I’m sure by now you’ve heard about how the Internet community is in an uproar and ‘revolting’ against GoDaddy, the largest domain registrar on the Internet because they initially came out in favor of the SOPA legislation, only to retract that support because of the stance of the Internet community (you can read about this here). But what’s all the hub, bub?
Why do Hosting Providers Matter?
You see, there are some 20,000+ hosting providers in the United States alone. According to Tier1 Research, Web Hosting as an industry represents a 46 billion dollar global market and it’s growing at a rate of 20% annually. Of that 20,000 hosting providers around 81.4 percent are composed of Small and Medium Sized businesses (SMBs) and as we know from it’s the small and medium sized businesses that make the US economy flow. Contrary to the 80/20 rule, these 80% actually generate the bulk of that 46 billion dollars. These SMB’s also represent a large number of employers that employ high-wage, high-tech employees. By impacting these small businesses, you’ll also impact a large number of jobs. You impact these jobs and well, we all know what happens, we’re living it today due to the financial crash.
What does SOPA have to do with Hosting?
I’m by no means a legal expert or even much of a political expert, but there’s a great website savehosting.org put together by those that are and are also experts on web hosting that really express what the issues are. However, I can give you, my view of the game from where I sit. Basically SOPA will hold service providers (including hosting providers) responsible for criminal activities that happens on their servers. It will put in place a process to respond to complaints that will put great financial burden on these SMB’s, undermines the core principle of our judicial system, due process, and would hold hosting provider liable for damages to content owners.
You see at the core, SOPA will hold any service providers (hosting providers, SaaS providers, forum owners, blog owners, community operators, etc) liable for content that is uploaded by users, so if you purchase hosting space from a hosting provider, publish a blog, a forum, etc and one of your users uploads copyrighted content, then you’re liable for their activities as well your hosting provider. Although you had nothing to do with their illegal actions.
It’s as if, I rent an apartment to you. You decide one day to go rob a bank, bring the money back to the apartment I rent to you and because that money is in an apartment I rent to you, I go to jail! Think about that, you committed a crime, but I go to jail for your crime! Yeah, not cool! (unless of course you were on a beach in Tahiti drinking Mai-Tais with that bag of money next to you when this all went down.. but still not cool for me or your Karma!)