(Updates with CEO interview in second paragraph.)
Dec. 23 (Bloomberg) -- Go Daddy Group Inc. joined Google Inc. in opposing a Hollywood-backed online-piracy bill, reversing its position on U.S. legislation designed to combat illegally copied films and TV content.
“What we wanted to do was step aside and watch other leaders in the technology industry, the position they take, the commentary they offer,” Warren Adelman, chief executive officer of the Internet domain-name and hosting company, said in a telephone interview today. “We were getting customers asking questions about SOPA, expressing concerns” about where the Stop Online Piracy Act could lead.
Google and other Internet companies have said the legislation will encourage censorship of Web content and harms technology innovation. They’re pitted against movie studios, including Time Warner Inc.’s Warner Bros., which are trying to censure non-U.S. websites selling illegally copied films and television shows.
Go Daddy, based in Scottsdale, Arizona, has proposed changes to limits on domain-name filtering, the consequences of “frivolous” claims on the Internet, as well as tweaks to provisions in the bill that protect free speech, the company said in a statement today.
The measure, introduced in October by Representative Lamar Smith, a Texas Republican, would let the Justice Department ask the courts to order Internet-service providers, search engines, payment services and advertising networks to block or stop business with such websites trafficking in stolen content or counterfeit goods.
The bill also would allow private copyright holders to seek court orders forcing payment and ad companies to cut ties with such sites.
Companies aligning with Google will make it harder for Hollywood studios to push the bill through Congress, said Kerry Rice, an analyst with Needham & Co. in San Francisco.
“Go Daddy is a significant Internet infrastructure provider to small and medium businesses and losing their support is a negative,” Rice said in a telephone interview.
Lawmakers on the House Judiciary Committee debated more than 25 of 60 proposed amendments for the bill this month. The hearing will resume when Congress is next in session.
--Editors: Niamh Ring, Jeffrey Tannenbaum
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