More Cloud, Web Companies Join SOPA Opposition
The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) gained more vocal opponents from the cloud computing and Web community this week as DreamHost and Domain.com publicly denounced the bill.
DreamHost's and Domain.com's moral opposition to the proposed legislation, which is currently making its way through Congress, comes as rival Go Daddy faces a boycott and mass customer exodus over its support of the Hollywood-backed bill that, on the surface, seeks to stop online piracy and copyright infringement.
The companies also join a growing list of tech top dogs speaking out against SOPA. Some of the bill's most vocal opponents include Google, Twitter, Facebook, and AOL.
Earlier this week, cloud and hosting provider Rackspace came out in strong opposition against SOPA. In a blog post, San Antonio-based Rackspace's CEO Lanham Napier said that while Rackspace supports putting an end to piracy, SOPA, as it currently stands, would do more harm than good.
"The SOPA bill, as it stands, is a deeply flawed piece of legislation. It is bad for anyone who uses the Internet, including Rackspace, the more than 160,000 business customers that we serve, and the tens of millions of retail customers that they serve," Napier wrote in a blog post on the Rackspace cloud blog. "It is bad for job creation and innovation."
In its opposition, DreamHost, a Los Angeles-based cloud services and Web hosting company said "SOPA was, and is, a raw deal for free speech on the Internet." The company added that SOPA would "take away rights enjoyed by millions of American Web hosting customers, make enforcement of copyrights online a nightmare for the Web hosting and domain industry, and fundamentally change the way American citizens would be permitted to use the Internet."
SOPA's supporters claim the bill seeks to end online piracy of movies, music, software and other intellectual property and that it gives the U.S. government and copyright holders the authority to seek court orders against Web sites that infringe upon, pirate or counterfeit that intellectual property. The bill, however, also allows copyright holders and the U.S. Department of Justice to go after Web sites that are unwittingly connected to offending sites. The SOPA bill, critics have said, pulls Internet service providers into the fold to block customers from accessing offending sites.
Much of the criticism against SOPA is that it would require companies to censor or block content and police customers and users. DreamHost, for example, said that sites like YouTube, Wikipedia, Twitter and other sites that rely heavily on user-generated content could risk immediate shut down of SOPA becomes law. Meanwhile, SOPA would make those Web site owners liable for content that users post and would impose strict punishment for "vague definitions of piracy." DreamHost added that the overhead costs to police the Web under SOPA would be astronomical and make inexpensive Web hosting a thing of the past.
NEXT: SOPA Support Spurs Go Daddy Boycott
Additionally, DreamHost said that rights-holders could demand the immediate shutdown of entire domain names based on claims of rights infringement. In a statement, DreamHost said rights-holders are not obligated to prove infringement took place, but can file a form letter and have content removed. And Web hosting companies could be held liable as well.
"SOPA changes the way the Internet works, and not in a good way," DreamHost CEO Simon Anderson said in a statement. "It undermines the freedom of expression enjoyed by all Americans online, and removes the safe harbor protecting Web hosts established by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). SOPA will create uncertainty for American entrepreneurs and stifle innovation, hurting American jobs and investment at exactly the time when the economy needs a boost from small businesses. We're part of a coalition of leading Web and Internet companies asking that Congress do the right thing and reject SOPA. It's a flawed concept that is not in line with American values."
Domain.com, another Web hosting provider and a domain registrar, also joined in the fight against SOPA.
"While Domain.com respects the rights of intellectual property owners, the SOPA legislation is troubling in its restraint on free speech under the First Amendment. The uncertainty it would create for website owners and the resulting chilling effect on the tech industry is a serious issue the Internet community should not take lightly," said David Andrews, marketing director for Domain.com said in a statement.
Meanwhile, Go Daddy is under siege as today has been unofficially dubbed Go Daddy dump day, a day in which customers are urged to ditch the service due to its support of SOPA. Go Daddy had recently appeared on a list of official SOPA supports, which resulted in the loss of tens of thousands of domains. The oft-controversial company did an immediate about-face and denounced the proposed SOPA legislation, but was too late in its reversal.
And now, other domain players like Domain.com, Namecheap and Hover are capitalizing on Go Daddy's misstep and offering discounts to customers who transfer to their services from the beleaguered registrar.