Anti-piracy: less support offered for SOPA
The list of SOPA supporters has been trimmed. Numerous sites have been removed including registrar Go Daddy.
In the United States, debate around the proposed SOPA laws (Stop Online Piracy Act) continues to rage. SOPA’s aim is to reinforce measures available to block sites that infract copyright laws, notably making such sites responsible for the content that they host.
The law allows rights’ holders and the US government to request the legal system block (at the DNS level) all domain names and web sites that are considered as illegal. To do this, registrars, web hosts and search engines are requested to remove all references to the in question sites. Advertising networks and online financial services should also cut off all financial resources provided to such sites.
This proposed law raised a number of concerns in relation to freedom of speech, the host’s rights and even the foundations of the digital economy. Opponents railing against the law includes Mozilla, Facebook, Twitter, Kaspersky, Wikipedia and even Google.
For Wikipedia co-founder, Jimmy Wales states in The Telegraph that some of the request that SOPA demands will "force web sites which provide content generated by users to implement additional restrictions or constantly monitor their activity".
When questioned at the beginning of the month by LePoint.fr, Executive Vice-President at Google, Eric Schmidt, stated that he believed that the law would "penalise due to the fact that links to content hosted on other sites could contain pirate material". He continues that he is worried about the Internet as "if we start to delete parts of the Internet, it’s very easy to continue, deleting other things just because we don’t like them".
For Eric Schmidt, who mentions such laws infringe on freedom of speech, this would lead to a situation similar to that seen in China with "parts of the Internet being inaccessible to users". He also considers that the suggested methods like blocking DNS are easy to get around for real criminals.
Less support being seen
Opponents to SOPA seem to be winning judging by the list of supporters displayed on the US Chamber of Congresses proposed law website (PDF), with certain participants no longer being present. In the space of a week, supporters have dropped from 150 to close to 130.
Among the notable defectors is registrar Go Daddy who had previously supported SOPA. They have done an about face since tens of thousands of domain names previously hosted by the site decided to move to their competition. Jimmy Wales had for example indicated that since Go Daddy was Pro-SOPA, that all Wikipedia domain names would move elsewhere.
Go Daddy therefore decided to reverse their position (last week) publishing the list of supporters on their web site on Tuesday to prove that they were no longer supporting this proposal. Go Daddy CEO Warren Adelman nevertheless declared that they would "continue to fight online piracy at all levels" while calling on a better law proposal to gain the support of the Internet community.
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