SOPA/PIPA may harm the data center industry

Published on 19th January 2012 by Yevgeniy Sverdlik

While Internet companies and a few major hosting providers have been vocal about their opposition of two pieces of legislation currently in front of US congress, saying the bills have the potential to harm the very things that caused explosion of the Internet, major data center providers in the US appear to have decided to sit this one out.

 
DatacenterDynamics received no comment on the issue from Equinix, Digital Realty Trust, DuPont Fabros and NTT America.
 
In brief, the two bills (SOPA in the Senate and PIPA in the House) aim to address content piracy issues, but their opponents say their language is so heavy-handed that the unintended consequences of passage of one of them would be damaging not only to further development of the Internet but also to the Internet as we know it today.
 
Here’s a post by Google’s chief legal officer David Drummond, outlining the damage PIPA and SOPA have the potential to do.
 
So this seems to be about content ownership/revenue fights, freedom of information and online security. If it’s all about content, should the data center industry care?
 
Rackspace CEO Lanham Napier thinks they certainly should.
 
“The data center industry derives its growth today from the growth of the Internet, so any piece of legislation that impacts the growth of the Internet is going to have direct impact” on the growth of the data center industry, Napier said in an interview with DatacenterDynamics.
 
If passed in its current form, the legislation will have a negative impact on the data center industry within the US, he said.
 
Rackspace has been working with congressmen to address the most problematic pieces of SOPA and PIPA over the past several months, he said. “This is really the first piece of work like this our company’s been engaged in.”
 
Fighting online piracy, Napier admitted, is hard work and is complicated, and the more stakeholders participate in the process, the more chances there are for successful outcome.
 
“The more voices and brains we have engaged on solving the problem, the better off we’re going to be,” Napier said.
 
Some of the work has already paid off, with current version of SOPA losing support of major backers in the Senate. Republican senator from Florida Marco Rubio pulled his support for the bill on Wednesday morning, a step that was promptly followed by John Cornyn, a Republican senator from Texas.
 
Developments in Senate came on the same day as a number of major internet properties either discontinued their services for the entire day or posted messages of protest on their homepages. They include Wikipedia, Reddit, Wired, Google and many others.

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