White and Nerdy: Explaining SOPA vs GoDaddy for the Tech-Challenged

Categories: Tech

sopa-godaddy.jpg
When trying to explain the debate over the Stop Online Piracy Act and the involvement of domain name registrar GoDaddy in a staff meeting this week, my words were met with collective blank stares, as if I were speaking a different language. It is a look I often get from Web-design clients when I talk about "content development" or "dynamic code."

Before your eyes glaze over like my clients and colleagues at the Press, I figured I should put together a simple, non-nerd-friendly explanation of why people are so pissed at GoDaddy and what it has to do with SOPA...and what that even is.

Read on.

First, what is the Stop Online Piracy Act?
Simply put, SOPA is a bill currently passing through the bowels of Congress (H.R. 3261) introduced by Lamar Smith (R-TX) that would expand the role of law enforcement in protecting the rights of copyright holders. On the surface, that doesn't sound like a terrible thing, but when you dig a little deeper, the problem becomes clear.

SOPA would empower people who own copyrights -- film companies, record labels and television networks, in particular -- to not only go after people who individually steal their content, but to go after anyone who aids them. In this case, that includes the hosting companies that unwittingly host the content, Internet service providers (Comcast, AT&T, etc.) who unknowingly provide access, search engines like Google for linking to them, advertising services for running ads on their sites and online banking services like PayPal for allowing them to do business through them.

If they cooperate, however, they get immunity.

In essence, it turns the Internet into a police state where every company is constantly searching for potential legal issues. Not only is it inefficient, but it creates the very real probability that things that aren't illegal will be shut down simply to protect the overseers from liability.

Now, what is GoDaddy?
GoDaddy is a domain name registrar. Domain names like HoustonPress.com cannot be purchased. All domain names are public property, but they can be essentially leased on a yearly basis. Registrars like GoDaddy, Network Solutions, Register.com and others allow individuals and companies to lease domain names through them.

Without registrars, Web surfers would have to memorize number combinations called IP addresses to find sites. Imagine trying to remember 12.333.44.179 instead of Yahoo.com.

And why are they involved with SOPA?
GoDaddy set itself apart as one of the very few online services to show support for SOPA. Most of the major online players -- Google, Ebay, AOL, Twitter, Facebook -- are in opposition, as are thousands upon thousands of nerds, and they are the last ones GoDaddy wanted to piss off.

When Web users heard of GoDaddy's stance, they immediately began transferring domains from GoDaddy to other registrars. At last count, more than 70,000 customers had moved their domains, costing GoDaddy a serious chunk of change when you consider the average domain owner spends at least $10 per year on a domain and many of them have multiple domain names under a single account. Do the math.

GoDaddy reversed itself and withdrew its support this week, but geeks weren't buying it and continued the mass exodus. As Zed in Men in Black said, "It's like the last one out gets stuck with the check."

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12 comments
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tommyriv
tommyriv

@hou  Why people are so pissed at GoDaddy...You shouldn’t believe, my co-worker's step-aunt makes $80/hr on the computer. She has been without work for 9 months but last month her income was USD9023 just working on the computer for a few hours. Read more on this site... http://nxy.in/ncd9h

Reputation Management
Reputation Management

A lot of people are concerned about SOPA, the Stop Online Piracy Act. There are plenty of pages that say that it will destroy the Internet, but very few that explain clearly exactly why. It has also become clear that the politicians writing the law have no idea how the Internet actually works. So here is my attempt to explain it all.Let me start by explaining DNS, using a situation that doesn’t involve computers, that hopefully anyone can understand.

Stacey
Stacey

@12b64ebeedd48c888e3bb0f6000416c8:disqus .........my roomate's mother makes $70/hour on the computer. She has been fired from work for 5 months but last month her pay was $7232 just working on the computer for a few hours. Read more on this site LazyCash4. Com

Robert McClellan
Robert McClellan

For the people that think this is no big deal here is the scenario:

Once a month or so your ISP will submit a list that namespossible pirates to the government. If the list only has a few names the governmenttells the ISP they aren’t being very cooperative so they pull two hundred morenames out of a hat. The government makes you prove you are innocent which costsyou about $5,000 in attorney fees; the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act,or FISA (and the wording of SOPA is based on that) says you can’t even ask  the government or your ISP what the charges are based on and you can’t sue.

Alex Colvin
Alex Colvin

Having been a victim of plagerism (a whole article I'd  published got pinched -- without attribution -- by an historical website,) but I caught them and introduced them to the wonderful world of copyright infringement. If you produce a creative product and someone steals it, why is that somehow less criminal than if someone steals your car? Theft is theft.  SOPA may not be the final answer to the issue of piracy, but its a step in the right direction. Professionals in the arts are entiled to protection against the mob of theives nesting in the Internet. To not get that is to advocate thievery.

Stump Beefgnaw
Stump Beefgnaw

I'd take this more seriously if it wasn't coming from someone who is also stealing other peoples' work.

Alex, I'm looking at your facebook wall, which your name on your comment links to, and there's a picture of a T-shirt on it that I'm guessing you didn't take and whose source you have not credited. If SOPA passes, and the person who owns the rights to that photo decides they have nothing better to do than go after people showing their Facebook friends the cool shirt they just bought, they could have your Facebook account suspended--if they don't just decide to go ahead and press charges.At any rate, you're a fucking hypocrite. Theft is theft, amirite?

H_e_x
H_e_x

I don't believe that one bit because tools are already in place to fight piracy. I would rather have infettered access rather than more useless tools that are designed to kill the internet as we know it.To not know that is to advocate ignorance.

Dylan
Dylan

This is one of those issues where everyone really should contact their Representatives. You may not think it helps, and one letter doesn't, but when 500 people contact a political office it gets noticed.

j k
j k

And you would think boycotting the entertainment industry as a whole would make a statement as well. Don't go out to the movies, or buy/rent from netflix, etc, don't buy music. Live with what you have for awhile.

TK
TK

Hey, I totally understood that.  Thanks for talking down to my level.  

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