Another day, another victim. GoDaddy.com just got hit by the Occupy drive-by.
As of Dec. 23, the domain registrar moved from not only supporting the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) to actively opposing it (at least claiming to oppose it). They did this just before Move Your Domain day. In their statement to their customers and business partners, they stated:
In changing its position, Go Daddy remains steadfast in its promise to support security and stability of the Internet. In an effort to eliminate any confusion about its reversal on SOPA though, Jones has removed blog postings that had outlined areas of the bill Go Daddy did support.
GoDaddy.com was for SOPA and Internet censorship until they found out that hurt their bottom dollar. Now they’re conveniently against the act. Right… But you have to give it to them. They were honest and real about their position change and are doing what they’re supposed to do: Increase profits and keep the consumer happy. Sometimes companies forget about this because they become wide-eyed when they see profits and forget that those profits wouldn’t be possible without the consumer. Now, consumers are more aware of the consequences of their actions and business practices are more transparent. Pleading ignorant won’t save you from the masses anymore.
As active supporters of SOPA, the domain registrar was met with strong opposition to the act that has dire implications on internet freedom, free speech and the freedom of the press. With the beating, detainment and denial of the free press by cops at Occupy Wall Street, we don’t need our press facing any more hurdles.
SOPA threatens the well-being of journalism and its ability to report because SOPA would potentially censor websites from appearing on search engines if the government feels the website violates intellectual property and/or copyright laws. Worse of all, felony charges would follow a party streaming copyrighted material with a penalty of up to five years in prison.
“But why would Congress do such a thing?” is a question you may have. The answer is always the same: It’s the money, bruh. Take a look at this illustration by Politico. It should make everything clear:
In 2010, Silicon Valley spent a total of $14.2 million lobbying compared $185.5 million spent by Hollywood and media conglomerates. Profits in Hollywood have doubled in the past 14 years. They have gone from $52.8 billion in gross revenue (1995) to $10.6 billion in 2009. Hollywood is trying to convince the public that they’re hurting and piracy is destroying their business. They’re trying to convince the public that Hollywood is not hiring because of the economy, but let’s face it, Americans like to be entertained. The reason why Hollywood is not hiring is because they don’t want to.
Hollywood is recession proof. Some might say that instead of spending over $100 million lobbying, invest that money into new technology, new ideas and the creation of piracy influenced sites—like iTunes did with Napster. Napster forced the industry to try a new, more consumer friendly business model. Some might say that choosing to do otherwise is not smart and even narcissistic.
The penalties of SOPA are stringent and the enforcement would have to be even more strict. This seems to be the case as the Department of Justice (DOJ) would have the jurisdiction to demand hosts like domain registrars and social media sites to censor the alleged copyrighted material.
It’s obvious to see how divisive SOPA has become. It’s an important issue with far-reaching implications. This might be the biggest fight of our generation. It’s one that conservatives and liberals can get behind (I might be a little bit optimistic). We don’t want to look back at these times as the days when the Internet was free. I don’t want to have to explain that to my kids. I don’t think anybody wants to explain that.
With the 2012 and midterm elections on the way, there’s no better time to make your voice heard. Social media are affecting politics in new ways (read this article for a better perspective). We can’t let the politicians on the hill get comfortable. We have to remind them who they’re working for. Passing controversial bills when a lot of the members of Congress don’t even understand how the Internet works (I bet they don’t even know the difference between the World Wide Web and the Internet) is dishonorable.
Here’s an OpenCongress.org page where you can follow all updates on H.R. 3261. Be sure to stay updated on this act and vote this November against every politicians in support of the act. Keep the pressure on.