Gets Crushed by Supporting Domain Seizure Policy

Written by:
Alejandro Botticelli
Published on:
GoDaddy SOFA, one of the largest registrars, has bowed to pressure from consumers and changed its support of the controversial Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA).

Also known as H.R. 3261, the SOPA bill was introduced in the United States House of Representatives on October 26, 2011 as a measure to help abolish online trafficking in copyrighted intellectual property and counterfeit goods by providing U.S. law enforcement and copyright holders with the ability to seek court orders against websites.  This would include barring online advertising networks, payment facilitators and search engines from doing business with specified websites.  In the case of search engines, they would be prohibited from linking to such sites while Internet service providers like would be required to block access. 

Opponents of the act say that it infringes on First Amendment rights, will result in Internet censorship, and has the potential to cripple the World Wide Web as we know it today.   Additionally, opponents claim that whistle-blowing and other free speech stand to be severely undermined.  And then there are those who believe the measure will be used to expand into other industries, such as online gambling.  Over the past year, the US Government has seized over a dozen Internet gambling related domain names.  Many have speculated that websites such as and eBay could ultimately be targeted as a result of SOPA., which has bowed to pressure from law enforcement to turn over domain names belonging to Web gambling sites, had initially supported the SOPA measure, but that all changed on Friday after losing more than 28,000 domains over a 48 hour period.  A poster on called for people to move their domain names away from Godaddy, scheduled December 29th as the day to do so.

While the number is significant, it should be noted that received more transfers in over that period than the number leaving. 

The growing consumer boycott claimed the following in regard to

Enemy number one on the list appears to be GoDaddy, with Redditor’s organizing a day (Dec. 29th) for GoDaddy customers to transfer their domains away from the registrar. We’ve discussed GoDaddy’s bizarre support for the law in the past — including the fact that, under the original definitions of SOPA, GoDaddy itself qualified as a “rogue site” since it recommended people buy domains violating the trademarks of lots of big companies. Of course, it’s also notable that GoDaddy recently hired a top lawyer… whose previous job was in “IP enforcement” for the federal government.

Warren Adelman, Go Daddy's newly appointed CEO, issued the following statement on Friday:  "It's clear to us the bill's not ready in its current form," Adelman said Friday. "Looking at this over the last 20 hours, we're not seeing consensus in the Internet community, we're hearing the feedback from our customers."

Prior to GoDaddy’s change of stance, even Wikipedia cofounder Jimmy Wales had threatened to pull the popular website domain from GoDaddy.

The Wikimedia Foundation was "really glad" to hear of GoDaddy's reversal on SOPA, said Jay Walsh, communications director there. "SOPA is an attack on the free and open Web," he said. Projects like Wikipedia need an open and free Web to thrive and function."

The House Judiciary Committee held hearings on SOPA on November 16 and December 15, 2011. The Committee is scheduled to continue debate when Congress returns from its winter recess.

- Alejandro Botticelli,

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