If you’ve been following internet news recently, then you’ve definitely heard about SOPA. But just in case you haven’t, here is a quick review: SOPA is the Stop Online Piracy Act. The legislation is meant to protect copyrighted information from being used illegally but it’s not very popular. People are afraid that it’s an excuse to censor the web and put too much control into the hands of big media companies. Pirate websites would probably find ways to get around it while sites with user-generated content, like Youtube for example would be policed more strongly. While most people fear censorship down the line, some even purport conspiracy theories because sites like Cnet, which gave information about how to pirate content, are in fact owned by big media companies. Some claim that they encouraged piracy early on to create the reason for this legislation, which would give them greater control over the internet. Most just see that as hypocrisy however, rather than an intended outcome.
Users are so opposed to this bill that Go Daddy has felt enough pressure from users to withdraw their support for it. The domain registrar and web hosting company was reacting to loud and numerous voices on Reddit and Twitter calling for boycotts of Go Daddy. Although they have worked for years to create legislation fighting online piracy, they now say that it will have to be revised before they can support it. Posts explaining why the company supported specific parts of the bill were even removed from the Go Daddy blog.
I understand how Go Daddy as a domain registrar and web host could easily be sucked into this issue. Although they don’t make their money off of copyrighted content, it’s easy to see that they could be in trouble down the line when people using their services break copyright law. Fortunately for Go Daddy, they won’t be the first to suffer from piracy on the one hand or SOPA on the other so they can afford to be swayed by customer opinion. And whether or not I support SOPA, I salute Go Daddy for giving it a shot and holding out this long.