Domain registrar Go Daddy’s initial support for SOPA, or the Stop Online Piracy Act, has spurred many of its customers to transfer their domains to other hosting companies despite the fact that the company ultimately reversed its stance and issued a statement saying it no longer supports the bill. So far, Go Daddy has lost over 72,000 domains, and now Reddit users are calling for a boycott on December 29.
In response to outcry from the public and angry customers, Go Daddy CEO Warren Adelman stated,
Fighting online piracy is of the utmost importance, which is why Go Daddy has been working to help craft revisions to this legislation — but we can clearly do better. It’s very important that all Internet stakeholders work together on this. Getting it right is worth the wait. Go Daddy will support it when and if the Internet community supports it.
SOPA is a bill that’s been working its way through the U.S. House of Representatives that supporters claim will stop people from stealing content like movies, music and books online. Opponents claim the bill, should it become law, will give the government nearly unfettered control over what can be viewed online.
The bill would make it surprisingly easy to get court orders to shut down any website suspected of participating in copyright infringement in any way, even if that happens to be indirectly. Internet service providers would be required to block access to sites that host or link to other sites suspected of copyright infringement, and online search engines could be blocked from showing results that include blocked websites, regardless of whether or not they are hosted in the United States
Those accused of unauthorized streaming of copyright-protected content would face felony charges.
Go Daddy was singled out by SOPA opponents, although the list of other companies supporting the bill on at least some level is well over 100. Other companies on the list include the likes of Walt Disney, Intuit, Microsoft, CBS, Bose, and even Apple. The Mac Observer has asked Apple to clarify its position on SOPA, but has not received a response.
Data from DailyChanges shows that Go Daddy’s domain losses are already up over 72,000 for the past five days, and that’s likely to keep climbing, especially with Redditors ready to push for massive transfers on December 29. The Boycott GoDaddy website is asking domain owners to pledge to drop Go Daddy, too.
For its part, Go Daddy’s public statement that it no longer supports SOPA doesn’t seem to go far enough for opponents of the bill, especially since Mr. Adelman said his company would consider supporting future versions of the bill. The fact that Go Daddy helped craft the bill’s current wording hasn’t helped the company’s case, either.
In a public statement, Go Daddy representatives said that the company has been working with the government for several months on the bill’s wording to “improve the bill by proposing changes to key defined terms, limitations on DNS filtering to ensure the integrity of the Internet, more significant consequences for frivolous claims, and specific provisions to protect free speech.”
SOPA opponents, however, don’t seem to be interested in Go Daddy’s statements, and come December 29 that could hit the company’s pocketbook hard.