones, GoDaddy General Counsel, “removed blog postings that had outlined areas of the bill Go Daddy did support.” For me, this does not make my like GoDaddy again, it only makes me think they’re floozies. Keep your eye on this bunch!
Why SOPA is bad
With a name like “Stop Online Piracy Act,” it’s gotta be a good thing, right? Not necessarily… This act reinvents the current copyright infringement act (the Digital Millennium Copyright Act or, more commonly, DMCA) but includes a bit of a sour twist at the end: the entire domain where the infringing content resides can be taken down. Granted, the site does have five days to comply but does not have any recourse to contest the order, as they do now with the DMCA.
Some who are less technically inclined may think this is a good thing since there’d probably be other infringements on a site. Let’s think about sites like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube where each day millions and millions of people post and share billions of pictures, videos, and such… One compliant from someone to the Intellectual Property Enforcement Agency and, if the IPEA finds that infringement to be a “threat to US property,” the entire domain can be taken out. No more Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube.
So, that video of your ten year old singing to Single Ladies you posted on YouTube? That’s a copyright infringement. If YouTube gets a complaint and doesn’t remove it within five days, they get their plug pulled. And you can get up to five years in prison, even if it’s your first offense.
While the DMCA only protects IP, SOPA goes beyond that to matters of national security and “other purposes.” So any site with an infringement of intellectual property like music, national security, or any other purpose as deemed at risk by the IPEA can be taken down.
A site that insists the President is an idiot? I could see an overbearing, over militarized agency jumping the gun and calling that a risk to national security. Or how about that neo-Nazi sympathizing group? That agency doesn’t agree with them, so it’s a risk that falls into the “other purpose” category. Or how about the Occupy Wall Street movement that swept through the country? Sites that facilitated communication of protestors (Facebook and Twitter, primarily) could be taken down for risking national security… This act just breached the American citizen’s first amendment right to free speech. This act just became that pesky workplace firewall that blocks certain sites. This act just turned America into countries with national firewalls, like China.
SOPA even has international consequences. Domains considered to be American (like .com, .org, .net, and .edu) are all under the jurisdiction of the IPEA. So are any sites hosted by a US hosting company.
While Bob Parsons and GoDaddy support may seem insignificant since its just one person and one company, it’s far from it. The power GoDaddy welds as the world’s largest domain registry is enormous. Over 50-million domains are in the hands of GoDaddy. 50-million. That means GoDaddy has nearly 40% of the nominally American domains (com, org, net).
In early November, GoDaddy submitted a written statement to the House of Representatives in support of SOPA. It’s worth a read. They kiss the ass of the committee hearing statements about SOPA.
GoDaddy is playing the cards right to get in favor with the IPEA. Providing as much support and resources to lobby for it as they are and working with them for ensuring compliance after the passed will encourage the IPEA to look the other way when GoDaddy decides to do some infringing of their own.
So far, the response to GoDaddy’s support of SOPA has not been taken well by the public, especially their customers. A movement on Twitter called #BoycottGoDaddy has been started encouraging customers to transfer their domains and other services from GoDaddy to a different provider. (A non-SOPA supporting one, of course.)
As a huge DreamHost fanboy (and a customer since 2004), I recommend them. They’re not evil, have great prices ($9 per month for unlimited everything), and are reliable. Use promo code LoganOpposesSOPA to get 5 free domain registrations (which I’ve verified with a rep those do work with transfers costing $9.95—.com, .org, .net, .info, .us, .co.uk, .eu, .de, .org.uk, and .me.uk). And you have 2 weeks to try them out. If you don’t like them, no need to use them!
Ben Huh, the CEO of Cheezburger (I Can Haz Cheeseburger, FAIL Blog), says he will be moving the company’s 1,000+ domains away from GoDaddy unless the support for SOPA is recanted. Go Ben!
Here’s a few other resources regarding SOPA, IP-Protect, and others that I recommend:
Sites I used as references or just read regarding SOPA and/or GoDaddy’s SOPA support: