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Statement regarding SOPA

Started by LiroyvH, January 05, 2012, 10:17:15 AM

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Dear users and guests,

As some, and hopefully most, of you will know, a bill was introduced to the United States House of Representatives which is called Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA).
Simple Machines would like to make an official stance on this bill. Whilst you may be used to us being completely neutral on many matters, such as politics, religion and many other aspects, this bill poses such a threat to the entire internet community, including possibly ourselves and yourself as end user of our software, that we figured it was time to raise awareness of the dangers and problems involved with this bill.

While we do wholeheartedly support the primary goal of SOPA, which is to protect innovators and copyright holders from infringement and piracy by malicious persons, the bill in its current form is highly dangerous towards day to day operations throughout the entire internet, even outside of the United States, and may cause innocent people and companies to be prosecuted under the United States law. People and companies may even lose their websites or get cut off from receiving funds from payment processors without due process or any discernible probable cause, as the terms on when such a block can be put in place is very vague.

Let us first tell you a little bit more about SOPA.
The bill was introduced on October 26, 2011 by representative Lamar Smith with 12 initial co-sponsors.
This bill will give the US law enforcement and copyright holders more abilities to block and stop the distribution of copyrighted material and counterfeits. (Note: related acts are PRO-IP and PROTECT IP Act)
However, the way it is handled leaves no room for proper defense.

Some of the main issues with the bill are:
- Threat to online businesses
- Direct threat towards Web hosting companies
- General negative effects to DNSSEC, DNS and internet security in its entirety
- Threat to online freedom of speech, the bill will make censorship very easy
- Destroying of the safe harbors in the current DMCA laws
- Potential criminalization of users uploading content (including jail time!)
- Threat to Open Source software
- Providers can be forced to deploy deep packet inspection to directly target users, which violates user privacy
- Providers can be forced to block internet access completely to individuals
- Search engines will be censored
- Payment providers can be forced to block funding to individuals without a legal process or having to check safe harbors
- DNS systems in the US can be forced to block your access to certain websites, you no longer have the rights to choose what you visit, regardless of whether a site is legal or not!

TL;DR: it will cripple the internet, free speech and free choice throughout the world.

This bill will change the fundamentals of the internet completely. Legal processes that would usually be required to get far reaching measures set in place towards malicious users can effectively be bypassed by SOPA, which means that completely legit users may also be attacked, simply because the SOPA bill has such a broad language inside of it that it can be interpreted in many ways and it leaves no room for payment processors, DNS providers and (hosting) providers to see what is true or false: they have no choice but to oblige. Why? Because when they cooperate voluntarily, they will be immune from persecution. If they do not cooperate because it is unclear: they can be held liable.

You do not have the power to "act in good faith" with SOPA, such as required in the current notice and takedown system of DMCA, primarily due to SOPA's broad language. The bill will allow corporations and the government more power over free speech and provide completely new methods of effectively starting internet censorship for whatever it is they see not fit as being on the internet. (Basically, what a corporation could see as slander, but free speech to the user, could lead to a request for blocks from payment processors and providers by the corporation which will have to be honored within a matter of days.)
Because there are no more safe harbors such as with the current DMCA system, third party and user-generated content providers (such as Youtube, Facebook, Twitter, Google, online communities like our own, and even the SMF websites that you create and use!) will be the ones liable and thus undermines the current legal structures that have allowed some internet platforms to evolve.

Again, let me make it clear that the proposed goal, to protect owners of content (copyright holders) against infringement and piracy, is a very good goal. However, SOPA itself contains many errors that will cause major problems to the functioning on the internet, it will threaten internet service providers and it can be a threat to all of you: the end users of the internet.
For example, your website can be shutdown solely for giving a negative opinion on something, as little as ONE user posting a link to copyrighted content or actually uploading it to your website. Next to that, YOU will run in to big trouble.
This is also why giant internet tech companies such as Google, Yahoo, Facebook, AOL, Ebay, Amazon, etc. are taking a hard stand against SOPA and are even threatening to blackout for a extended period of time to show the world what could happen if SOPA passes.

Please consider all of this well and try to understand the major negative impact this bill will have on the entire internet and especially to potentially innocent users and companies whom merely wish to use their right on Free Speech.
Make a stand against SOPA now! Contact your local Congressional representative, or if you are outside the US, sign petitions that request your government to make a firm stand against SOPA. After all, this can negatively effect all business and individuals all over the world.

For more information, please visit the following links:

To join in, read and see how you can get involved. You may also wish to 'censor' your website.

As part of the protest against SOPA, Simple Machines has decided to move all our domain names away from GoDaddy on a short notice, which is to say: as soon as possible. While we have done flawless business with GoDaddy to handle our domain registration for multiple years, their recent behavior in supporting SOPA, a law that if passed will be in direct conflict with the interests of their clients, is completely unacceptable and we do not feel like we can trust them to handle in our interests any longer. We are aware that GoDaddy suddenly, in response to the major amount of negative messages and many people leaving them, changed their point of view and "dropped" support for the act, such a change can occur again without problems when their larger clients do seem to enjoy the bill. Hence, the trust is gone and we will move.

Thank you for your due consideration and helping put a halt to the enrollment of this bill!
We sincerely hope that you will do all you can to attempt to stop this bill from ever passing Congress!

Thank you.

- Simple Machines Board of Directors
- Simple Machines Members
((U + C + I)x(10 − S)) / 20xAx1 / (1 − sin(F / 10))
President/CEO of Simple Machines - Server Manager
Please do not PM for support - anything else is usually OK.


shame there is no +1 for the post :)


totally agreed, banned godaddy *devil
Me fail English? That's unpossible.


Please be aware of the facts and avoid overly emotional responses.

GoDaddy is just fine as a domain provider. We have no issue with their service in that respect.
In previous years, they donated a large sum to the Simple Machines Forum project.

We have opted to withdraw our business from them as a form of protest against actions and intentions on the part of the GoDaddy leadership which we disagree with.

Please do not PM, IM or Email me with support questions.  You will get better and faster responses in the support boards.  Thank you.

"Loki is not evil, although he is certainly not a force for good. Loki is... complicated."


Great post, couldn't agree more :)

青山 素子

Director, Simple Machines

Note: Unless otherwise stated, my posts are not representative of any official position or opinion of Simple Machines.


Michael Eshom
Christian Metal Fans



Michael Eshom
Christian Metal Fans


yeh only cause I posted it :P

Terrible you removed my post ... im gonna cry now :P


I been aware of this act for a while also. I have taken steps, hoping my voice is heard.

while making liable for damages any copyright holder who knowingly misrepresents that a website is dedicated to infringement.
How do you measure damages, there is no way to measure damages to a site being pulled. Once you pull the site you kill it, visitors that the site once had never come back. Some real, BS in the bill there.

IMHO lawmakers DO NOT have a place on the internet backbone and they should quit trying to modify something they DO NOT understand. They should focus their interest on companies that they think infringe on copyright law instead of missing up the internet infrastructure.

Angelina Belle

Here's a useful discussion of the bill by some law professors.
The first-page summary is a good read:

Law Professor's Letter on SOPA

GoDaddy says it was making efforts to improve the bill, but has since given up on it.

I think it will take a lot for GoDaddy to win back the trust of so many of its customers who have left or who are planning to leave.
Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity. -- Hanlon's Razor



That is not certain yet, but the chances are huge that it will, yes.
That is exactly why we ask all of you to take action :)
Check out the links posted.
((U + C + I)x(10 − S)) / 20xAx1 / (1 − sin(F / 10))
President/CEO of Simple Machines - Server Manager
Please do not PM for support - anything else is usually OK.


I couldn't write a better post. Agreed 100%!
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No-one online is really safe no matter what software you use, be it SMF, YaBB, vBulletin, Wordpress etc if SOPA as is passes,  now like many people in the forum I am not in USA, I am in Scotland, and even I worry what it means for SOPA passing, so even if you are outwith USA, its important that you also stand against it, many of the sites tell y ou how you can contact congress even if you are not from the US.


I have over 40 domains currently hosted at Godaddy. I will be moving them as soon as funds are available.

Thanx for the article CoreISP.  ;)
No, I will not offer free downloads to Premium DzinerStuido themes. Please stop asking.

Angelina Belle

It takes 3 big steps for a bill to become a law in the US
1) Passed by the HR
2) Passed by the Senate
3) Signed by the president.

This bill originated in the HR, and has not passed the HR.
There is time. Contact your US Representative, your US Senator, and the White House.
Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity. -- Hanlon's Razor


Lets get real down to earth.

What do you think of the possibilities of Simple Machines site being pulled. Can you be 100% sure out of over 3 million post, 1000+ mods and themes, that even one of these doesn't violate SOPA. Remember all you need is a link to content that is suspected of copyright infringement as defined by this law.

What will be the value or compensation given back to Simple Machines which isn't in it for money. How can they give back to lost development time and even worse give back to the community that had to do without? How do you measure that in money? But this wouldn't effect Simple Machines only, but the entire community here, from the mod community to technical support. IMHO people will loose interest in Simple Machines and will sadly have to find a alternative solution. Even when Simple Machines comes back it will be dead in the water, no community involvement and lost time.

Like my previous post, you pull a site you kill it.


nend no-one is disagreeing with you.  It is important that everyone stand against SOPA in its current format.