It is an error to suppose that courage means courage in everything. Most people are brave only in the dangers to which they accustom themselves, either in imagination or practice.
- Bulwer-Lytton, English Novelist and Poet (1803-1873)
On a day known around the Internet as “Dump GoDaddy Day,” I received the following email from my own webhost, 1&1, an email that was both spot-on politically as well as being a well-timed effort to capitalize on the exodus of tens of thousands of domains from GoDaddy.
You may have heard about Protect-IP (PIPA) and the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) currently under consideration in Congress. If passed, among other things, SOPA requires Web hosting companies like 1&1 to police websites in order to prevent them from communicating copyrighted information on the internet. We would like to make sure you are aware of 1&1’s official position on SOPA.
As a global provider of domains and hosting services, we oppose the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) or Protect-IP (PIPA) Acts currently under consideration. While we observe the concerns of those who are troubled by the potential impact on protecting intellectual property online, 1&1 feels there is an urgent need to strike a balance between dissemination of and access to information and protection against its illegal use within the public domain.
The US government is currently reviewing SOPA and PIPA as possible ways to prevent unlawful distribution of copyrighted materials available on the internet. These current proposals, if passed, would allow for significant interventions into the technological and conomical basis of the internet. This could put the vast benefits and economic opportunities of entirely legal and legitimate e-business models at risk. Generally, companies offering technological services should not be forced to be the executor of authority in such matters. If they were to act upon every implication of content infringement without any judicial research into the actual usage of its customers, the integrity behind their customer’s freedom of information and speech would be enormously harmed.
1&1 Internet, Inc. has worked through associations and with related companies to ensure that these aspects are taken into account. Thus, we welcome the serious consideration by the US Congress of the potential harmful effects on Internet freedom should SOPA and / or PIPA be passed as law, and hope the stability of the Internet’s domain name system (DNS) remains intact.
We encourage every Internet user concerned about these plans to contribute to the debate and to raise their voice with their local representatives in the House or Senate. One way to express your concerns could be to use one of the websites that emerged to protect user interests in the current legislative debate, such as http://fightforthefuture.org/.
At 1&1 we support you, our customer, and an open internet. If you find that you are supporting a company that encourages SOPA and wish to drop them as a provider, please follow the simple instructions contained on the website linked below.
Thank you for being one of our extremely valued customers, and for taking the time to read this.
General Manager 1&1 Internet Inc.
No surprise that politicians who have been bought and paid for by the entertainment industry are behind these bills, and some of them may be so completely naive they might imagine fighting piracy is the only thing that these bills will enable, but there is a lot more to worry about beyond the unfair honus the bills would place on web hosts. Look into it deeper, and these bills also give the government the power of judge, jury and executioner to take down any website they find objectionable. If you give the government a kill switch for any website it deems objectionable, just watch the abuses ensue. Absolutely, positively, we do not want to allow our government to get on the slippery slope towards Chinese authoritarian control of the Internet.
If you browse the Internet, you’ll see a beautiful coalition of left-wing bloggers and right-wing bloggers all united against these legislative abominations. Here’s an article from Declan McCullagh where he makes 2012 predictions, and at the top of the list: SOPA opponents may go nuclear. Now there’s one apocalyptic prediction we should all help make a reality.
SOPA supporters are the 1%. Don’t let the 1% kill freedom on the Internet.