Web domain name registrar Go Daddy caused quite a stir on the Web yesterday when they published a statement on their website stating their support of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). In the company’s statement they said the bill is ” aimed at protecting the intellectual property of hard-working Americans, U.S. businesses and the American public from the harm that necessarily flows from the purchase of counterfeit products.”
Go Daddy continued, “It’s a welcome step in the right direction, and we at GoDaddy.com applaud the leadership in the House Judiciary Committee, the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Intellectual Property, Competition and the Internet and the Senate Judiciary Committee, for taking decisive, bicameral and bipartisan action.”
The bill was crafted to protect intellectual property on the Web and to combat online piracy, but the overreaching power this bill could extend would allow government censorship of many websites that are doing perfectly legal activity. For instance, if this bill is passed social networks will be responsible for the content on their sites. This means if people are sharing copyrighted material on Facebook, Facebook is responsible for the spread of that content. And while this is an extreme example, it illustrates the potential impact if it is put into action.
In response to SOPA critics claiming that the bill can be compared to online censorship, the company said, “This bill cannot reasonably be equated with censorship … Not only is there no First Amendment concern, but the notion that we should turn a blind eye to criminal conduct because other countries may take oppressive steps in response is an affront to the very fabric of this nation.”
But as ReadWriteWeb wrote, “SOPA critics aren’t buying” Go Daddy’s logic. One such critic, Cheezeburger CEO Ben Huh went to Twitter to air his grievances against the domain registrar. He tweeted, “We will move our 1,000 domains off @godaddy unless you drop support of SOPA. We love you guys, but #SOPA-is-cancer to the Free Web.”
The amount of companies that support SOPA is astounding. Gizmodo has a list of SOPA-supporting companies here.
What do you think of SOPA? Is it as overreaching as many say it is or is it appropriate legislation?