The bill now before Congress would do more harm than good. We’re working to get it amended, so it can target online thieves without hurting innocent users of the Internet.
By Lanham Napier
To read our latest on this issue, click here.
Part of the professional code of physicians is that, when they’re treating a patient’s ailment, they should “first, do no harm.” I wish more members of Congress would follow that rule. Instead, in the name of policing the online theft of intellectual property, key lawmakers are pushing a cure that’s worse than the disease.
I refer to the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), now awaiting a final vote in the House Judiciary Committee. The authors of the bill say their goal is to crack down on websites that traffic in stolen movies, music, software, and other intellectual property. That’s a goal that we at Rackspace share. But we’ve studied the SOPA bill closely and conferred with experts in our company and elsewhere in the technology industry, and we believe that it would not achieve its stated purpose. Foreign IP thieves, in particular, could find ways to evade the law.
Meanwhile, SOPA would require that Rackspace and other Internet service providers censor their customers with little in the way of due process, trumping the protections present in the current Digital Millennium Copyright Act. What’s more, the SOPA bill would seriously disrupt the Domain Name Service that is crucial to the smooth operation of the web.
The SOPA bill, as it stands, is a deeply flawed piece of legislation. It is bad for anyone who uses the Internet, including Rackspace, the more than 160,000 business customers that we serve, and the tens of millions of retail customers that they serve. It is bad for job creation and innovation.
We at Rackspace oppose SOPA in its current form.
We have been working diligently with members of Congress and their staffs in an attempt to amend the bill. Last week, I traveled to Washington to meet with key members of Congress and their aides, urging them to slow down, take the time to understand the basics of the industry that they propose to regulate, and get this legislation right. We’re continuing to work with those lawmakers over the holidays.
In the meantime, I have asked Rackspace employees to contact their representatives and tell them of the harm that the SOPA bill, as written, would do to our customers and employees, and more broadly to the Internet and the economy. I urge everyone reading this post to do the same. If you’d like to learn more about the SOPA bill, I suggest you read the articles at the links listed below. And please let me know your thoughts on this vital issue.