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ServInt, GoDaddy, SOPA and the Fight to Save the Internet

In the wake of a well-publicized boycott campaign against GoDaddy, hosting providers are racing to try to come up with their stances against SOPA. I am proud that we don’t need to do that. Our stance on SOPA, its sister bill PIPA, and the bill from whence they both came COICA, is well known. We have spent much of the last year not just railing against these bills but trying to do something about them.

The well-intentioned goal of SOPA is to go after piracy, which is noble and very important. But piracy is something that needs to be handled smartly, with a laser-focus. SOPA isn’t a laser, it’s a wrecking ball that if enacted is likely to destroy hard-working legitimate businesses more frequently than it does pirates. SOPA allows people merely accused of ‘contributing to infringement’ to have their business taken from them. Pirates will maintain back-up plans in case they get their resources pulled – it’s legitimate businesses that will suffer most. SOPA will be used for censorship and as an anti-competitive tool. It will stifle innovation, and is one of the most dangerous bills I have seen in my two decades in this industry.

At ServInt we don’t really sell consumer-grade products. We provide services to businesses – innovators – and we’ve done so for 17 years. Our clients expect exceptional service from us, and we work hard to make sure they get it. Our goal is to win people over by being the smartest hosting provider out there – and part of being smart is looking out for looming threats and making sure that our customers don’t hit any unforeseen icebergs. We saw the COICA/PIPA/SOPA iceberg looming long ago.

Since then we’ve been trying to enact change and raise awareness. Our COO, Christian Dawson, was instrumental in founding the Save Hosting Coalition to engage Congress about bills like these, and to attempt to find a better way to address piracy. Through this group, Christian has accomplished a lot – meetings with key Congressmen regarding the flaws of SOPA and PIPA, hundreds of signatures of powerful business leaders on petitions opposing this legislation, a National advertising campaign against the bills (Attack of the Internet Killers), and a press conference outside the doors of the first SOPA judiciary hearing, protesting that no representatives from the Internet industry, save a nontechnical representative from Google, were allowed to testify.

Christian has been meeting with Senator Ron Wyden’s staff, as well as those of Sens. Cantwell, Moran, Warner, Ayotte, Blunt & Heller. He is meeting with Senator Moran’s staff once again this week to go over the alternative “OPEN Act” authored by Sens. Cantwell, Moran, Warner and Wyden and Representatives Lofgren, Chaffetz, Campbell, Doggett, Eshoo, Polis, and Issa. The OPEN act isn’t perfect, but its authors are listening when the SOPA authors are not. Christian is engaged in a long conversation with Rep. Chaffetz about SOPA and OPEN.

We believe in doing more than making statements around here; we believe in action.

As far as GoDaddy goes, they have done the right thing and pulled their sponsorship of SOPA. Their official removal from the supporters list just went through.

Good for them! We do not, and would not, support a boycott of a fellow Internet infrastructure provider. That being said, we welcome them to the side of those who oppose SOPA, and hope that they will engage with the rest of our industry to find better solutions to piracy than SOPA that will protect an open Internet, and American innovators.

One more note – PIPA, in the Senate, is no better a bill – so when lobbyists start spinning that they’ll give up on SOPA if the ‘kinder, gentler’ PIPA can pass, don’t buy it. It’s a ‘bait and switch’ tactic. We can do better. And ServInt is fighting to make sure we do.

Reed Caldwell is CEO and Founder of ServInt, an innovative web hosting provider that helps businesses grow. He formed the company in 1995 and had something like SOPA existed then, it likely would never have gotten off the ground. Reed offers the coupon code ‘KEEPTHEINTERNETOPEN’ to any innovator who wants to come see what smart web hosting is all about.

 

About Reed Caldwell

Reed Caldwell founded ServInt in 1995 as one of the first web-hosting companies to offer a managed, dedicated server solution. As CEO, he has built ServInt into one of the world's most successful, privately held Internet providers. His passion for innovation drives ServInt to develop effective hosting solutions to help ensure its customers productivity and profitability.


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