Recently, a customer in our forum asked what ASO’s stance on SOPA was. For those who are unaware, SOPA is short for the “Stop Online Piracy Act”, a proposed piece of legislation that could dramatically change the Internet and your hosting. Within the past several days hosting companies and registrars stand on SOPA has become big news, as web host GoDaddy has been one of the few hosts to come out staunchly in favor of this legislation. This stance has prompted calls of a boycott.
Considering the controversy and the growing anger against Internet companies that support the legislation, we wanted to go ahead and let our customers unambiguously know where we stand. We also wanted to let you know a little bit about why we care about it, why we think you should care about it, and offer some help to our customers that may have domains or hosting with GoDaddy to move their domains if that is what they wish to do.
Where does A Small Orange Stand?
Against it. Unequivocally, and without ambiguity.
Currently, hosting companies deal with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. If you find information that is infringing, you send us a DMCA Takedown Notice, and we take the material down. If you host with us, you can counter-notify and we can put the content back up. From there, it’s up to the copyright owner take the next step to go to court and assert their copyright so that a Judge can make a final determination. We are required to follow the law as written to the letter, and we cannot interpret whether something is infringing or not or decide whether a DMCA is valid or not utilizing any other criteria then what is in the law, which is limited to whether it says everything, by law, it requires.
SOPA shifts this burden from the copyright holder to the online service, whether the service is Twitter or Facebook or a hosting company like ASO or a registrar. Many people also believe that it bypasses legal protections of free speech and due process for controversial sites, making the consequences of a mere accusation the near-instant destruction of the site before any infringing activity is proven. It places service owners in a near-impossible and costly position of policing all content on its servers.
Are you against all legislation?
Not at all – we are against bad legislation. In our opinion, SOPA is poorly thought out, and it’s consequences would be nothing short of disastrous for the Internet and the hosting industry in particular.
A Small Orange takes very seriously any and all complaints about copyright infringement, phishing, and malicious activity on our servers. We act swiftly whenever we receive a takedown notice, and always work diligently with copyright holders that submit a DMCA Notice to comply with the law as written and handle their issues expeditiously. We believe in intellectual property holders’ ability to assert their copyright, and we never ignore anyone that comes to us and states that there is a violation taking place on our network.
This particular legislation, in our opinion, goes way too far. The government may be able to craft legislation that hones the process, makes it easier and less burdensome on copyright holders, and protects the rights of Internet denizens to exercise free speech while protecting intellectual property – unfortunately, we do not believe this piece of legislation does that.
What’s the deal with GoDaddy?
The Hosting Industry has organized to rally against this legislation, and that effort can be seen at savehosting.org. Many industry leaders signed letters that were delivered to the U.S. House of representatives, and many more are working behind the scenes to oppose this legislation. GoDaddy has taken a different view of the legislation than most of the industry and come out in support of SOPA. This has, in turn, caused many people to choose to no longer do business with GoDaddy.
Some customers that have hosting and domains here and there have asked us for coupon codes to transfer and consolidate their hosting and domain names here, and we’re happy to provide the following codes to help take some of the cost burden off if your choice is to take part on the boycott.
We’re offering 25% off shared hosting, domain transfers and domain registrations with this coupon code: OrangeYouGlad
Details of the offer can be found here
We hope that this clarified our stance on the current legislation for those people that feel strongly about it, and if you weren’t aware of it we hope that this information helped to make you aware of the issues.
In a stunning reversal of… well, absolutely everything they have said for several months, GoDaddy has withdrawn support for SOPA just hours after claiming that there were no free speech concerns and months after calling opponents of SOPA “myopic”.
We can only assume that they finally decided to actually read the legislation and listen to the overwhelmingly negative opinions, points, and consequences regarding it. For some perspective on what GoDaddy may have just finally learned this morning, watch this fabulously informative video addressing some of the issues we at A Small Orange have known about for months.
If the interchangeability of Protect IP and SOPA is confusing, The Protect IP Act (PIPA) is a U.S. Senate bill introduced by Senator Patrick Leahy. Its House counterpart is Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). The bills are effectively working towards the same end, designed to provide the government and copyright holders with powers to block access to “rogue websites dedicated to infringing or counterfeit goods,” especially those registered outside the United States.