GoDaddy backs away from piracy bill after pressure from websites


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Internet registration service has taken itself out of the firing line on one of the Internet community’s biggest controversies. GoDaddy had been a vocal supporter of the Stop Online Piracy Act, the bill that would allow media companies to cut off access to alleged foreign piracy sites, a process that opponents say could harm the mechanisms that let information flow online.

But now, after pressure from clients and advocates, GoDaddy is going the other way.

‘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,’ said chief executive Warren Adelman in a statement. The company also said that in order to avoid confusion it had ‘removed blog postings that had outlined areas of the bill Go Daddy did support.’


The move came after a flurry of criticism from website owners and Internet companies. On Thursday, the chief executive of Internet comedy syndicate (I Can Has) Cheezburger? wrote that he would pull his 1,000 websites from GoDaddy’s service if the company continued to support the legislative bill.

‘We love you guys, but #SOPA-is-cancer to the Free Web,’ Ben Huh tweeted.

Other bloggers quickly posted step-by-step instructionsfor how to remove sites from GoDaddy.

GoDaddy had been listed by the House Judiciary Committee as one of dozens of companiesthat support the bill. That list included a who’s who of media conglomerates including News Corp., Time Warner, Sony companies and Universal Music, as well as a number of law firms that represent such companies. (The blog TechDirt has reported that those firms are trying to remove themselves from the list.)

The anti-piracy bill would allow media firms and others to request that the companies that control online data pipelines could shut off access to websites that are alleged to host pirated content. But opponents argue that the law would make it too easy for a small number of powerful media firms to cause too many changes to the intricate network that routes data around the Internet, which could in turn prevent the flow of legitimate information. They also point out that shutting off access to piracy sites wouldn’t get rid of the sites themselves.



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-- David Sarno