Welcome SOPA Refugees

We have seen a massive surge in signups (something like 15x usual) over the past couple of days and I think most people can figure out why.

Welcome to all of the people voting against SOPA. (If corporations are people, and money is speech, I think that means spending is voting. I may be hazy on the details.)

Since it shot straight to the top of the “frequently asked questions” list: yes, we oppose SOPA.

However, we have been a lot more calm about it than most people might think. Here’s a forum post from about it from December 15th:

SOPA doesn’t really change anything vis-a-vis us. It’s more directed at retaliating against sites hosted outside the US’s traditional jurisdiction by messing with their DNS and payment mechanisms.

SOPA is a bad law, poorly written, that should not (and probably will not) see the light of day. Like all laws of its type it will be susceptible to abuse (see also PATRIOT act, DMCA). But I think its critics are doing the world a disservice by overstating both the chance and imminence that it will pass and the scope of it. “Death of the Internet predicted” is a meme with its roots in antiquity at this point, and the Internet is still here. Dumb laws threatening the Internet get proposed every year.

In this case, it’s hard to get too excited, because the guy behind this bill (who is bought and paid for by Hollywood despite being from Texas) may be dead set on getting it through the house, but Ron Wyden is dead set on killing it in the Senate. One guy can’t force something through the House. One guy can stop a bill in the Senate.

If you’re in the US, by all means, contact your Congresscritter and tell them SOPA is a bad law that puts too much power in the hands of self-interested copyright holders, giving them every incentive to overreach and shifts the consequences for doing so unfairly onto the victims of mistakes and misuse. Tell them to bury it.

My impression is that certain groups are using this to panic people to raise money, and I don’t like that at all. Don’t give into the panic. Read the bill yourself. Follow its progress. Express your opinion to your elected officials in a way that shows you’re speaking from knowledge not some scare campaign. Then relax. (For now.)

Although I hear from the most recent signup messages that changing stance on SOPA is now all the rage, we’re going to stand by our previous position. SOPA sucks, it’s a bad law that will almost certainly not get passed, and the right course of action continues to be to calmly monitor developments and take thoughtful, judicious action where appropriate to make sure it doesn’t stage a comeback on us. In my opinion, getting tabled in the House until after the break is a signal that SOPA’s chances are weaker than ever. However, there probably will be another opportunity to keep a boot on its neck in the spring if Lamar Smith (R-Hollywood) decides to revive it and see if people have stopped paying attention.

That’s why we’re staying very calm about it. It’s important not to let all the opposition burn too hot and fast now. Even after it finally dies in 2012, it (or something like it) will be introduced in 2013. When they wear down the opposition, they’ll pass something.

There does seem to be a current of “sign up with us to show your support for SOPA!” marketing going on. I can’t really get behind that either. If you want to change away from a provider that does support SOPA, by all means, please do. But please don’t sign up with us for any reason other than “I want pay-as-you-go do-it-yourself web services from people who care!” I mean, sure, we are recurring monthly supporters of the EFF, and they’re leading the way on responsible opposition to SOPA, so if you squint it sort of looks like signing up with us helps fight SOPA. But we do that anyway, and we won’t pretend it’s not in our best interests to do so. If you want to show your opposition to SOPA, by all means, sign up, but also consider joining us in donating to the EFF. They’re doing an excellent job with it and the many other issues going on right now that mustn’t fall through the cracks.

If you want to do more, and you’re from the US, find your Congresscritter and tell them (calmly and rationally) why it’s important. I don’t mean mail/fax/email, I mean show up. They’re up for election next year. They’ll be out and about. Show them you care enough to be there, and that you’re watching them. (And, of course, be calm, friendly, and very well informed.)

Please also keep in mind that the giant print at the top of our home page says “We Host Web Sites” not “We Sell Domains.” We are first and foremost a web host, and our domain registration is designed to meet the needs of our web hosting customers. We do not have domain registration feature parity with Go Daddy or any other full-service registrar. We would love to provide domain registration service to you, even if you don’t host sites with us, but please review our services and make sure we offer what you need.

Thanks everyone!

PS: Also, in case it is relevant: I do own guns. I do not shoot elephants.


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  1. This is why I picked NFSN, you guys are always up front and straight with us. I think I can say on behalf of me and the community we love you guys, and we hope your around for many, many, many, many years to come.

    Comment by Andrew Paolucci — December 24, 2011 #

  2. I think I’m seeing a typo somewhere in here. While I don’t really have all the time in the world to read up on what SOPA is or whether it’s bad or good for the ‘net (or whether it’s something I use every morning to clean with, just misspelled), I think somewhere you got “support _for_ SOPA” and “support _against_ SOPA” confused. I can’t name the place exactly (I’m typing this on the fly), but it was in one or more paragraphs near the end. Anyway, see if you can fix it, or drop me a reply if I’m the one whom is mistaken. And thanks for being a great webhost!

    Comment by Nathan Zhang — December 25, 2011 #

  3. You were right. I fixed it. Thanks for pointing it out! -jdw

    Comment by jdw — December 25, 2011 #

  4. I saw that go daddy lost 21,054 domains due to their (now redacted) support of SOPA and I wanted to join the fun. Also I’ve registered all my domains with NFS except this one I did with go daddy because the domain registration at NFS wasn’t working that day and I needed to purchase the domain. But it’s all transferred now. Thanks for keeping me informed.

    Comment by Damien Otis — December 25, 2011 #

  5. Congress needs to take a reality pill!!

    Comment by D Wenger — December 25, 2011 #

  6. […] more about SOPA on Wikipedia, and find out why it’s not a good thing. Also, here’s NFS.net’s official stance on SOPA. This entry was posted in Internet, robinadr.com and tagged domain, GoDaddy, NearlyFreeSpeech, […]

    Pingback by Domain Moved to NearlyFreeSpeech ‹ robinadr — December 25, 2011 #

  7. Signed up after people were batting around registrars in light of GoDaddy– not to transfer a domain, but to get into tinkering with websites. Love your attitude!

    Comment by R W — December 26, 2011 #

  8. I feel cleaner now that I’m done with GoDaddy. Wooopie!

    Comment by Erik — December 27, 2011 #

  9. In the words of one of the guys who back in the day made signing up for Twitter worth the effort:

    “Meant to buy 1 domain at GoDaddy; receipt also shows 3 yachts, a skank in a tanktop, and 11 yrs of “WebPlus+ Turbo SomethingSomething™.”” —Merlin Mann

    Comment by Thomas N. — December 27, 2011 #

  10. I discovered NFS when I was 14-ish and used it to host a personal website. Like the first comment said, I love how you guys are always up front, not one “in-your-face advertisement”, simple interface, friendly support staff and good prices.

    You guys will definitely keep my business, I simply love NFS. I’m also proud to put a little NFS link on each of my websites.

    Comment by Max M. — December 28, 2011 #

  11. […] regard to technical issues, outages (rare!), and beliefs and policy. Their recent, level-headed blog post about SOPA is no exception. It’s a great read, especially for people hunting for a web host who will […]

    Pingback by A word about my host — NearlyFreeSpeech.NET | BRHFL — December 29, 2011 #

  12. I too felt dirty with GoDaddy’s support of SOPA, so I came clean with NFS and support what you do.
    Nice to be home.

    Comment by P Trick — December 29, 2011 #

  13. Jesus.

    If I didn’t already support NFS.N, I sure would after reading this message.

    Talk about being on the level with your customers…

    Keep it up, JDW et al.!

    Comment by Rob — January 5, 2012 #

  14. […] First, a few more words about SOPA from my gracious host at NearlyFreeSpeech.net just in case you’re hazy on the details… […]

    Pingback by Day 2: Another word about SOPA, and the Tetragrammaton « Corion Foundation — January 13, 2012 #

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