Wonkish internet policy post ahead, but we feel the need to show our support for our server provider: GoDaddy.
“SOPA,” the misleadingly named “Stop On Line Piracy Act” (Wikipedia entry here), is ostensibly to protect copyrights from pirates. Sounds good. We respect copyrights — our raison d’être is to provide out-of-copyright images, after all.
But, the devil is in the details. From the reports we read, the terms of the proposed legislation are so broad as to sweep in all sorts of websites, not only the ones targeted (ex-US pirate sites).
And, talk about over-kill: Internet service providers could ask the US Department of Justice to take a shoot-first-ask-questions-later approach and just block a website if they unilaterally felt it was presenting copyright infringing works. Or, if you run a pay-for site, they could block your payment systems, effectively putting you out of business. This flips the burden of proof to “prove you are innocent” as opposed to, “we presume you are innocent and will prove you guilty.” Proving a negative (“prove you are not guilty” ) is an impossibility, making this legislation alarming on all sorts of levels.
We get the intent — protecting copyright works. But this legislation is ham-handed. Not only does it flip the burden of proof to an impossible standard, the limits aren’t rationally related to the proposed purpose of the law to begin with. If we were shut down and felt we were wronged, how would we fight the entire US DoJ? Answer: we wouldn’t. We’d probably put up another site and start over. Or something. And we presume a pirate would do the same thing. So the draconian policing has no rational basis in solving the problem so stated by the legislative intent. Arrg. Pirates.
Corporations in support of the legislation are mostly from the entertainment industry, but there was also GoDaddy originally. Not surprisingly, the online activists gained steam, and so did a proposal to boycott GoDaddy (“GoDaddy supports SOPA, I’m transferring 51 domains & suggesting a move your domain day “). As if we needed this in our life, we were going to move our domains out of GoDaddy. On the whole, GoDaddy’s service had noticeably improved since the private equity buy-in, and so we’ve pretty much decided not to move to the cloud. But, we don’t have that many domains, and so we thought we’d just move someplace else, and then think about moving our server or not renewing the contract.
But now, GoDaddy has had a change of heart: “Go Daddy No Longer Supports SOPA — Looks to Internet Community & Fellow Tech Leaders to Develop Legislation We All Support.” We don’t question if its customers put up a stink. Or if it has to do with monitizing its patents (and if the web is shut down, one can’t collect a royalty, now can one?)
No, in this holiday spirit, we won’t question any motives. We’ll just say thank you GoDaddy brand new one-week CEO for changing you mind on this, whatever the motives. Even if GoDaddy isn’t anti-SOPA, at least it won’t support the legislation in its current form.
We hope this reflects the thought process of the new GoDaddy management better than killing elephants for enjoyment.
PS: We vote that “GoDaddy” and its creepy, pornish branding is ditched, and the whole thing is just rebranded already. How about “Elephant Web” and donate to preserve elephants to both change the creepy name and seek redemption after the awful dead elephant PR?