GoDaddy dinged in Hollywood’s anti-piracy war

Hollywood’s never-ending battle against online piracy has a new victim today — GoDaddy.com, the world’s largest registrar of Internet domains.

"The enemy has been sighted off the port bow Capt. Disney."

"The enemy has been sighted off the port bow Capt. Disney."

Everyone’s heard of GoDaddy, perhaps best known for their sexist (not sexy, as Spinal Tap might say) commercials aired during the Super Bowl featuring women in small shirts.

Thursday, opponents of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) are boycotting GoDaddy, which was one of the few tech firms to support federal legislation that would require Internet Service Providers to block connections to torrent search engines and other sites that assist in the illegal distribution of copyrighted films, music and other content.

The boycott has already cost GoDaddy thousands of customers. One company pulled more than 1,000 domains from GoDaddy already. Still, GoDaddy controls 45 million domain names, four times more than its closest competitor, so it is unlikely elephant hunter and company founder Bob Parsons will be taking a pay cut.

The boycott threat did make GoDaddy swap sides, however.

SOPA is not a done deal. Congress is expected to take up the measure in January. It’s a political hot potato if there ever was one.

One one side of the issue you have what has been called “old media” — the politically powerful but financially faltering movie and music industry.

Opponents of SOPA read like a who’s who of the Internet. Google, Facebook, Twitter, Craigslist, eBay, Mozilla, Yahoo, AOL, and LinkedIn wrote a letter to key members of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, saying SOPA poses “a serious risk to our industry’s continued track record of innovation and job creation, as well as to our nation’s cybersecurity.”

Google co-founder Sergey Brin said Dec. 15 that SOPA would “censor search results” and put the U.S. on par with “the most oppressive nations in the world.”

Yahoo quit the U.S. Chamber of Commerce over the organization’s enthusiastic support for SOPA. Google is considering it.

So far, at least $91 million has been spent on lobbying efforts to assure SOPA’s passage, according to the non-partisan Center For Responsive Politics.

Meanwhile, viral songstress Leah Kauffman has let her feelings be known with the release of “Firewall (Don’t Let Our Government Ruin The Internets).”

What happens next? No telling, but when it comes to stopping copyright violators, perhaps that pirate ship has already sailed.

28 comments Add your comment

Mason

December 29th, 2011
1:15 pm

Maybe if the “artist” weren’t so greedy we would have to download their “work” for free.

Lulz

December 29th, 2011
1:37 pm

Mason, I think by “artist” you mean “media conglomerates.” Artists, musicians especially (unless you’re the likes of Kanye or Lady Gaga), get literally pennies for their work with studios taking the rest.

RC

December 29th, 2011
1:41 pm

This legislation is alarmingly over-inclusive and would do more harm than good. This what you can expect from industries whose lobbyists once tried to make VCRs and MP3 players illegal.

Darvoset spending

December 29th, 2011
1:45 pm

The US talks a good game about freedom and liberty, but when it comes to protecting capital, all of our supposed freedoms are pushed aside.

Please Expalin

December 29th, 2011
1:47 pm

Would someone explain to me the difference between “Pirating” a movie online and “Stealing” it off the shelf in the store? Either way someone is not getting paid for something they produced.

It does not matter what value YOU put on a movie, and I agree 99% of them are worthless, but it’s a product someone produced and they deserve protection. How is stopping you from “Stealing” is not “Censorship”

Billy

December 29th, 2011
1:49 pm

I loved napster 10 years ago, and used it, but wrong is wrong.
Material is copyrighted for a reason, to provide compensation to the artist. If they sign a deal where they get pennies, a deal’s a deal.
A dollar a song for a download is reasonable, but my preference is for older songs to cost less. Only the newer songs should go for a dollar. It’s a no sale proposition, otherwise.

Please Expalin

December 29th, 2011
1:49 pm

How is stopping you from Stealing Censorship.

Steve

December 29th, 2011
1:54 pm

Stealing is stealing. Plain and simple. Car companies are greedy Mason, does that give you the right to go steal a car off the lot and drive it around for a few weeks?

Having worked for a software firm, I can tell you that piracy affects the average people working at these companies more than the big money folks at the top. Yes, the big money folks lose money as well, but it doesn’t hurt them to go from 10 million to 9 million nearly as much as it hurts the 15-20 people who lost their job. The only other alternative is for big-wigs to drive up their prices to still turn the same profit due to lost sales .. thus hurting the average consumer.

I think it’s pathetic the way common theives make this out to be a privacy issue. You are all PATHETIC LITTLE PARASITES on society, taking from those who try to earn a living. Stop trying to make yourselves out as good people.

Gay Raul

December 29th, 2011
2:01 pm

It’s not about stealing. Read the Bill. It gives corporations broad censorship powers. Say something that Disney doesn’t like, they call you a pirate, your site goes down. Youtube could host something pirated and the whole site could go down. Under the DMCA they are protected under safe harbor rules. They’re notified that the site contains infringing material and youtube removes it. Under SOPA youtube could be shut down. This isn’t about theft. It’s another government / corporation power grab.

Mason

December 29th, 2011
2:02 pm

There is a difference from car companies marking up the sticker price by a grand to feed their families, it’s another thing to demand 25 million instead of 10 million to act. As for the music side of it that is a little different but if their music is good enough people will still pay to see them live and buy their stuff.

RC

December 29th, 2011
2:04 pm

Stopping people from stealing is a fine objective. This article doesn’t articulate HOW they are attempting to go about stopping the theft from taking place. Comment sections on an online article are insufficient place for teaching someone the intricacies of this proposed legislation, because it sounds like you have no idea what this legislation will allow our government to do. Or perhaps you think due process is dispensable.

NotYou

December 29th, 2011
2:12 pm

@Steve, a few things. Who has lost their job due to a piracy issue? Please state specific examples.

Also, it is hard for me to believe Google, Yahoo, Facebook, Twitter, and eBay are “pathetic little parasites”. If you haven’t noticed, they pretty much set the course for technology development moving forward. But, working for a “software firm”, you already know that…I think. Very few people will disagree that stealing is stealing. However, this act is far reaching and well beyond what you are talking about-which is why you see so many large companies on board.

crackbaby

December 29th, 2011
2:13 pm

What is illegal or immoral about the concept of a library, contributed to by individuals? (as opposed to those run by governments or universities). If I let you borrow my CD or DVD to listen or watch, its cool. But if I do it electronically its stealing?

Why can’t I create copies of recording that have only the songs I want to hear, in the order I want to hear them (rather than the published order and the crap that fills most “albums”).

I have contributed thousands of dollars to software companies like Microsoft, who refuse to speak with me and sell flawed product that is in constant need of updates.

In my lifetime, I have purchased many copies of the same album / cd only to have to buy another when the first wears out.

Intellectual “property” is questionable and should be highly scrutinized. What is dangerous is allowing the media and software conglomerates to drive this legislation, with over $91 spent to date on lobbying.

Maybe these copyright holders should adapt new revenue models to adapt to the 21st century, like the newspaper industry, etc….

Keep a close watch on the votes on this bill – those who support it should be targeted in their next election cycle.

crackbaby

December 29th, 2011
2:14 pm

Fred Richards

December 29th, 2011
2:26 pm

I agree with quite a few of the comments on here. Piracy is not right, and it should be stopped. But this SOPA law is not the proper way to go about it. It’s about censorship, and political figures making laws about technology that they hardly understand. This is about our corrupt government bowing to the whims of a few large corporations and media conglomerates. In fact, this is a prime example of IP (intellectual property) law abuse. We need proper IP, patent and copyright law reform in this country, but bills like SOPA really do threaten to put our country on par with oppressive regimes. It’s a slippery slope folks, it starts with this, but where does it end?

(o.O)

December 29th, 2011
2:37 pm

First I’m hearing of the CEO being a elephant poacher. Not only am I not setting up the accounts I had planned to over the weekend, but I’m pulling all that I do have currently. What a asswipe! Every time I’ve spoken with a GoDaddy rep they’ve come off as a condescending douche. Obviously, this confirms that it is a trickle down culture. Buh-bye NoDaddy of mine. Deuces!

Please Expalin

December 29th, 2011
3:24 pm

@ Mason – As far as I am concerned they can “Demand” 1 Billion to act and if the consumers want to pay it, the so be it. The consumers of Movies are at fault for these outrageous fees the actors and actress get. Until people start tell them we will not pay your prices, $10.00 or whatever is costs to see a movie these days, they will continue to get it. More power to them, they do NOT get my money.

What they make still does not give you the right to steal it, just the right to tell them they are not worth it and do NOT give them your money.

Gob

December 29th, 2011
3:38 pm

No mention of Reddit?

☺☻

December 29th, 2011
3:44 pm

How is stopping you from “Stealing” is not “Censorship”

It’s not ever really about that. It’s about controlling the internet and preventing the public from using as they see fit.

“Piracy” and such hot-button issues like that are, I’m willing to bet, and excuse for the long-term plans like censoring which websites you can visit, which have nothing to do with piracy.

It is a terrible, terrible proposition for those of us willing to actually think about the long-term effects. Do you REALLY think it will stop with “piracy”?

If so, look at China.

But then again, there are always lemmings who are willing to support anything. Fortunately most of us know better and won’t let that happen.

Bring the kids

December 29th, 2011
3:48 pm

Most of the people on here don’t realize this bill will do more harm than good. Do some research before you ignorant A## hats open your mouths. I’m sure you also read the 2500 page health reform bill that is now being called unconstitutional buy every judge in the United State. If you don’t know what you’re discussing STFU and don’t vote for christ sakes.

B&C Headlines

December 29th, 2011
4:01 pm

[...] dinged in Hollywood’s anti-piracy [...]

Tom in GA

December 29th, 2011
4:25 pm

A lot of powerful companies, individuals, politicians, et.al. have learned that catch phrases will convince individuals to support things that aren’t in that individual’s best interest. We do things “for the children” even though the intended good might carry consequences of creating selfish, self-centered brats. We support “equality for all” even though the intended good destroys institutions and social structures which themselves do a whole lot more good.

A rather unholy alliance formed by media and cultural entities working with politicians have created a bill that supposedly “prevents theft and supports artists”. In reality, as many have noted, what it does is give tremendous legal power to entertainment companies that will reverberate throughout the marketplace and an average American’s daily life. The artists won’t be any better off and piracy will take new forms that only show greater contempt for the rule of law (and regardless, entertainment corporations like Sony, Disney, and others will continue to make tremendous profits).

Bad Metaphor

December 29th, 2011
4:26 pm

For those claiming anti-SOPA is pro-piracy, let me proffer a metaphor for what SOPA would do so maybe you can see why we’re against it.

let’s say someone robs your house. you then hear a rumor that they may have put your things that they stole into a safe deposit box in a suntrust. so you tell the government this and – without looking into it at all – they close every single suntrust and freeze all of their assets until suntrust can prove that your stolen goods *aren’t* in their safe deposit box.

obviously, theft and piracy are wrong. but that doesn’t make SOPA right. and that’s without delving into issues of false copyright claims or the silencing effect this legislation would have on the internet.

Steve

December 29th, 2011
4:41 pm

Mason, sorry but an actor who can get $25M for his/her services is worth $25M and I don’t begrudge that person accepting not a penny less for those services. I certainly don’t go around looking for an employer who will pay me less nor do I offer to discount my labor. Maybe you do.

In any event, stealing is stealing. If an artist or media company can command particular prices for their wares, then that’s what those wares are worth. If they cannot, either they drop the price or go out of business. It has nothing to do with your definition of “good enough” and getting enough people to pay to make up for the parasites stealing. Justifying stealing by saying “enough people” will pay so the artist or people who work at jobs producing, packaging, marketing, and managing that artist’s work is morally lazy.

Matt

December 29th, 2011
4:42 pm

Great article, and thank you AJC.com for spreading the message about the SOPA / PIPA its intent. The fact that internet service providers like AT&T, Verizon, Comcast and so on can actually block access to certain websites is almost ludicrous that it border-lines China’s access blocking.

Shaye

December 29th, 2011
5:35 pm

Anyone who doesn’t see that SOPA would be like building a secong Great Firewall is not paying attention. It has very little to do with pirating, the way teh legislations is worded, which is way too overly broad. Yeah, it sucks that people ’steal’ movies and music, but guess what–most of them probably wouldn’t pay for it anyway. And yeah, I’m a musician’s wife, so I know exactly how much musicians make from their record sales–next to nothing. Wake up, Hollywood and RIAA, it’s time to change a failing business model, not run around screaming like a bunch of little girls about the dirty, dirty thieves.

Darvocet spending

December 30th, 2011
1:02 am

I bet this bill is championed by conservatives–the same ones that will turn right around and talk about the importance of smaller government.

This really seems like the one of the last gasps of the old media. Movie revenues hit a 16 year low in 2011, and this year marked the first colossal failure of a Disney animated feature (Mars Needs Moms). Still, the old media doesn’t understand it is the dinosaur of tomorrow and will play a decreasing role in entertainment–along with reduced profits.

The scariest part is how ignorant Washington is about technology. Listen to Congress members talk about the internet. It would be hilarious if it wasn’t so terrifying. That’s how we ended up with the DMCA–it was essentially written by the old entertainment media and thrust upon completely clueless lawmakers (of both aisles), but piracy has arguably escalated several orders of magnitude since then.

Remember when the MPAA and RIAA sued thousands of people in court for sharing music and movies? They realized it was costing them too much and have given up that approach in the last year or two. Likewise, SOPA is a terrible law that will do little to stop piracy, but essentially sets up corporate governance of the internet. Horrible, horrible idea.

BTW: if it wasn’t obvious that GoDaddy’s CEO was a douchebag from the commercials, it should be now.

Aqua Bubble

January 25th, 2012
11:02 pm

Hello, I love to find out more about this subject. Thank you for writing this.