ADOTAS – There’s been a tremendous amount of ramalama over the past two days surrounding SOPA (the Stop Online Piracy Act), ever since the U.S. Chamber of Commerce released a list of over 100 ostensible business supporters of the act. Thing is, the Chamber had included names of businesses that had voiced support for the idea of an act to reduce copyright infringement on the web as well as businesses that support this particular act. Of course, those two aren’t the same thing. One of the more controversial points of SOPA as it exists is that the bill allows an ISP to block a domain in its entirety if it happens to be hosting somewhere some kind of content that may be seen as a copyright infringement. Predictably, internet companies have seen this as potentially troublesome, if not outright threatening. And right now, with the release of this list, dozens of companies are publicly saying they don’t agree with the bill’s particular provisions, and they want off. (Some opponents: Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, AOL, Foursquare, PayPal, Twitter, Tumblr, Zynga, Craigslist, 4chan…)
And yet, GoDaddy initially voiced its support, saying in a statement to the U.S. House of Representatives that there’ “no First Amendment concern, [and] the notion that we should turn a blind eye to criminal conduct because other countries may take oppressive steps in response is an affront to the very fabric of this nation.” This didn’t sit well with meme-market colossus Cheezburger Network, whose CEO, Ben Huh threatened to move its thousands of domains elsewhere and asked Google to reconsider its own relationship with GoDaddy. And today, GoDaddy’s had a change of heart and it wants off the list, too. “We can clearly do better,” CEO Warren Adelman said in a press release that affirmed GoDaddy’s commitment to “the idea of First Amendment Rights” and “security and stability of the internet.”
Meanwhile, the Chamber had done something analogous regarding law firms: They’d compiled a list of ostensible supporters, drawing from firms that had deep experience in entertainment law. You can see where this is going. TechDirt reports there’s been outcry from firms demanding their names be removed from the list, saying the list drew from names signed to a letter supporting one analysis of the act, not the act itself. Those firms include Morrison & Foerster, Davis Wright Tremaine, Irell & Manella and Covington & Burling. Really, this isn’t a trick you can just pull with lawyers.