SOPA: Go Daddy Drops Support For Internet Piracy Legislation

12/23/2011 02:36 pm ET | Updated Dec 23, 2011

The largest Internet domain registrar and web hosting company Go Daddy has abandoned its support for the proposed Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), according to a statement released by the company Friday.

"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 Warren Adelman, Go Daddy's newly appointed CEO. "It's very important that all internet stakeholders work together on this. Getting it right is worth the wait. Go Daddy will support it when and if the internet community supports it."

Go Daddy had been one of two major tech companies to support the legislation. "If you're Nike, and you make tennis shoes and there's a company in some other country that can manufacture those for 10 cents on the dollar and sell them as if they were real Nikes, you have a big problem," said Christine Jones, general counsel for Go Daddy, earlier this month.

The Huffington Post's Zach Carter reported on the bill's implications:

SOPA would imbue the federal government with broad powers to shut down whole web domains on the basis that it believes them to be associated with piracy -- without a trial or even a traditional hearing. It would provide Hollywood with powerful new legal tools to stifle transactions with websites whose existence worries the movie industry.

The bill's supporters, which also include major record labels, trial lawyers and pharmaceutical giants, call SOPA a robust effort to curb piracy of American goods online.

Opponents, however, have castigated it as an unparalleled attack on free speech online. Civil liberties advocates say SOPA would give the U.S. government the same censorship tools used in China. Those in the technology sector warn that the bill creates enormous new barriers to entry for web startups, threatening innovation and job creation. Farther afield, librarians say that under the letter of the proposed anti-piracy law, they could be jailed for simply doing their jobs.

In a November interview with HuffPost, Jones had endorsed the legislation, saying everyone in the internet ecosystem needs to do their part to fight illegal downloading. At the time however, Jones did express some reservations about the use of Domain Name System (DNS) blocking -- the tool the government would use to shut down websites -- as a technique that could create significant technical problems for the functioning of the internet. She also expressed reservations about the bill's "private right of action," which allows movie studios and other companies to seek site takedowns outside of court.

DNS blocking by the government and a private right of action for companies that believe their content is being infringed are the main features of the bill. Nevertheless, Jones wrote several blog posts for the Go Daddy website explaining and defending the bill. The company says those blog posts have now been removed.

Leah Kauffman, the singer-songwriter who had a 2007 viral sensation with "I got a Crush ... on Obama" released a new song attacking SOPA called "Firewall (Don't Let Our Government Ruin The Internets)."

A coalition of Silicon Valley leaders, including Google co-founder Sergey Brin, Craigslist founder Craig Newmark and Huffington Post CEO Arianna Huffington, have signed an open letter to Washington opposing the bill.

The House Judiciary Committee confirmed Tuesday that work on the legislation would be delayed until Congress returns from its winter recess.