This month the Senate is scheduled to vote on a bill that could end the internet as we know it. If the so-called “Stop Online Piracy Act” (SOPA), currently making its way through the House, or the “Protect Intellectual Property Act” (PIPA), awaiting a vote in the Senate, become law, corporations will have the ability to “disappear” your website without any due process. Internet innovators like Google, Twitter, Wikipedia, Al Gore and YouTube have come out against the bill because it will be disastrous to free speech, business and yes, to nonprofits.
Web innovators are taking the threat of SOPA and PIPA very seriously. One of the most popular sites on the internet, Reddit, is going to go dark for 12 hours on January 18th to protest against the bill. That will be a small sample of what the world would be like if these bills became law. No more satirical content that uses pop-culture to make a point. No more Fair Use. Nonprofits could be held accountable for what their members post. And nonprofits won’t have the financial ability to protect themselves.
The ACLU site has good detailed information on the legislation. You can also send a message to TV news directors at all the networks asking them to stop the media blackout on SOPA/PIPA via SaveTheInternet.org.
So if the people who built the internet and the most important sites on the internet are telling Congress not to pass this bill, who is telling them to support it? Here’s the list. And until a few days back, the regressive domain name registration and web hosting company GoDaddy was championing SOPA as well.
Hard to say why GoDaddy was supporting it. Maybe it’s because there were amendments in the works that would exempt operators of commercial sub-domains such as GoDaddy from the law. But maybe it’s just because GoDaddy is an ideologically bad company. Their ads are sexist and their president shoots elephants. (Seriously who does that? Montgomery Burns?) When activists at Reddit learned about GoDaddy’s support of SOPA they named December 29th Dump GoDaddy Day and started organizing.
What happened next is a great case of consumer activism and online organizing making a difference. TheDomains.com reports that GoDaddy lost 37,000 domains between Dec 22 and 24 alone! GoDaddy changed their stance VERY publicly as a result of the public outcry. Advomatic was moving one last domain away from GoDaddy and as we clicked the button on their site to receive the final authorization key we needed to leave, GoDaddy displayed a message saying that they no longer support SOPA-- a final pathetic plea as if to say, “We stopped being evil! We promise!”
Guess what? Even though GoDaddy relented, their President still killed an elephant and their ads are still sexist. They don’t deserve our support.
Thankfully, there are many domain name registration companies you can move to for better service AND that have policies that match our progressive values. Advomatic transferred all of the domains we manage away from GoDaddy to the domain registrar Gandi.net. They are against SOPA and even donate money to the Electronic Frontier Foundation! Other good options include DreamHost, which provide free hosting for 501c3s and NameCheap (which had an anti-SOPA discount).
To help you out LifeHacker posted a handy guide on how to switch web domain companies. If you’re a client and need a hand moving your domain names let us know! And don’t forget that we offer web hosting with free migration help through our hosting service line, Cadre.
So join Advomatic and all of the other business and nonprofits that care about the future of the internet and don’t like sexist jerks and change your domain company and keep those emails going to Congress.
Maybe we should start a petition asking Google and Facebook to post anti SOPA messages on their sites so they can educate their users....