More And More Internet Infrastructure Players Coming Out To Say How Bad SOPA/PIPA Are

from the anyone-support-it? dept

We’ve noted in the past that most of the people who actually understand the basic internet infrastructure have come out against SOPA and PIPA. That includes both individuals and companies (such as OpenDNS and Dyn), but it appears that we may be reaching a tipping point with tons and tons of internet infrastructure companies speaking out against these bills. We’ve already talked about the massive GoDaddy backlash… but it’s interesting to note that many registrars and hosting companies are using this as an opportunity to speak out against SOPA and PIPA. Hover, Dreamhost, NameCheap and Name.com have all made explicit statements on their blogs. Back in the DNS space, EasyDNS has written a blistering anti-SOPA post on its blog:

If this becomes law, it’s a short stretch from SOPA to NODA (No Online Dissent Anywhere) and if you think I’m a nutcase for saying so, I’d like to remind everybody what happened just over a year ago, when US politicians were tripping over themselves to shut down wikileaks (a royal fiasco in which this company was embroiled) and to this day, they have not been charged with a crime anywhere.

Many of the “dirty tricks” employed against Wikileaks would be enshrined in law under SOPA (and someday, NODA):

  • A requirement that service providers block access to offending domains, including that they stop resolving their DNS
  • Search engines to purge search results for offending domains
  • Payment processors to sever ties to offending domains

And they added an extra provision that it will be an offense to knowingly create a service or system to provide a workaround to a banned domain or host. So for example, they would no longer have to hassle Mozilla to remove that firefox plugin that lets you reach ICE blocked websites, it would be illegal to make it or distribute it.

And that’s not all. As if to drive home the point, a relatively new group called the SaveHosting Coalition just came out with a letter signed by over 300 execs involved in internet infrastructure companies, saying they’re against SOPA. The full letter, embedded below, is well worth a read. It’s quite comprehensive, and basically makes it quite clear that SOPA isn’t just bad for internet infrastructure, but it’s bad for jobs and the economy, as well as pretty much anyone who does anything online. Here’s just a snippet:

We write to express that, after careful review of H.R.3261 – the Stop Online Piracy Act of 2011 (SOPA), we believe that this legislation will lead to significant loss of high-wage, high-tech jobs in our industry and other industries that are directly or indirectly supported by our industry. This impact will diminish the attractiveness of U.S. companies to foreign customers, while also reducing the U.S. hosting industry?s ability to compete with foreign competition within our own borders. Further, and of equal importance, weaknesses in SOPA may actually lead to less protection for intellectual property owners by undermining the stability of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). Finally, SOPA undermines the U.S. judicial system?s reputation as a fair and transparent method of resolving business disputes.

It’s getting more and more ridiculous for anyone to suggest that SOPA isn’t harmful to the wider internet infrastructure, when pretty much anyone who knows anything about that infrastructure has come out against the bill.

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Comments on “More And More Internet Infrastructure Players Coming Out To Say How Bad SOPA/PIPA Are”

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46 Comments
ken says:

Re: Pelosi has to protect the California Porn industry

I guess the only supporters of of SOPA are the media and the Democrats they support. Pelosi is losing money because porn pirates are cutting into the revenue of her supporters. It is amazing that there are still industries who haven’t figured out that copying and sharing information is now trivial, ubiquitous, and something most 10 year olds can do. Most industries have changed their business model to the 21st century. Backward industries and uneducated politicians are trying to mess up basic technology. That’s why no mercury can be emitted by a power plant, but you get to break as many CFLS as you want in your house. Obamacare for technology and science 😉

Some Other AC (profile) says:

Re: Re: Pelosi has to protect the California Porn industry

While I agree with the basic sentiment in your post, your attack on a single political party is extremely narrow minded. One of the key players behind this bill(and main sponsor if I am not mistaken) is Lamar Smith, a Republican from Texas(much as this shames a Texas citizen and native).

Both parties are equally evident in backing this inane and utterly useless piece of legislation in addition to the Senate equivalent, Protect IP.

abc gum says:

Re: Re: Pelosi has to protect the California Porn industry

I find it interesting, in a psychological way, when people display the effects of what I will call “political tunnel vision”. The lack of objectivity in their interpretation of the world about them combined with the bias of prejudice results in what others see as ridiculous ranting and bigotry. One could probably write a thesis on this topic.

NothingReally (profile) says:

Re: Re:

I am.

Look, I can “read between the lines” and know enough to say that the majority of those AGAINST SOPA have something to lose other than Freedom of Speech.

Hosting sites are obviously concerned about being shut down for not checking if their consumers are distributing child pornography / illegal content.

The “founders of the internet” is preposterous; Appeal to Authority -__-. Those working on the DNSSEC do have a point, but they aren’t concerned in the slightest over security… that’s just a layman’s smoke screen.

What they ARE concerned about is how much work they’ll have to do to accommodate what the government wants to do.

Just take a second to think here:
DNS Spoofing is more likely to occur over “unsecure connections”, open wifi, tunneling, or anything where a middleman is involved.

Now the ISP’s can be seen as a middle man… but they aren’t going to redirect you. Rather, they’re going to say “okay, this DNS entry is illegal… so we won’t forward the request and send back a 404 error.”

In fact, since the ISPs are the final stop… internet securities don’t really apply. Your ISP is a bit like a proxy… and if a proxy modifies the page content then the internet hasn’t been broken.

As far as the rest of the nonsense… about censorship (as if censoring copyrighted material is illegal), about how 1 illegal item means you can shut a page down (it doesn’t… but if you don’t take preventative measures and those items keep growing… well… that really is YOUR fault as a CONTENT HOST.)

I mean, saying that Youtube shouldn’t be responsible for the piracy that occurs is like saying that a movie theater shouldn’t be responsible for playing downloaded movies (i.e. not paying licensing fees).

YouTube makes MONEY (somehow) from people using it’s service for illegal content…. and that is what this is about.

Unless YouTube were to actually TRY to filter copyrighted material (which they said they don’t want to even though they could) they’re intentionally distributing it and using the DMCA as a cover.

Marcel de Jong (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

And what exactly is it that you think this law will accomplish?

Less piracy?
More security?
Better enforcement of copyright issues?

I’ll bet you 5 bucks that when this law is passed, within 1 or 2 years, Big Media will be back saying “this sopa stuff, it doesn’t stop the pirates, we need more power!” At what point do you think it’s enough?

Music Liberty says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

To play devil’s advocate, how can copyright be consistent
with free speech?

Copyright in its essence is antithetical to free speech.

You have the right to speak and communicate, but copyright place a state imposed limitation on the freedom to speak and the free flow of information.

The only logical conclusion is the one which Rick Falkvinge has arrived at — copyright enforcement is inconsistent with free speech and privacy.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

“Those working on the DNSSEC do have a point, but they aren’t concerned in the slightest over security… that’s just a layman’s smoke screen.”

Do you have any proof of that, or is this just your way of saying “I don’t like what they’re saying so I’ll assume they have ulterior motives”?

“Now the ISP’s can be seen as a middle man… but they aren’t going to redirect you. Rather, they’re going to say “okay, this DNS entry is illegal… so we won’t forward the request and send back a 404 error.”

…which is why people will start using alternative DNS methods. Meanwhile, legitimate sites may be shut down in the same way.

“DNS Spoofing is more likely to occur over “unsecure connections”, open wifi, tunneling, or anything where a middleman is involved.”

Nobody is saying otherwise. Listening to the arguments actually being made helps.

“I mean, saying that Youtube shouldn’t be responsible for the piracy that occurs is like saying that a movie theater shouldn’t be responsible for playing downloaded movies”

No, it’s absolutely nothing like that. I really wish people would at least think about their insanely flawed physical analogies – it took me microseconds to understand the flaws here.

A cinema prescreens all the content it shows, only shows around 20-30 hours of content per week, and uses material sent directly to them by the studios. Many don’t even screen independent product, let alone pirated material.

Please explain how this is in any way analogous to a service that receives hours of footage *every second*, that can come from content owners and infringers alike and is impossible for a human being to prescreen (and a computer cannot be programmed to understand the subtleties of context). Bear in mind that fair use and public domain aspects have to be considered in your answer.

“using the DMCA as a cover.”

Oh, another asshole who thinks that obeying the law is some kind of smokescreen, and thinks that (if the same logic is applied) that the postal service should be shut down because some people use it to send pirated DVDs. Never mind.

Beech (profile) says:

As heart warming at it is to see so many people and companies coming out to support the open web, it’s heart breaking that even if it is defeated this year, next year there will be another bill just as bad, or maybe just a smidge better so as to look less insane by comparison. And if that doesnt pass it will show up again the next year, and again, and again, until the douchebags paying congress for them get their way. Every year they make their demands just a BIT less oppressive so they can say “Well, these other guys just dont want to compromise AT ALL!!!” and every time another bill comes up it will get just a bit harder to mobilize as much support. Look at all the opposition to this bill. Now, if the bill wasnt quite as bad as it is now, how many would be rallying against it? And if it gets brought back again next time, how many of those opposing are going to start seeing it as a ‘boy who cried wolf’ scenario and not take it as seriously? So every time it comes up, the MAFIAA’s position seems slightly less ridiculous, and the defenders will get slightly more apathetic until it finally gets pushed through.

Or it will just get attached as a rider to a completely unrelated bill and snuck through while no one is looking.

But thats the real tragedy of our system, that something so blatantly unpopular can get shoved down the populaces throats just because a monied party demands it.

Actually…the real real tragedy is after they get this bill, they’ll be back asking for even more….

Hephaestus (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

“Though I must admit things are already going much better with SOPA that I expected they would initially.”

I agree with the president sure to sign it into law, after giving platitudes to the people signing the petition to prevent it. It kills two birds with one stone, removing a corrupt Chicago style politician from office, and putting the american version of the pirate party on the scene.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

That is why you should never give them money ever, people who support the end of democracy and freedoms should not ever be rewarded with money.

That is why you should find legal alternatives or pirate things preferably in that order, just don’t ever give them a dime ever.

Eventually they run out of money, it can take a decade or two but they will end up in the gutter.

TtfnJohn (profile) says:

Re: Re:

And just what, exactly, leads you to that conclusion?

DNS hosts nothing, has control over nothing. It’s the road map, if you like, that lets you type in techdirt.com so you can come here and spew drivel without having to type the IP address octect.

That being the case, then I guess you’d want to say the same thing about Rand-McNally for providing a road map you can use to find a crack house or the local Hell’s Angels chapter house. Makes almost as much sense.

DNS is a directory, same as the phone book, something which may also enable you to call a crack dealer, or the pizza delivery guy or whatever else.

DNS is NOT content. It points to it, but it isn’t the content itself. Without it, well, I’d suspect you wouldn’t have found your way here because by complaining about “customers” you’re saying the system is responsible for the domain name/IP address and not the myriad of registrars out there who, therefore, are responsible for what individual sites do, by your logic all of which means that they’re responsible for whoever at the RIAA was pirating content and not the RIAA itself.

Grow up and learn what makes up the internet.

On second thought, just grow up. The rest can come later.

TtfnJohn (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Much as it doesn’t seem that way at times to those who’ve grown up with it or the English common, civil and criminal law model it is far superior to most out there. Compared, say, to places like Russia.

The fact that court is open is radically different that almost any other legal system that deals with business disputes and the fact that both parties get “heard” in that open forum is important.

We may not like judgements, we may not like the idea of juries awarding kazillions to some “big entertainment” company after someone on a fixed pension if found liable and can never pay it off as distasteful but it DOES, mostly work.

Outside of England, Canada, Australia, India, New Zealand, the United States and others who have inherited this way of justice all of this is rare in the extreme. Perhaps only those areas using the Code Napoleon come close.

So be thankful for what we have, as imperfect as it is. And will be far worse if SOPA/PIPA passes passes.

anonymous says:

what a shame that of all those that have changed their stance on supporting SOPA to now not supporting it, very few seem to actually say which corporations/industries the Bill is meant to support, ie, the entertainment industries. i’ll bet there are still a huge number of people that do not realise why this Bill is there in the first place.
if someone is against it, dont just say why you are against it, say which industry is doing it’s damnedest to bring it in (by lobbying, bribing, lying and cheating) and why that industry wants it, ie, to simply protect itself, nothing and no one else!

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