updated 02:40 pm EST, Fri December 23, 2011
GoDaddy rethinks SOPA stance after users quit
GoDaddy in a statement backed off of its support of the controversial Stop Online Piracy Act. The web domain registrar maintained that fighting piracy was important but decided that the backlash against it meant the company had to adjust its attitude. GoDaddy would only support SOPA if the broader Internet field did, and its very business was based on the concept of free speech many believe SOPA violates.
"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," CEO Warren Adelman said.
General Counsel Christine Jones had pulled her post endorsing SOPA to avoid any self-contradiction in stance.
The move has already been welcomed but is also likely a pragmatic reaction to losses of business in protest. Many individuals and companies that had domains on GoDaddy were actively switching to rivals in protest, including 1,000 domains belonging to I Can Haz Cheezburger founder Ben Huh. Rival Namecheap had responded both with active opposition and promo codes for those switching over to oppose SOPA.
SOPA has been seen by many opponents as inherently threatening both speech as well as Internet security. The measure would let a media label ask to have an entire site taken down even if only a small part of its content is alleged to be violating copyright, with little opportunity to contest it. Many see it as inherently breaking security since the rules for DNS blocking would violate DNSSEC, a measure that the US government itself wants to use to prevent outside "poisoning" attacks that would effectively take over sites.