As you may already know, SOPA, the Stop Online Piracy Act, is an internet regulatory bill that is being proposed in the U.S. House of Representatives.
According to Wikipedia, SOPA would:
“allow the U.S. Department of Justice, as well as copyright holders, to seek court orders against websites accused of enabling or facilitating copyright infringement. Depending on who requests the court orders, the actions could include barring online advertising networks and payment facilitators such as PayPal from doing business with the allegedly infringing website, barring search engines from linking to such sites, and requiring Internet service providers to block access to such sites. The bill would make unauthorized streaming of copyrighted content a felony. The bill also gives immunity to Internet services that voluntarily take action against websites dedicated to infringement, while making liable for damages any copyright holder who knowingly misrepresents that a website is dedicated to infringement.“
Yesterday, we reported that GoDaddy, a premier domain registry service, was one of 150 backers of the SOPA regulations. As a result, dozens of companies and individuals either left GoDaddy’s services or threatened to leave them.
Later, GoDaddy flip-flopped and is “backing off” in its support of SOPA. It’s doubtful that most people believe GoDaddy’s stated reasons for changing this position. GoDaddy’s CEO, Warren Adelman, was quoted as saying There has to be concensus about the leadership of the internet community. It’s a large community and a global one.
I believe that the threat of losing business has more to do with GoDaddy’s change of heart concerning SOPA than any concern about a concensus. Up until now, GoDaddy seemed to be more concerned about protecting the wishes of big government and big media groups such as the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA).
Firstly, I can’t understand why the GoDaddy execs decided that it was a good idea for them to work on regulating the internet. Secondly, I think SOPA is a bad idea, not the answer to a problem that mainly exists in the meeting rooms of a multi-billion dollar entertainment industry. The cost of regulations are always paid by consumers, and internet users will end up paying the price if the SOPA supporters get their way. I hope that this flip-flop from GoDaddy is a sign that internet users are being heard, and that their voices are crying “The internet is not broken – stop trying to fix it“.