A Horrifying Real-Life Example of What Might Happen if SOPA Passes

SOPA GoDaddy

You’ve probably heard about SOPA by now. SOPA is a bill that, if passed, would allow private companies (i.e. the movie and recording industry) to obliterate sites from the Internet, merely by making an accusation. For an example of the dangers of such a law, a post by the founder of Weebly is a must-read. Weebly is a web service that allows users to create their own sites using a drag and drop interface. The service hosts millions of sites. In 2009, the site was hosting over two million sites, and all those sites almost went dark thanks to a complaint by one business.

David Rusenko tells a story about getting a call from the abuse department at GoDaddy, Weebly’s registrar, informing him that GoDaddy had removed the DNS entries for weebly.com from its system, and that the changes would become effective in 10 minutes. After pleading his case, GoDaddy reversed the changes, and the websites were spared.

What prompted this? One of the millions of sites hosted by Weebly had featured a bad review of a local business, and that business had complained to GoDaddy. Similar to how SOPA would work, GoDaddy acted upon an accusation. If Rusenko hadn’t answered his phone, that accusation, with no due process, would have taken Weebly and all of its sites offline. As Rusenko discussed in his post, the “trial and sentencing” under SOPA would work much the same way, as it is carried out by corporations who don’t care about the damage they cause for their misfires.

This fight isn’t about copyright. Unfortunately, there are are those in the anti-intellectual property crowed, who want everything for free, and are fighting SOPA on those grounds alone. They detract from the more compelling reasons for the fight. SOPA is bad, regardless of your stance on intellectual property, because of the destruction it would do to the Internet.

To help combat SOPA, visit American Censorship or Fight for the Future.

GoDaddy: A glimpse of the Internet under SOPA | david.weebly.com [via Webmaster-Source]

Evan Kline

Hello, I'm Evan. I write about tech from my perspective – that of the average 40-something tech geek. You can also find me on Twitter and at my real-life job as a lawyer.    MORE ABOUT ME.


  1. What Google would look like if SOPA passes: http://i.imgur.com/Nrt7B.png

  2. Evan, thanks for a great post! I’ve been indifferent (based on laziness mostly), but that is some scary stuff. Indifferent no more.

  3. Pls. don’t insult whores.

  4. Well if it passes then say goodbye to internet. Until few days ago Godaddy was supporting the bill. After more than 2600 complaints from their customers, they stopped supporting the bill. As long as we all stick together and fight then these stupid bills will not pass. But if we don’t do anything about it, then say goodbye to your freedom. If you have an account with a company that is supporting the bill, contact them and complain.

  5. This is scary. I understand this side. I read and interesting blog about how untrue comments by competitors have ruined businesses.

    One such comment almost cost my business and my wife’s teaching job.

    Just sounds like some adults are acting like teenagers and the only way to correct it is punish everyone.

    Truly sad!

  6. While I believe that there should be a form to “protect” copyright infringements, I think that the way the SOPA as it looks, may seriously hamper the overall efficiency of the internet… It comes to a point that I have to think if when writing a post, I can or can not use say the word “Apple”..

  7. ACTA 2.0 is like a backdoor way to enact SOPA. ACTA had move forward in Europe despite protests.

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