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Paul Graham: SOPA Supporting Companies No Longer Allowed At YC Demo Day (techcrunch.com)
1742 points by ericflo 1350 days ago | 272 comments



The House Judiciary supporters list is chock-full of lawyers -- one-seventh of the list has the string 'LLP' -- and therein lies a major target of opportunity for the technology industry. I doubt anyone will change their counsel over this, but they can make them explain their position.

Let every tech industry CEO, CFO and board member call their most senior contact at a supporting firm. Ask them to explain their position, ask them to explain how this _won't_ break DNS, how the precedents set here won't spread to other policy questions or countries. Don't get into balancing one industry or another -- just make them demonstrate a reasonable layperson understanding of how the internet works. The last thing a partner wants is to sound less than informed on the core technologies in their industry of expertise. If nothing else they'll have to go to school on the question.

No doubt many such partners will say they get it but the firm is larger than they are. And that's the point of a law firm, isn't it, you hire one because it provides quick access to expertise on a wide variety of subjects. But if that larger firm doesn't understand the tech business, just how prepared are they to handle technology problems in various corners of the law? Ask the M&A guy, the financing guy, the tax guy, to explain how SOPA won't break DNS.

I don't know where tech billings compare with movie and recording industry. But they aren't small: M&A, financings, patent, etc etc ad nauseum. Beyond that, the network and technology are the core of how business and industry are changing. Maybe these firms stand to gain from SOPA over the next five years. But can they, can the individual partners, afford to misunderstand the technologies that will be driving more and more clients over time? Get on the phone, not to argue, but to make them understand that they are showing an ignorance that could leave them behind.

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I was extremely alarmed to see our firm, Davis Wright Tremaine LLP, on that list and immediately emailed my attorney (a partner) about it.

Turns out two of their attorneys agreed to lend their names AS PRIVATE INDIVIDUALS and made it clear their support was in no way representative of the views of the firm. Despite that, DWT got added to the list.

Incredibly dirty move on the part of Rep. Smith.

DWT has tweeted about it (http://twitter.com/#!/DWTLaw/status/150019649130606592) and tell me they are working to get their name removed from the list.

Edit: fix link

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Update: ALL the law firms have been removed from the list.

http://judiciary.house.gov/issues/Rogue%20Websites/List%20of...

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Excellent. That's a few down. I think the next one to focus on should be the Entertainment Software Association. It strikes me that, like the BSA, many of these companies would only have agreed to support some broad, generic, fight against piracy and not SOPA in particular. Let's put the pressure on them to withdraw their support.

Also, the UFC might be a good target. I know Joe Rogan has spoken out against SOPA, so he might be a good place to start.

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I have to wonder about the various state and local organizations on the list. Do mayors and state chief information officers really have a position on SOPA?

Maybe the SOPA opposition lobbyists can reach out to these organizations and find the details of their "support", and whom these groups really represent. Then maybe tech industry types can reach into whatever state and local connections they have to have conversations with the state / local officer represented here. If those supports are soft, and a couple of folks call from the field to ask what's going on, they too may melt off the list.

EDITED TO ADD: Don't know the industry, but entities with showbiz relations may be feeling pressure from the studios to be supportive. They need licensing deals with the studios, no? Pressuring them to choose sides might not be productive -- might be enough to urge them to offer nothing but transparently pro-forma support.

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Your best bet would probably be to get the unions to pull back support. But doing that will be hard.

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Zero probability, for most of them, as they're employed by the movie industry. They're worried about erosion of their wage base, and (on this matter) their relationships with the studios.

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Turns out two of their attorneys agreed to lend their names AS PRIVATE INDIVIDUALS and made it clear their support was in no way representative of the views of the firm. Despite that, DWT got added to the list.

Riiiight.

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I believe them. Once upon a time I worked as a legislative aid in the WI State Senate. I saw this type of thing happen a few times where some overzealous lobbyist or staffer fudged the list of supporters for some controversial legislation. Predictably it always resulted in a gigantic shitstorm. Beats me why they try to get away with it in the first place.

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Count the number of law firms' names on the list here: http://www.scribd.com/doc/76341338/SOPA-Supporters

Now count the number of private individuals listed.

I think lawyers are supposed to know the difference between personally supporting something and a company taking a position.

Somebody here is l-y-i-n-g and, sure, maybe it's not the law firm. But the system as a whole doesn't get to just pass it off on the tired old "overzealous junior staffer" routine this time.

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And now count the number of firms:

http://judiciary.house.gov/issues/Rogue%20Websites/List%20of...

Zero.

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Que bueno.

Might be worthwhile for someone to send out a press release with a before / after strikeout showing the shrinkage. Makes people ask what else have the SOPA folks exaggerated.

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Well done!

I bow to you sir.

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If the legislation doesn't pass a certain threshold of controversy, they probably get away with it.

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More info: http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20111223/09051617180/law-fi...

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When law firms have trouble, the common man can expect Kafka experience

Imagine your company name appears there days before some meeting with pg

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It would be brilliant. It would mean if you were a tech company or involved with tech, that you would steer the hell clear of any offical/unoffical/private/corporate endorsment of any crazy laws.

If some legislator asks for your "private personal support" for some crazy anti-internet law, you might remember this and not tell them anything, for fear that they'll list your company.

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Before we go off half-cocked here, let's take a minute and ask ourselves how good a plan that relies on lawyer's being embarassed to have to argue both sides of an issue can be?

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Firms do not usually take stances on legislative matters their own. SOPA's passage significantly benefits firms' activity levels and in turn the revenue produced in the furtherance of protecting their clients' rights. While outward facing corporate positions may take a neutral or negative stance on SOPA, many overt and implicit stances are taken by their respective counsel. SOPA claims made via premptive cease and desist letters or active litigation may or may not claim SOPA in their position statements to prevent drawing clear relationships between their clients and SOPA. Most agreements come with gag clauses to further protect and guarantee the cat doesn't get out of the bag. Unfortunately, firms are notoriously good for keeping secrets, so I am not expecting Wikipedia like bombshells connecting brand X to SOPA support.

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All though I sympathize with your argument, it seems to be based on "reasoning". Reasoning is the one thing this government/industry ins't interested in.

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""If these companies are so clueless about technology that they think SOPA is a good idea, how could they be good investors?""

That is a brilliant point.

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I've seen the argument: if someone is so clueless about rationality as to be religious, how could they make a good scientist? And the "answer" is: nevertheless, there exist religious people who do good science.

So I'm not convinced by the argument here. It makes too many unstated assumptions.

I support this boycott, and this argument might make good rhetoric, but I wouldn't use it directly to evaluate investors.

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> I've seen the argument: if someone is so clueless about rationality as to be religious, how could they make a good scientist?

That's because the underlying assumptions are false. Being religious doesn't require one to be "clueless about rationality" and supporting SOPA doesn't requre the supporter to be clueless about technology -- they may as well hope to benefit from breaking the Internet.

As every regulation (the more severe, the better) it will give an advantage to established companies over startups and newcomers, maybe even allow the former to became gate-keepers of the Internet business; DMCA allowed for attempts at censorship (silencing criticism by claiming trademarks), SOPA will take it to a whole new level; supporting SOPA signals loyalty to the entertainment industry; etc.

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Of course, if a company is hell-bent on killing startups, there is also no reason to invite them to Demo Day, even if they understand technology well enough to know how to kill startups.

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Being religious doesn't require one to be "clueless about rationality"

Absolutely correct. You don't have to be clueless about rationality to be religious; you can also explicitly reject rationality, even though you understand it.

But if you don't reject it, then it's quite difficult to accept any of the Big Three religions and simultaneously convince yourself that you're embracing an evidence-based worldview. That's not to say a few haven't spun up enough cognitive dissonance to manage it, but it's exceedingly difficult and rare.

And as a rule, yes - to someone of the current generation, it does cast serious doubt on someone's scientific abilities when it comes to light that they are religious, especially since it's no longer as socially unacceptable to reject religious beliefs.

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> But if you don't reject it, then it's quite difficult to accept any of the Big Three religions and simultaneously convince yourself that you're embracing an evidence-based worldview.

Every worldview is based in faith. The very act of considering any evidence requires trust (faith, if you will) in the value of input provided by our senses. There is no and there cannot be any evidence for that value either way.

Best we can do is analyze reasons for our beliefs, keep them logical, and consistent with experience. Which, coincidentally, is one of the meanings of the word "rational."

> And as a rule, yes - to someone of the current generation, it does cast serious doubt on someone's scientific abilities when it comes to light that they are religious

That's normal and OK -- we all hold a (pretty large usually) number of conscious and unconscious prejudices. So much for evidence-based worldview btw.

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> Every worldview is based in faith.

This is just religious apologetic and it's not really true.

This is the definition of faith in this context:

> Mental acceptance of and confidence in a claim as truth without evidence supporting the claim or disregarding all evidence to the contrary

Religion is explicitly not based on evidence, and is explicitly not disprovable. You believe something despite no evidence, that is faith. Believing something as a best guess based on what actual evidence you have is not faith.

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Hume, who was certainly no religious apologetic, would differ.

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That's interesting, do you have a particular source in mind that I can read more?

My very limited knowledge is only that Hume was fairly critical of religion and that it wasn't really clear if he was a complete atheist because if he were any more hostile to Christianity than he was he would have been persecuted. Maybe I am assuming too much about the person I was replying to, but it sounds to me like he is defending Christianity as an equally defensible way to live your life, so I don't think invoking Hume here is actually supporting his argument.

It's worth clarifying that my claim is that I am trying to claim that faith is a subset of belief. That you can't possibly know anything for sure is incompatible with Christianity and all current major religions, and to act like making conclusions based on evidence with confidence levels is the same as saying you know Absolute Truth Just Because is clearly absurd.

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The best original source is probably An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, though it covers much more than the point I'm talking about. The point I'm talking about is that, according to Hume, there's actually no reason to believe that the future will continue to be like the past. Without this premise--which must be accepted without evidence--empiricism is broken. A basic treatment of Hume's argument is available from the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy here: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/hume/#CauIndInfNegPha

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You are doing this:

http://www.nizkor.org/features/fallacies/appeal-to-authority...

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Please. Your comment isn't helpful or productive; I am simply referring to an argument rather than rehashing it myself, as you can see from the follow up thread. If you want, you can follow that thread and learn some good philosophy. It would certainly be more enlightening than a smug link to a logical fallacy site.

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I've worked with brilliant and rational-when-it-comes-to-work researchers who happen to be sincerely religious.

I'd be more concerned with a scientist who happens to be convinced that he is destined to make great discoveries. (which, delusional or not, may inspire them to feats greater than otherwise). My concern would be for their intellectual honesty - the same concern caused by any strong religious or other ideological precommitment relevant to their work.

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Your religion-hate is false, and consequently your original argument too.

Rationality, correctly understood, values tradition. The correct attitude for progress is piecemeal reform. That need not start with religion. It should start wherever people's most pressing problems are. If someone's religion isn't ruining his life, but he has other stuff to deal with (a failing marriage, a startup, a scientific discovery he wants to make) then he isn't irrational to focus on that other stuff and leave the religion alone for now.

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It's rational to recognize tradition - it's a huge millstone around the necks of those who engage in it and changing their minds will be much harder because of it.

But tradition itself is only valuable to cult leaders.

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>> they may as well hope to benefit from breaking the Internet

Another good reason to turn them down.

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I agree (both with you and jackowayed). It also definitely is an admirable move on pg's part.

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That's why the Jesuits both benefited from teaching religion and from controlling education and knowledge in several countries in the past.

> Being religious doesn't require one to be "clueless about rationality"

Not necessarily, but it surely opens a window for irrationality, and what goes through that window depends on the stuff that happens to you.

That's usually called 'the call from God' and it is generally something bad like sickness or a the death of someone close.

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> nevertheless, there exist religious people who do good science.

Considering that 95% of the National Academy of Science is atheist, the correlation is still pretty relevant.

Clueless people can be successful investors, luck is always a factor, but someone who supports SOPA probably lacks a certain technical background or ethics.

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>Considering that 95% of the National Academy of Science is atheist, the correlation is still pretty relevant.

Since the Academy elects its own members there might be some bias lurking in that number.

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In USA, a scientist is three times more likely to be an atheist than the national average. (It used to be more but ahteism became more prevalent in the last decade).

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There are, by definition, no good scientists who allow their religious beliefs to dictate their science. Some religious people are able to separate their personal irrationality from their professional rationality, and that's just fine.

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By what definition? There are quite a few historical scientists who made great discoveries, who very extremely religious too. Newton comes to mind.

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A more recent example would be this fellow: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Georges_Lema%C3%AEtre

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An even more recent example is Francis Collins [1], who directed the Human Genome Project.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Francis_Collins

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There is no place in the scientific method for belief without evidence, which is what faith is; faith forms the basis of religion.

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Wrong. In the New Testament, faith means assurance based on a reliable track record. It's the Greek word "pistis" and the two terms - faith and assurance - are used interchangeably.

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" Then Jesus told him, "Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed." --John 20:29

This verse has always struck me as directly anti-science.

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When was the last time you saw a top quark? Yet you surely believe in them because other people "have done the work" to prove they are there.

There is no doubt faith is different than science, but I think this particular example doesn't capture the real difference. Honestly, I'm not sure how I would qualify that difference, beyond (good) science will change in the light of new evidence. Faith often requires modifying how one interprets evidence so it fits within one's religious views.

I've also met people whose faith stands parallel to science. In that case, changing understanding of the physical world doesn't impact the spiritual world. That is where I try to be.

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I am a fan of Rational Wiki's definition of faith. Essentially, it is something that you can use to back up the belief in something. Evidence is also something that you use to back up a belief. You can more or less plug in either of them, but evidence has clear advantages.

http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Faith

This article explores thoughts on faith that I don't agree are useful, but the opening sentence is the most useful definition I've seen.

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In this specific context, Jesus was talking to Thomas - though the other apostles had told Thomas that Jesus had returned, Thomas did not believe until Jesus came to him personally. So the verse isn't promoting "blind faith," it's criticizing those who insist on a direct revelation before being willing to accept the truth. I don't think it really applies to science (at least not empirical science), and it is definitely not anti-science.

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Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. If a bunch of disciples of a religious figure claimed that he had risen from the dead, is it really the virtuous thing to accept these claims without any evidence?

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No indeed, it wouldn't. But there is considerable evidence for the event, some would say overwhelming. There are multiple eyewitness accounts written by different people, sometimes using the same sources, sometimes different ones; disinterested Roman and Jewish historians make mention of it and hostile sceptics of the day mock it as offensive (which of course it is - and still is :)). At no point was this movement stopped in its tracks by the simplest means possible - producing a corpse - and even more incredibly, subsequent claims by followers were conducted in the full glare of publicity, to the point of including famous personalities of the day, even a Roman emperor. If you're going to start a new movement based on a lie, you don't generally include people who have the power to nix your claims in a heartbeat. Not only that but the claims often cost those who were making them their lives. Despite that, it was able to subvert the Roman empire in just a few hundred years.

Archaeology confirms in minute detail that the historical journeys of the early missionaries were as described and one of the authors is called the finest historian who ever lived. Copies of those documents date back to just after the events they described and centuries of banging on them and subjecting them to the closest scrutiny shows that they are as they say they are. Other ancient literature is meager by comparison. We have a handful of copies of Tacitus dated 800 years to a millenium after the events he describes yet no-one sees him as unreliable. Copies of the NT documents number in the thousands, some of which are carbon dated to a few decades after the fall of Jerusalem and all of a sudden they're questionable. Uh huh. Well, we can chuck out most of Roman history and all of Alexander the Great by that yardstick then.

Just what sort of evidence are you looking for?

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Sorry, I was unclear. I was referring to the position of Thomas in this story, not asking the question of people now.

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OIC - sorry about that :)

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Considering that Thomas had personally seen said religious figure perform miracles and that said religious figure had told Thomas that he would return from the dead in three days, yeah it is.

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Esoteric definitions of faith have little use in standard discussion.

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Well quite. Lets see a prominent example of what the NT documents actually say since we are talking about a Koine Greek word that is used fairly often in them (nearly 250 times IIRC).

Acts 17:31 διοτι εστησεν ημεραν εν η μελλει κρινειν την οικουμενην εν δικαιοσυνη εν ανδρι ω ωρισεν πιστιν παρασχων πασιν αναστησας αυτον εκ νεκρων

πασιν is clearly used here as assurance - not some blind belief in nonsense. You don't understand Koine? Then why is your opinion worth anything in "standard discussion"?

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Well duh - I meant to say πιστιν is used as assurance not πασιν. That will teach me to be snarky at 3am...

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You can edit your comments...

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I know but I deserved that :)

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If the "esoteric" definition is the one used by religious people, then it has a great deal of use in discussing the thought processes of religious people.

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I see no evidence to indicate this is the popular working definition of faith for the religious.

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I mean no offense, but that's probably because you're not religious. But most of us have had experiences we interpret as God having taken care of us, and instances where even when we suffered pain, it seems like someone was looking out for us and making sure stuff turned out well.

I phrase this conservatively because I'm aware of the possibility of assigning motive to events that were actually "happenstance", assuming there is such a thing. But others would phrase it much more aggressively: "I have faith in God because of all the things he has done for me." If they can't, they probably should, in fact, re-evaluate their faith.

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"I mean no offense, but that's probably because you're not religious."

I was. Believe me, I was....

Anyway, if you ask someone "How do you know god exists?" and they respond "Because I have faith." or whatever, they are not using the "assurance based on a reliable track record." definition. Prior track record of what? God existing?

In actuality, people use faith to describe the reason they believe in things despite no evidence. When they believe that they have "evidence" the answer to the question tends to be something along the lines of "I _know_ that god exists because...".

I find it hard to believe the majority of religious people are even aware of that greek word/meaning.

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> Prior track record of what? God existing?

Prior track record of his doing things in their life. My point wasn't the greek word, but that most people believe they have evidence of God's actions. I guess I may have overreached a bit, but I don't hear "just because" answers very often.

> When they believe that they have "evidence" the answer to the question tends to be something along the lines of "I _know_ that god exists because...".

Whether that's valid depends on what's in the ellipsis.

As for believing in spite of evidence, all I can say is that that's not what religious faith is supposed to be. The Bible tells us to be able to give reasons for our faith (1 Peter 3:15), and that it's useless unless backed up by actions (James 2:14). However, I have noticed that sometimes expecting Christians to pay attention to the bible is a foolish assumption...

My working definition for a while has been believing/acting on what you know to be true even when it feels or seems like it's not true, or when it's hard to act on it. It's about the same kind of faith that keeps me basically sane while tracking down a heisenbug in a program: faith that despite what it seems like, the computer really is behaving in some consistent way. Similar is the faith of a scientist that weird behavior will eventually be explainable by rational means, like that neutrinos going FTL will have some mundane explanation. Sometimes it seems like there's contradictory evidence, but if you stick it out it turns out ok.

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> When they believe that they have "evidence" the answer to the question tends to be something along the lines of "I _know_ that god exists because...".

Whether that's valid depends on what's in the ellipsis.

Yes, it does, but I've never heard any filling-in of the ellipsis that suggests even the most remotely possible evidence for a virgin birth, resurrection, or the fact that some fatherly figure is watching over us at all times and has given us the Christian Bible as his True Word. A bible, I might add, that presents a lot of seriously morally questionable beliefs as mandatory laws.

However, I have noticed that sometimes expecting Christians to pay attention to the bible is a foolish assumption...

Most of the horrible things that even the worst Christians think, say, and believe are directly justified based on statements from the bible.

Similar is the faith of a scientist that weird behavior will eventually be explainable by rational means, like that neutrinos going FTL will have some mundane explanation. Sometimes it seems like there's contradictory evidence, but if you stick it out it turns out ok.

That would be a fine comparison if it was ever the case that any phenomenon in the observable universe had an explanation that required God as described in the Christian Bible, and couldn't be explained by mundane rational facts. IMO, this is not proven or even suggested by the evidence at hand.

If you feel that personal experiences fit that bill, then you're of course allowed to think that, but realize that it's completely rational for anyone that doesn't place such a high prior probability on Christianity's truths to assume that you're merely delusional.

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If you haven't, I would recommend you read "A Case for Christ" by Lee Strobel. He was a journalist and hardened atheist who came to believe in Jesus after interviewing dozens of people about historical evidence for the deity of Jesus, from a variety of angles.

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You best be joking...

http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/The_Case_for_Christ

Or, more comprehensive and much more damming:

http://www.bidstrup.com/apologetics.htm

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What I am saying is that in practice/reality, a religious person will more often than not use the word "faith" iff they don't think that they have evidence.

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There's no reason why one cannot have faith and leave it out of their scientific work.

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>"There is no place in the scientific method for belief without evidence"

I'm not a professional scientist but as a wannabe theoretician I can't concede how this can be correct. Indeed I think it needs to be wrong often in order for experiment to progress from theory.

I'd warrant that the LHC was only built because those theoreticians at the forefront of physical advances in particle physics at Fermilab and CERN (and wherever) felt that, despite not yet having the evidence, that nonetheless the Higgs boson (or other particles like the Chi_b (3P)) would be found.

Moreover often one adopts a first hypothesis because one is convinced of the truth of that position without a rigorous proof; obviously empirical method then steps in to affirm that belief.

Yes beliefs can be found to be false, but they can also be confirmed.

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Ideally, one adopts a hypothesis specifically to prove it false, not because one is sure it is true. Even if you believe it before you run an experiment on it, you do so provisionally, without putting "faith" in it, because you know you might be forced to discard it. This is not the faith in science you are looking for.

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I've generally found that the expected mechanism comes first; an opposing hypothesis to falsify comes after. With complex scenarios it's can be necessary to develop in depth the consequential outcomes before one can find something that can readily be demonstrated empirically.

How do you determine otherwise which experiments are worth performing. We don't have infinite resources.

For example. Einstein published his theory of relativity in 1916 having worked, apparently, on it for 8 years. Do you suppose he worked on it because he believed it false? One of the outcomes of the theory was then first observationally confirmed by Eddington's observations of an eclipse in 1919.

Up until 1919 Einstein and other's put much faith in the theory by using it to model reality without knowing if it's predictions would be observed without falsification.

I'm all for Popperian falsification as the modus of formal scientific advance but on an individual level it appears to me that those who work for many years on unconfirmed theories are often believing in the truth of those theories without empirical confirmation.

>"Even if you believe it before you run an experiment on it, you do so provisionally, without putting "faith" in it, because you know you might be forced to discard it."

Moreover, it strikes me that one could not put faith in anything (the love of your mother say) if it were prevented by the possibility that later evidence would force you to discard it. That statement also appears contrary to the illustration I've given concerning GR too.

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I think that is from some unrealistic picture of a scientist that probably comes from a standardized public school science curriculum. It seems to be an "ideal" that no one lives up to, and so when otherwise-uneducated people meet real scientists who obviously don't live up to it, it probably gives "scientists" a bad name to them. This irritates me, so I shall try to state my view, which I think is a better vision. (It more accurately describes real people; however, you said "ideally", so that objection doesn't apply; however, I think yours is, further, the wrong ideal.)

Usually, one adopts a hypothesis as an attempt to understand the world, which is usually an attempt either to satisfy one's curiosity or to better direct one's efforts. Then one tries to test the hypothesis to see whether it's true, hoping on the one hand that the world can be easily understood or that one's plans can be easily fulfilled, but on the other hand not wanting to be burned by investing intellectual or physical resources into false beliefs.

Attempting to falsify possible hypotheses is one method of trying to get at the truth, but by no means is it the only one, nor is it always the best one; e.g. when the main challenge is coming up with a good theory (e.g. relativity; heh, the sister comment gave the same example), you will not get there by trying to falsify hypotheses (it might start you out by showing that existing mechanics is wrong, but it won't help you come up with relativity). It seems that a focus on falsifying hypotheses would be mainly useful when you're given a lot of hypotheses from untrustworthy sources--or, at least, sources who aren't good at doing the kind of fact-checking that you can do.

I'll give an example from earlier this evening: I'm waiting for the new Plinkett review video to come up on redlettermedia.com (I expect it to appear sometime tonight), and instead of repeatedly manually checking the page it'll show up on (which I would otherwise do), I want to write a shell command to check it for me (currently checking every 30 seconds). I decide on this method: Use curl to get the text of the webpage, save it to a file, and compare it to a previous version using "diff"; if the files are different, then that hopefully means the new review has been posted.

However, I know that some websites will generate unique things for every visitor--maybe increment an "N people have visited this website" counter or display the current time or something. I don't want this script to give false positives, so I check. I use "diff -u" to compare two versions downloaded within a few seconds of each other. And the result:

  $ diff -u a.txt b.txt 
  --- a.txt	2011-12-22 21:46:21.000000000 -0800
  +++ b.txt	2011-12-22 21:46:27.000000000 -0800
  @@ -630,5 +630,5 @@
   
   <!-- AddThis Button Begin -->
   <script type="text/javascript">var addthis_product = 'wpp-261';
  -var addthis_config = {"data_track_clickback":true};</script><script type="text/javascript" src="//s7.addthis.com/js/250/addthis_widget.js#pubid=wp-4ef415ac6fc54e51"></script></body>
  +var addthis_config = {"data_track_clickback":true};</script><script type="text/javascript" src="//s7.addthis.com/js/250/addthis_widget.js#pubid=wp-4ef415b30f55534b"></script></body>
   </html>
Looks like it generates some unique token per visitor. Ok, I use "grep -v data_track_clickback" to remove that line, and now consecutive versions of the page are completely identical. I write up the loop and run it.

What did I do here? I hypothesized that consecutive versions of the page would be identical until the new review was posted; I hoped this was true, because then my shell command would be easy to write. However, I knew there was a chance it wasn't true, so I investigated and found that it wasn't; I then modified my hypothesis/filled in an alternative hypothesis (I had foreseen the possibility and what I would do about it), that "consecutive versions of this page piped through grep -v would be identical until the new review was posted". By design, this hypothesis passed the test that the previous one failed; I stopped investigation at this point and simply acted as though it were true.

This further hypothesis could have been wrong: as I wrote this comment, I realized it could have displayed the hour, or even the day, and then it would give a false positive but wouldn't do so until somewhat later. Also, it could be that my "grep -v" command would remove another line that would eventually contain the new post; I thought of this but deemed it unlikely and didn't bother investigating it. (So far tonight the script has correctly given negative results; this level of certainty was good enough for me.)

How does this fit with your narrative? I didn't adopt my first hypothesis specifically to prove it false. I did, at least, proceed quickly to test it and to prove it false. But then there was my second hypothesis. I definitely didn't adopt that one specifically to prove it false, nor did I even try to falsify it.

Perhaps you would say, well, you're not acting as a scientist. Perhaps not; I have a definite goal in mind, getting a script to work, and I'm interested in the truth only insofar as it helps me. Well, except that I'm also interested in practicing my skill at automating things, and in understanding webpages and other aspects of the real world so that I can automate them and do other things with them.

Fundamentally, we want to know things because we have some use in mind for the knowledge, or because figuring things out has been useful in the past and so it's associated in our minds with a positive feeling (some of which is probably evolutionarily hardwired into the brain), or because we want to exercise our skills (which, again, has a probably-somewhat-evolutionarily-hardwired positive association in our minds). I think that anything that could be called "pure" research, done without practical results in mind, falls into one of the last two categories. (I also think that even if your research's only purpose is to develop technology, when you are actually doing the research, your brain will work best when your overriding emotion is curiosity.) My point is, science is not divorced from the real world, but fundamentally dependent on it; and if your ideal of science is so divorced, then attempting to reach your ideal (which is the point of an ideal) will eventually bring you misery. Exactly, in fact, the way that a false belief will: holding X as the ideal of Y is believing that the best possible Y is X.

Scientific publications in different branches of science have different standards of evidence. Why? Because of the real world; because in some fields, experiments are expensive and difficult to conduct, and the main experimental tool in some fields is statistical studies that inevitably have some uncertainty. The standard for publication is, ideally, "Would the other scientists find this useful to read?", and when they can't do better than "The null hypothesis would cause this to happen with <5% probability" plus a plausible explanation plus documentation of what they did, that sort of thing passes the standard of publication. Does this make such investigations not science? (Some might say yes.) No. Science is the attempt to understand the world; any paper made with that intent that helps other scientists in their own attempts is a good scientific paper. (A paper that accidentally helps scientists could be called evidence or inspiration.)

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Close enough to science for me. My only point to the GGP was that you don't really put any "faith" in your hypothesis until you've done some testing.

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>you don't really put any "faith" in your hypothesis until you've done some testing. //

In building the LHC we put about $4 billion of faith in the experiments producing results without knowing that they would.

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On the contrary: the principle that natural laws will be the same in the future as they have been in the past, or that they are the same in one place as they are in some other faraway place, must be accepted without evidence as a premise of the scientific method.

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There is evidence for that however. Like that the emission lines from distant stars and galaxies are the same ones as in our own solar system and here on earth (but red shifted). If the laws were not the same everywhere, you must introduce a god that make it look that way, or otherwise explain how it can appear like the laws are the same everywhere without actually being so.

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There is only evidence that the laws of nature have been consistent in all past observations, but actually it's only an assumption on our part that future observations will continue to be like the past. This point is generally credited to Hume.

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Only because their discoveries and religion didn't conflict. There is zero room in doing good science for faith.

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He however, must have rejected at least some parts of the Bible, and had a particular customized belief.

Like the part that says Pi is 3.

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And some, such as Galileo in the case of heliocentrism, tie themselves in knots trying to reconcile the observable world with their faith.

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But we're not talking about just any odd collection of investors. As I understand it, Y Combinator specifically relates to Internet-centric business models.

SOPA seems wholly destructive to this sector of the economy.

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Nevertheless, it is conceivable that a company could support SOPA while making good investments in the tech industry. Maybe they don't think SOPA will pass, and they want future business dealings with the RIAA.

But that's not really the point, which is that whether or not they're good investors, they support something harmful. We're not boycotting them because we think they're bad investors. (If we thought they were bad investors, why did we do business with them in the first place?) We're doing it because they are allied with our enemies and we want to hurt them for that.

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Nevertheless, it is conceivable that a company could support SOPA while making good investments in the tech industry.

Yes, it's conceivable.

We're not boycotting them because we think they're bad investors.

That would be reason enough for me.

If we thought they were bad investors, why did we do business with them in the first place?

Perhaps you weren't aware of this aspect of their decision-making process.

We're doing it because they are allied with our enemies and we want to hurt them for that.

Meh. I think a much stronger position is:

We depend on a free Internet and a stable DNS and are just not going to do business with those who try to jack around with it. - and - If you don't "get" why net censorship and ISP domain blocking in particular are spectacularly dumb ideas then you probably aren't in that top tier of cluefulness that we're wanting to recruit.

These are two independent positions that compliment each other well I think.

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I think it depends on what you mean by "good investor".

If you invest in tobacco, land mine manufacturers, and semi-competent toxic waste disposal facilities, you might make a mint. That would make you a good investor in the sense of profitable.

However, no entrepreneur in his right mind would take money from people like that, because they wouldn't be good investors in the sense of being supportive of a long-term effort to build a sustainable business in a healthy ecosystem.

So I'm with PG on this one. Anybody internet entrepreneur should be very suspicious about money from a SOPA supporter: partner, investor, or acquirerer.

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Minor tangent here that's not relevant to your main point - what exactly is wrong with trying to dispose of toxic waste in a "semi-competent" manner? Lead, mercury, asbestos, and all those other freaky things have got to go somewhere. Shouldn't you be more pissed off at people generating that waste?

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Competent waste disposal is great. Totally incompetent waste disposal is bad, but those jerks tend to get caught quickly. The semi-competent ones are able to appear adequate for long enough that they can create giant messes. They can also undercut the people doing it right, creating a race to the bottom.

And no, I'm not necessarily pissed off at the people generating the waste. Heck, water's dangerous unless properly handled. As long as people using toxic substances pay the full lifecycle cost there's no negative externality so that's jake by me.

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I think we should keep them where they belong; in children's toys imported from China.

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Semi-competent disposal results in semi-containment of toxic waste. Competent disposal results in full containment of toxic waste.

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I think semi-competent there was probably supposed to mean "less competent than average", not "more competent than average".

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Well for me at least the cask is half-full, not half-empty.

That's just the kind of guy I am.

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Even a broken clock is right twice a day.

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The more straightforward argument is the moral one: SOPA is wrong, because it privileges the few over the many. But that's not quite as snappy.

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PG has argued elsewhere that the key to becoming a successful startup is to be good[1]. Since SOPA is bad, organizations that support it are malovelent and so startups cannot succeed if they are beholden to malevolent investors.

[1]http://www.paulgraham.com/good.html

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This is not just a generic religious scientist. It's more analogous to rejecting a young-Earth creationist from a study on evolution. The link here is much more direct than general rationality.

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Even a young-Earth creationist can theoretically be a good biologist or physicist. This is more analogous to a young-Earth creationist that wants to keep evolution out of science textbooks and lectures.

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Yes, for instance, the believe that the earth is young. As in: 7000 years young. Or put differently: Far too young for evolution to have worked at all.

Sorry, but there really is a fundamental problem with being a biologist if your stated belief makes one of the core principles of your field impossible. From what I can tell, most of the young-earth creationists that are biologists mainly work in trying, for decades now, to disprove evolution.

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You can look at rational empiricism as a kind of logic game.

Given a set of empirical observations and the premise that the laws of the universe are constant everywhere and every-when, what logical inferences can you make about the world?

You don't have to necessarily believe the conclusions, but you can still do good science just by trying to play the game well.

Now it's hard to me to imagine a mind working that way but I don't see that it's impossible.

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"I've seen the argument: if someone is so clueless about rationality as to be religious, how could they make a good scientist?"

Because the argument itself is a fallacy. Believing that God exist does not make you less rational that believing that God does not exist(witch uses to be the theological affiliation of the people that proclaim the statement).

One or the other is a prejudice. If the statement were true the best option should be to be agnostic, to be able to consider both options as true, and try one and then the other. The ancient Greeks used this thinking methodology regularly.

They knew that believing our beliefs are true is a trap, everybody believes that their believes are true.

Even with wrong believes you could explore options that makes you find a valid solution. Columbus calculations(believes) for getting to Japan were terrible wrong, but it was useful anyway.

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I hate to drag this into an atheism debate, but agnosticism is simply not the best option. The question of the existence of a supernatural being has a definite answer, and claiming either we don't or can't know is a cop-out. Either you think the evidence points to the existence of a god, or you don't. I can't see an honest appraisal of the evidence leading to an inconclusive decision.

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I agree that line of reasoning is not fallacy free. but if you think in terms of probabilities, it may be safe heuristic to make a stance on..

Update: I mean probability of a venture backing a sopa supporter(company/startup) being anti-sopa is very low.. So it's a good heuristic to assume they are sopa supporters instead of innocent(technologically clueless) bystanders.

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> I've seen the argument: if someone is so clueless about rationality as to be religious, how could they make a good scientist? And the "answer" is: nevertheless, there exist religious people who do good science.

And there exists Catholic priests who are pedophiles, that doesn't make Catholicism and pedophilia compatible. Nor are science and religion compatible. Those people just have an ability to tolerate or ignore their own cognitive dissonance because their religious beliefs are so strong.

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> Those people just have an ability to tolerate or ignore their own cognitive dissonance because their religious beliefs are so strong.

In other words, one possible answer to the original question is "cognitive dissonance". The point is that it doesn't matter what the answer is; there clearly is an answer.

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"one possible answer to the original question is "cognitive dissonance""

Certainly. And to quote myself:

"If that is the case, then the organization is ill. Best to stay away from it, in case it happens to be contagious."

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It makes sense if you stand by your principles.

In some cases that's very important.

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Unless they're different people in the organization, which is likely the usual case. Not that I disagree with the sentiment.

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If that is the case, then the organization is ill. Best to stay away from it, in case it happens to be contagious.

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An organization is ill if it tolerates its employees having differing political and/or ideological beliefs?

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These are not organisations that have individual employees who, on their own time, support SOPA. This is organisations that's policy is to support SOPA.

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That's not what is at play here. "The company" is the one supporting SOPA, and "the company" is sending representatives to YC demo day.

It doesn't sound like you would be banned for merely working for the company and being interested in YC - it's keeping that company out of the process.

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That's a little naïve.

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Maybe, but why take the risk?

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how could they be good investors

Because they have a checkbook? Does General Dynamics care if pacifists buy their stock?

Since YC doesn't seem to sell to media-providers I suppose they won't be losing much, but seriously? If GE wrote me a billion dollar check, I'd take it no matter my politics.

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Dumb money vs smart money.

Sometimes dumb money will kill a startup.

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I'm curious: does not allowing SOPA-supporting companies at YC Demo Day mean the SOPA-supporting companies won't be investing in YC companies? I am not familiar with the process; is this just cutting them out of the very first round, or is something being done to prevent SOPA-supporting companies from investing at all?

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No, it's a demagogical argument, but it makes for great press, and PG's making it displays keen awareness of that fact. I applaud him on that! :-)

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That's not really fair. The people who run corporations have a fiduciary responsibility. (There are of course caveats, and we can argue all day over whether or not SOPA is unconstitutional or otherwise illegal, but you get the point.)

If you are a movie studio, SOPA is a great idea for your bottom line.

I don't think it's fair to call everyone who is in favor of SOPA either evil or stupid, even if SOPA itself is both. I can understand why YC wouldn't want them around, but I can't necessarily say they wouldn't be good investors.

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Why do you bring "fairness" into this discussion?

YC has a fiduciary responsibility as well.

Corporations that are pro-SOPA don't make PR statements saying, "We are pro-SOPA because it will make us money."

Instead they say, "SOPA is good for America! Anyone opposed is a misinformed basement dweller!"

When pg says, "Anyone pro-SOPA is stupid" why don't you interpret it as pg discharging his fiduciary duty?

Why do you apologize for sociopathic lies in large corporations, but then criticize self-interested statements from small corporations?

I'm questioning the basic assumptions you take toward this issue. I find your attitude here baffling and, honestly, horrifying.

If corporations are supposed to tell PR-friendly lies to benefit their bottom line, shouldn't Paul Graham be telling PR-friendly lies to benefit his bottom line?

By extension, when you write that, are you telling PR-friendly lies? Which fiduciary duty are you discharging when you write that? Does SOPA benefit your bottom-line?

If SOPA benefits your bottom-line, shouldn't you be going around telling sociopathic lies to stop it? That's what the CEO of Pfizer is doing... you are your own CEO and you have a fiduciary duty to yourself.

If it's socially acceptable for corporations to tell profit-motived sociopathic lies, then it must be made socially acceptable for individuals to tell profit-motived sociopathic lies, and any appeal to "you're not being fair!" must be recognized as pure rhetoric designed to fool the gullible.

"Guuuuyyyys! Be nice to the SOPA supporters! They're only acting like Democracy-destroying sociopaths for their own personal profit! It's just not fair if you call them mean names!"

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> The people who run corporations have a fiduciary responsibility.

In other words, the corporation does not hate me, but I am made of atoms that it can use to make a profit?

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You appear to be suggesting a variation on the Nuremberg defense.

"Your honor, I'm not evil! I was just following orders... errr.. I mean I had a responsibility to my shareholders!"

I'm sorry, I simply cannot take your line of reasoning seriously.

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> fiduciary responsibility

"Fiduciary" derives from latin words meaning "faith" and "trust". You could reasonably rephrase it as "duty of good faith". It's just as vague as it sounds. It does not mean you have to do everything that's best for "the bottom line", either in the short or long term.

In fact, absent actions that amount to fraud or deception, or that clearly breach laws, bylaws, or contractual arrangements, it is virtually impossible for shareholders to sustain an action for breach of fiduciary duty.

Not supporting a bad law that is not in the best interests of the world is not even close to a breach of fiduciary duty as normally applies in a corporate context.

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PG, a request; demand INTERNET FREEDOM bills support from SOPA turncoats?

Otherwise, we'll go through this shit again [0][1][2][3] until compromises are made. Which I'm sure is from quite an effective tactic [4]. At the moment, it seems to be a lot of 'pacifist' movements to STOP SOPA when they can go to war against the anti-INTERNET FREEDOM supporters by demanding INTERNET FREEDOM bills.

After all, if they change the bill to be about stopping rogue sites selling child pornography with same wording except replacing piracy words; are you going to publicly say STOP CHILD PORN act supporting companies are no longer allowed at YC Demo Day?

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_S.978

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Combating_Online_Infringement_...

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-Counterfeiting_Trade_Agre...

[3] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_Millennium_Copyright_A...

[4] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Door-in-the-face_technique

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PG, if you're reading this, I don't know which list you saw, but here's one with SOPA supporters that is probably the most comprehensive:

http://www.digitaltrends.com/opinion/the-439-organizations-s...

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Actually, if you read the article and linked letter, you will see that this list does not seem to come from any explicit support of SOPA. Instead, anyone on this list and not on the official judiciary list linked above comes from a letter[1] not stating support for SOPA but rather petitioning Congress to "enact carefully balanced rogue sites legislation this year."

From the linked article: "This list is derived from two sources: the official list (pdf) of SOPA supporters from the Judiciary Committee’s website, and a letter (pdf) addressed to Congress from the Global Intellectual Property Center, which is an affiliate of the US Chamber of Commerce."

I thought this deserved clarification.

[1] http://www.theglobalipcenter.com/sites/default/files/pressre...

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This is a very important clarification because I think many folks believe that if they can hammer on the specific failings of SOPA, they will somehow "win." Fact of the matter is that IP issues on the Internet are not going to go away, because a lot of big companies believe their businesses are being harmed. So the long-term view is that the SOPA fight is just one piece of a long negotiation.

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I love how Xerox supports SOPA.

I mean, their entire company was founded around a device that facilitates copyright infringement.

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Leading to the Copyright Act of 1976, BTW.

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Some of these companies are just so random... Why, for instance, does Adidas, L'Oreal, American Apparel, Rite Aid, Pfizer, etc. even have a stance on SOPA? I was rather disconcerted to see that Elsevier was on this list :(

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SOPA isn't just about copyright: the blacklist is also intended to be used against foreign product counterfeiters, and fashion, drugs & shoes are among the most counterfeited products.

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> I was rather disconcerted to see that Elsevier was on this list :(

Back when I was in academia, Elsevier had a clear reputation as the most "evil" academic publisher, because of its extortionate journal prices and its active resistance to any method of information dissemination which would reduce its profits (for example, lower-cost online access, or friendlier contracts with its authors). See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elsevier#Criticism_and_controv....

Apparently nothing's changed.

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Wow, I wasn't aware of this. I'm still a student but it seems that about 1 out of every 2 journal articles is by an Elsevier owned journal. I'll have to keep note of that for the future.

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Because they lose money to counterfeit knock offs.

There are people who would sell their country's freedom for a handful of cash. I consider them un-American traitors.

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Because they lose money to counterfeit knock offs.

Your assumption is that if someone doesn't buy knock offs, they'll buy the real thing. Until that can be proven true, I think a better reformulation which more accurately translates the greed of these corporations is Because they feel they're not making more money due to counterfeit knock offs. The companies themselves aren't actually losing anything.

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No, I don’t think that’s the reason why fashion brands are against knock-offs. They don’t necessarily expect that everyone who buys a counterfeit will buy the real thing. Instead, a market glutted with counterfeit products dilutes their brand and reflects poorly on the quality of their merchandise because consumers confuse the knock-off with the real thing. And that most certainly does lose them something.

A Chanel handbag is a luxury item that, in part, is desirable simply because of its expense and thus relative scarcity—not everyone can have one. Lifestyles brands are built in large part around a carefully crafted image of their consumer, and when every 19 year old Starbucks barista making $21K/year is walking around with a knock-off Chanel handbag it’s difficult to maintain the image they’re going for. Sales drop as the real consumers flee the brand, and then the company has no choice but to market to a lower demographic. Counterfeits undermine the company by commoditizing their goods.

Since fashion brands have significantly more limited legal protections for their products than other industries, I don’t see how you could expect them to be against an act that stands to enlarge the remedies available to them to protect their brands. It was shortsighted for the media companies to try to take a sledgehammer to the Internet—since what they sell are inherently digital products for which it was inevitable that distribution would move to the Internet eventually—but apparel is a physical product that isn’t in any danger of having that happen. For that reason apparel companies don’t care about the Internet (just like you probably don’t care very much about apparel), and I can’t say I could really blame them.

This isn’t even to mention the fact that fashion design is an art, and having opportunists steal your design, completely mangle it in an attempt to make it cheaper, and then sell it as an original is in all likelihood an incredibly infuriating thing simply from the perspective of artistic purity. Again, I find it hard to blame them for wanting to stop this, given that how well the Internet works is largely irrelevant to practically everyone in the entire industry.

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There was an article (that I now cannot find) that claimed there was a positive effect of counterfeiting for high end fashion brands because it motivated buyers to more quickly move on to the latest version. Someone who is willing to spend $700 on a hand bag will get a newer version rather than hold onto the one they have when they see anyone and everyone sporting it.

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That’s an interesting point, and I’d like to read that article, but I think it’d be highly situationally dependent on the particular brand and you’d have to know their internal sales numbers to confirm it.

Even if it were true, though, it still doesn’t address the fact that the designers would be crazy not to want more power to stop their designs from being stolen for simply artistic rather than pragmatic or business reasons. It’s not fair to call them greedy or immoral—and it’s certainly uncalled for and wrong to call them unpatriotic traitors—for wanting this and for not particularly caring about our industry just as we probably don’t really care about theirs. In fact, it’s that kind of one-sided ad hominem bullshit that’s actually the problem.

That being said, SOPA is still an unacceptable solution.

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You made some very valid points in your replies and I was with you as long as you presented them as reasonable hypothetical motives for the fashion industry to support this bill.

However, when you say stuff such as In fact, it’s that kind of one-sided ad hominem bullshit that’s actually the problem, you presume that the point about them being greedy or immoral is invalid. That also sounds a bit naive and one-sided.

We've all observed how artistic rights, copyrights, patents are used by corporations to turn unscrupulous profits. Can you guarantee that executives leading corporations in the fashion industry are exempt of such practices? Would you vouch for their integrity if we decided to observe their various operations under the magnifier? Can you say with certainty that no questionable corners have been cut to turn up a buck or two?

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You presume that the point about them being greedy or immoral is invalid

Yeah, I am presuming it—because I just laid out how what they’re doing is not necessarily driven by greed or immorality but defensible motives from their point of view. You’re simply saying they’re bad people and that’s probably not true in the vast majority of cases. I’m not vouching for anyone’s integrity, but you are so down a rabbit hole of fundamental attribution bias I don’t have any interest in attempting to change your mind.

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I agree that is more accurate. I thought about writing that but didn't want to slice the language so thin that it distracted from the main point.

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"""Your assumption is that if someone doesn't buy knock offs, they'll buy the real thing. Until that can be proven true"""

I keep hearing that argument in discussions about counterfeiting/piracy. Does it convince anyone?

Yes, lots of people would buy the real thing X if there was no way to buy X's knock offs.

It only depends on a) how much they want something X-like and b) the relative price.

If (1) something X-like is desirable, and (2) the price of X's knock offs is near the price of X (so that people not affording X at all is not an issue), then people WOULD buy the original if they couldn't get a cheaper knockoff.

Does even one person's money lost qualify the issue as "proven"?

Because I know that I have downloaded albums and books that I would DEFINITELY have bought if I could not get them for free of the intertubes.

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selling a country's freedom? un-american? its hard to even conceive what on earth this means or how your consideration of what is american - or treason - means anything. and adidas is german.

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>"There are people who would sell their country's freedom for a handful of cash."

Do you have to be US American to hold stock in these companies? Do you expect international companies to have a nationality?

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In their case, I rather think they are uninterested in the provisions about internet and would support removal of these clauses if this could help SOPA to pass.

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Probably because they want to use SOPA to shut down websites selling "counterfeit" merchandise.

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The push for these bills really started years ago when pharma companies were desperately trying to prevent the purchase of drugs from Canada and other countries. The entertainment aspect is rather new and actually somewhat secondary.

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"somewhat secondary" ... that's what the MPAA etc. want Congress to think, so that their Internet-destroying legislation gets in under the radar.

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FYI: That isn't American Apparel on the list — it's an industry group with a similar name that just so happens to count American Apparel as a member — amongst thousands of others.

http://shortformblog.tumblr.com/post/14732754002/sopa-americ...

Now's a good time to emphasize that not everything an industry group does is supported by individual members.

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I glanced at that list quickly even before I was aware of the boycott. Many of those names are just random non-tech related companies, but I couldn't help but think that GoDaddy sticks out like a sore thumb on it. Almost as if they were tricked into joining.

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GoDaddy's official Twitter account is currently robo-replying with "We encourage you to visit our blog to view the details of our position on SOPA: http://x.co/c0q4, so I doubt they were "tricked".

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Of course not. I know enough of their business practice to know they were willing participants, but one has to wonder what they thought they would gain by enlisting. It looks kinda naive to me.

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GoDaddy seems to be the official registrar of domain name seizure http://www.techspot.com/news/46481-judge-oks-private-domain-... :

ordering the registry to transfer domain names to GoDaddy and ordering GoDaddy to update the DNS records

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The ability of easily kill websites would seem to benefit domain registrars in a fairly straightforward way.

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They're not a regular technology company. They're owned by KKR.

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Can you explain why this is significant to people not familiar with KKR? Their Wikipedia page isn't telling me much.

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KKR is basically a decentralized conglomerate. While GoDaddy is (sort of) a technology company, KKR is closer in spirit to the sort of companies that support SOPA. Which is why we're seeing the apparently anomalous sight of an Internet company that supports SOPA. It's not GoDaddy talking; it's KKR talking through GoDaddy.

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SOPA is also against counterfeit products and drugs. But if they really care about that, they should separate it from copyright infringement.

They probably lumped them together just so they can show off with a long list of companies supporting it from different markets.

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Here is the one directly from the SOPA .gov site:

http://judiciary.house.gov/issues/Rouge%20Websites/SOPA%20Su...

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>judiciary.house.gov/issues/Rouge%20Websites/SOPA%20Supporters.pdf

'Rouge websites'... Really ? How about figuring out that spelling thing before trying to pass legislation...

Or did we miss something and all this SOPA fuss is actually about misspelled counterfeit cosmetics exclusively?

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Take a look at the front page of the committee's web site:

>Markup Shows Strong Support for SOPA (12/16/2011)

>SOPA Has Strong Support (12/15/2011)

>Smith: Critics Continue to Spread Lies about SOPA (12/14/2011)

This is about as divorced from reality as you could possibly get. If this country is not the definition of a corporate oligarchy I don't know what is.

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> This is about as divorced from reality as you could possibly get.

That's politics for you.

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You know what I love - that issues like SOPA are waking people up to this.

I am an admitted tinfoiler of 20+ years.

I find the current state of reality surreal!

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So, who is the congressional staffer who can't spell rogue?

http://judiciary.house.gov/issues/Rouge%20Websites/SOPA%20Su...

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200+: content creation, distribution, etc. Approximately 1/4 seems to be small photography studios.

100+ commonly pirated physical products - pharma, shoes, fashion, guitars, spirits, golf clubs, etc.

50+ general manufac/retail industry concerns.

15+ law enforcement/local government trade orgs

15+ law offices

There's a number of testing and credentialing organizations, I'd guess they might be part of content but I'm really not sure.

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Wow, surprising to see Visa on that list. Here's a direct link to the list on the techcrunch article.

http://judiciary.house.gov/issues/Rouge%20Websites/SOPA%20Su...

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Mastercard should be there, too. They even had a "witness" at the first hearing.

Can we get a list for the companies supporting Protect IP, too? We don't want that one to slip past us, either.

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> They even had a "witness" at the first hearing

Mastercard's VP Linda Kirkpatrick was the only witness at that hearing who testified with any semblance of being not 100% pro-SOPA at that hearing.

> As noted yesterday, Visa is actually officially against these bills, which makes this one at least somewhat interesting, because the story we'd been hearing was that MasterCard was in favor of them. But Kirkpatrick's testimony is actually kind of surprising. While we expected it to be very pro-SOPA... it turns out that she's very concerned about the massive compliance and liability costs of the bill. Kirkpatrick explains how MasterCard works, and goes to great lengths to say it's against the company's policy to use its cards for any transactions that break the law. And it already has an existing anti-piracy policy, which allows law enforcement and rights holders to bring such infringement using its cards to the company's attention. It then explains its investigation and notification policy. This is all very interesting... and basically makes an anti-SOPA point: given that MasterCard already does this, why does it need SOPA?

http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20111116/00035716786/look-t...

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Both are there, and with their take in the Wikileak blockade it should not surprise anybody to see them supporting SOPA.

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Why the quotes around the word witness?

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Mastercard (and Visa) are both on the PDF I linked to above..

http://judiciary.house.gov/issues/Rouge%20Websites/SOPA%20Su...

EDIT: Just realized this was the same as the GP link.

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But not Discover. Interesting.

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Not American Express either.

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eww... the Graphic Artists' Guild is on the list. That's really disappointing. https://www.graphicartistsguild.org/

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Surprisingly un-artsy page btw..

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Gauntlet officially thrown down. I respect PG even more for taking a stand on this. Now we need to figure out the best way to get people opposed to SOPA on a grand scale. No disrespect to the HN community, but I wonder how much of an impact we really have had thus far. Tumblr, Reddit, and Mozilla have done a fairly good job of this, but they are not large enough to do it on their own. Next we need Google and Facebook to get more involved as I think that would make awareness of this issue skyrocket. Any thoughts on pragmatic approaches to getting the public more involved?

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1) Adjust the movement to be about INTERNET FREEDOM, not SOPA. This is because the bill can be delayed/stopped til there's an anti-child porn bill with similar wording.

eg "Demand INTERNET FREEDOM bills to replace the ANTI-INTERNET bills [of SOPA, PROTECT-IP, DMCA, etc]"

2) Having INTERNET FREEDOM bills would make it impossible for laws like SOPA to pass. As a bonus, compromises can be made while having some INTERNET FREEDOM. Whereas with SOPA, they're watering down some parts that still lead to ANTI-INTERNET. Which further encourages ANTI-INTERNET supporters to make huge demands. It's a technique: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Door-in-the-face_technique

3) Find Congress people that love Internet. I hope there's a few! Ask if they can be the mascots, the INTERNET messiah, etc.

4) Copy and paste SOPA to start with. Replace the words to protect INTERNET instead. This is a delicious backfire of using someone's work and their own weapons against them.

5) Add a way for people to be excepted from the movement to the services. Also allow a way for people to understand why the companies are no longer appearing politically neutral (because the anti-INTERNET bills are going to kill them).

6) Add some masking of dropped services with JS hover and non-JS side-by-side of anti-FREEDOM warning 'of increased costs to comply with the legal demands of other companies'.

7) Of course, provide a simple link to the INTERNET FREEDOM movement that has to have two different sections;

a) Simple. A video, simple acts to perform to demand and spread the information. This is an attempt to educate people with simplicity. A link is provided to advanced for more complex information.

b) Advanced. 'Nerds', that understand the terminology, and what it's about. How to demand and spread information. Also how to explain with simple education if some people don't understand.

I tried to suggest some of this to Reddit's ideas for admins but got ghostbanned and censured because apparently it's 'politics' despite Reddit's recent anti-SOPA support.

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We need try and start to route around companies that are damaging the internet; and start figuring out who their collaborators are and route around them. This is a great first start, but we need to get companies like google to refuse to allow the MPAA & RIAA to use any of their value add products (gmail/calendar/etc).

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Is there a peerblock list for SOPA supporting companies?

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Maybe all us angry nerds should OCCUPY something. Something big, related to SOPA. It would be cool to see EFF type concerns channeled into that movement.

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The "Occupy" movement is a sinking ship run by anarchists. It's literally an expression of incoherent rage. I think a traditional, well-organized, on-message movement against SOPA would do a lot better than throwing in with OWS.

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Expressions of incoherent rage have fuelled the majority of social change in history.

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My conclusion after learning European history for the first time was that revolutions don't happen until people are starving.

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Yes, but mostly the bad kind.

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> [OWS is] literally an expression of incoherent rage.

You're clueless, likely intentionally so.

Many Occupy members are very coherent. If you haven't looked far enough to find one you must be getting your news from a TV.

And rage doesn't motivate Food not Bombs, or most other OWS participants and participating organizations.

But Occupy, like Anonymous, is a non-trademarked non-organization. Anyone can go, for any reason, and can say whatever they want under its auspices. You could cherry-pick anything you want.

The incoherent rage though is mostly to be found among the members of the armed forces who joined post 9-11 to go and kill well over a million people in the Afghan/Iraq/Pakistan-USA war (to date) to get revenge for something they didn't even attempt to understand. Yelling at our politicians and refusing to pay taxes is the sane response.

Not from anarchists, but from patriots who'll only support a government of the people, for the people.

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When you add together thousands of coherent, but differing signals, the aggregate becomes incoherent. This is a good summary of OWS.

I will pretend I didn't read that remark about members of the armed forces.

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So, if I can find ten people who claim to believe what you do but really say other random things, does it mean you no-longer have a message or merely that I've managed to distract from it? And who have I distracted, you? Unlikely. Just myself and whoever listens to me.

Similarly, only you and the Fox news crowd are confused about what OWS is.

And yes, there's a lot you pretend you didn't read. Like anything you can't counter. The truth hurts.

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I'm not confused about what OWS is. It would be an embryonic version of the Jacobins or a gang of proto-fascists if only it had some sort of coordination. In my city it turned into a settlement of homeless people and street kids until they were finally evicted by the community college they were squatting at.

Anyone who joined the armed forces to avenge 9/11 joined for the cause of justice. It's not the fault of the troops that the politicians fucked the whole thing up. Under a more competent government, the mission would have been restricted to wiping out the Taliban and al-Qaeda forces in Afghanistan, i.e. a reasonable, direct, and proportional response. But because we live in a democracy, the military doesn't get to decide where they're deployed. And because there's no conscription, whiny, entitled kids get to go on the Internet and spout ignorant little criticisms all day long without ever having to take the responsibility to defend the country themselves.

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> I'm not confused about what OWS is. It would be ... if only it had some sort of coordination.

Like Anonymous, there are no leaders, there's no membership list, etc. It's fundamentally chaotic because it isn't trying to ram everyone's different message into one one tidy media-palatable sound-bite. So yes, you are totally confused about what OWS is.

> Anyone who joined the armed forces to avenge 9/11 joined for the cause of justice.

Not in the slightest. You don't join the army and prepare to bomb an innocent country for justice. That'd be like me setting fire to your house because an alleged murderer was rumored to be hiding there.

They joined out of pure incoherent rage.

> It's not the fault of the troops that the politicians fucked the whole thing up.

Yes, actually it is. Not only should they not have joined because Bush was obviously gearing up for a genocide from day two, but after having joined it's their obligation to refuse illegal orders. To pursue a war without justification is an obviously illegal order - it's just murder.

> But because we live in a democracy, the military doesn't get to decide where they're deployed.

If they have any morals at all they get to decide where they will not be deployed, and who they will not shoot. Far better to be imprisoned for refusing to fight than be forced to bomb an innocent family.

> And because there's no conscription, whiny, entitled kids get to go on the Internet and spout ignorant little criticisms all day long without ever having to take the responsibility to defend the country themselves.

It's not defending the country, you arrogant murderer-by-proxy, it's shooting innocent people because you can't find anyone to defend against.

But face it, if you actually cared in the slightest about defending the country you'd try to stop the unjust war. For every jet flown into a building in the USA the USA has flown ten-thousand times more aircraft into its perceived enemies. That doesn't breed friends and allies.

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Wait, I don't know what OWS is because I say it's incoherent and uncoordinated, and you say it's chaotic and anarchic? Sounds like we agree what OWS is; you just think anarchy and chaos are good things.

I never voted for Bush or Obama, or for any congressman or senator who voted for any of the military actions this government has taken since I was eligible to vote. Where possible, I have voted for candidates promising to immediately end any and all such operations. I'm no more a murderer by proxy than any other taxpayer, including you--well, unless you're another one of those Occupy bums who doesn't work, doesn't pay taxes, and is a net drain on the economy. And I'm not so arrogant as to pass moral judgment on people I don't even know.

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> Wait, I don't know what OWS is because I say it's incoherent and uncoordinated, and you say it's chaotic and anarchic?

You expect it to speak with one voice. Even organizations like the Republican party don't consistently speak with one voice and you expect an non-organization to produce a clear and concise mission statement in tv snippet lengths.

You're obviously stacking the deck.

> Sounds like we agree what OWS is; you just think anarchy and chaos are good things.

And again.

Many different people are protesting many different issues. It would be ridiculous to try to label them in a simplistic fashion because you'll miss all the nuances.

> I'm not so arrogant as to pass moral judgment on people I don't even know.

Oh, sorry. Dunno where I'd have gotten that idea from.

> another one of those Occupy bums who doesn't work, doesn't pay taxes, and is a net drain on the economy.

Oh yeah, that.

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I don't expect OWS to be coherent, I'm just saying it isn't coherent, and any protest movement against SOPA should probably have more organization rather than less. I'm also not calling people murderers because I have political disagreements with them, but that's the difference between you and me.

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> I don't expect OWS to be coherent, I'm just saying it isn't coherent

Oh sure, just that and saying they're literally incoherent with rage.

> and any protest movement against SOPA should probably have more organization rather than less.

Yes, and OWS isn't a protest movement against SOPA. Did you actually read anything?

> I'm also not calling people murderers because I have political disagreements with them,

I'm not calling you a murderer, I'm calling you a murderer by proxy, and not because we disagree but because you are one.

> but that's the difference between you and me.

You're willing to slander every person who has been to OWS and you think I'm accusing you without enough information. Hilarious.

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My remarks that those of us opposed to SOPA should engage in more organized action rather than throwing in with Occupy were in response to this comment:

> Maybe all us angry nerds should OCCUPY something. Something big, related to SOPA.

Did you forget the context of this thread already?

You still haven't explained how I'm a murderer by proxy and you aren't. I'm actually curious as to your rationale. I've never actually voted for anyone who authorized any military action at all; did you think I had? If you voted for almost anyone currently in office, you're a murderer by proxy more than I am. I don't avoid paying taxes, but how would you know whether I did? If you really do make a "comfortable income", either you're evading a lot of taxes or you are far more of a murderer by proxy than I am. I haven't renounced my citizenship and left for a peaceful country--but how would you know if I did? If you stayed and worked in the US, you contributed to the war economy and are a murderer by proxy, likely more so than I.

So what gives you the right to call me a murderer by proxy? Because I said something to defend the troops? Does that mean you are by proxy guilty of everything that's happened in the Occupy camps that you defend?

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> Did you forget the context of this thread already?

Did you forget saying that people joined OWS out of incoherent rage, and defending the troops who actually did join the armed forces to kill innocent people? Who painted racist slogans on munitions, etc?

> My remarks that those of us opposed to SOPA should engage in more organized action rather than throwing in with Occupy were in response to this comment:

Oh, I see. Your baseless slander of tens of thousands was because someone had said we should join forces with them. No problem then.

> You still haven't explained how I'm a murderer by proxy and you aren't.

I didn't say I'm not. To the degree that I am, and yes it involves a lot of avoiding taxes, I am trying to stop it. You on the other hand support the troops, etc, and are unwilling to apply your incoherent rage rhetoric to the actual destructive elements of society.

For all that you (may not have) voted for any war-mongers, you certainly support the conservative status-quo in your willingness to speak out against Occupy, etc.

For instance, you call Occupy members a net drain on society. Perhaps they even are (or rather, the needless police presence is...). But any society pursing a baseless war needs to be drained of its resources before it can use them to kill more innocent people.

> So what gives you the right to call me a murderer by proxy?

Huh? What gives me the right to call you something?

Rather, what do you think removes my right to call you something?

> ... but how would you know if I did?

You'd have said so. And you wouldn't defend the troops. For instance you'd have commented that the racist motivations they had and the armed forces' willingness to recruit them despite this (because of?) was the reason why you couldn't support them regardless of their superficial motivations such as "justice".

> Does that mean you are by proxy guilty of everything that's happened in the Occupy camps that you defend?

Did I defend blanket-defend Occupy? That'd be like defending Anonymous or any other non-group. As long as there's one under-cover Scientologist causing trouble I can't speak for them as a group even if the rest were all certified angels.

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I never said anyone joined OWS out of incoherent rage; I said incoherent rage was the end result. If anything you're the one guilty of baseless slander, as if every member of the military was a racist war criminal. If anything, you're only demonstrating my point about OWS not being the kind of people to make a political coalition with.

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> I never said anyone joined OWS out of incoherent rage; I said incoherent rage was the end result.

No. You didn't:

> "The 'Occupy' movement is a sinking ship run by anarchists. It's literally an expression of incoherent rage."

You said the movement is literally an incoherent expression of rage.

And not only did you claim OWS was run by someone, which is wrong, you said it was anarchists, which is a contradiction.

> If anything you're the one guilty of baseless slander, as if every member of the military was a racist war criminal.

Not at all. That's accurate. Well, they may not all be racists - some may merely be okay supporting racists. But they're all war criminals, except maybe Bradley Manning.

Soldiers aren't just allowed to protest and refuse to follow illegal orders, they're required to do so. The war against Afghanistan was clearly under false pretenses as there wasn't a good reason to believe Osama was doing anything other than passing through Afghanistan if he was there at all, and the war against Iraq was under false pretenses as there obviously (even in the beginning) were no WMDs and the USA had been forgiving of Saddam's murderous purges in the past. Now suddenly Bush's poll numbers were in the toilet and they want to attack someone.

Anyone who knew anything, which is a moral prerequisite for picking up a gun and killing someone, knew the wars were a sham. All good soldiers deserted, refused to fight, leaked documents, or otherwise sabotaged the war effort. Everyone else involved, from cook to gunner, is guilty of aiding and abetting wholesale murder.

It's the standard we applied to the Nazis and we were right to do so.

> If anything, you're only demonstrating my point about OWS not being the kind of people to make a political coalition with.

Absolutely. An non-organization like OWS can't be bribed into supporting anything odious. They'd never support a coalition because nobody could guarantee they wouldn't attack their "partner" if that organization acted contrary to any given OWS-member's interests.

You'd want a more "politically savvy" group, and a strict organization which would kick out misbehaving members so that they'd toe the party line, to partner with.

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Occupy congress, "We demand INTERNET FREEDOM to replace SOPA [and other antiINTERNET FREEDOM bills?]".

SOPA could be renamed to SOCPA (Stop Online Child Pornography Act), then you will have a lot of hostile people towards the current and future INTERNET FREEDOM movements.

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Indeed we all should OCCUPY the capitol or the judiciary committee; inside the committee and outside.

Though will 1,000s of citizens trying to save the Internet from the media be covered by the media?

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I think occupying Sutro Tower would be pretty cool.

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I'm virulently anti-SOPA myself, have signed all the petitions, etc. But am I the only one made uncomfortable by a blacklist of people who have expressed certain opinions?

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If you think about it, hunters are rarely invited to wildlife fundraisers, fur clothing manufacturers to PETA meetings, and creationists to NAS meetings -- all because of opinions expressed by each party. Dissent is part of a modern life, and not inviting people to private events is a perfectly legitimate way of voicing that dissent.

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Just a slight quibble: hunters are actually among the most consistent supporters of wildlife conservation. Ducks Unlimited, for instance, is largely an organization of duck hunters.

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It makes sense. Hunters are among the few who derive actual material benefit from sustainable animal populations.

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The examples you gave are all of events which are defined by some belief or cause, whose opponents would simply be out of place if present. That's very different from what's going on here, where the bearers of a particular opinion are being excluded from a business relationship as a punishment for expressing an opinion which is only circuitously related to that business relationship.

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I don't see how SOPA is "circuitously" related, since YC deals with Internet companies and SOPA is damaging to fundamental bits of Internet infrastructure. IMO, it's no different from the PETA/fur manufacturer analogy in that the viewpoints are almost diametrically opposed.

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I did not say SOPA was merely circuitously related to YC. I said it was merely circuitously related to YC's relationship with the blacklisted company.

On the one hand, we may have:

A) Avoiding a business arrangement because the counter party has behaved unethically. or B) Avoiding a business arrangement because it would make poor business sense.

On the other hand, we may have:

C) Avoiding a business arrangement because the counter party has expressed views you disapprove of.

I am advocating against (C) on the grounds that it is an attempt to intimidate people into silence.

Your scenarios are all of the form (A) or (B). Hunters and clothing manufacturers have acted in ways which some judge to be unethical, and hence they may be ostracized for their actions (A). Anti-evolutionists have demonstrated by their words a misunderstanding of science, and hence their participation in NAS would make poor "business sense" (B).

All GoDaddy and others have done, in this case, is express an opinion. Now, if the reason were, as Paul Graham says, that "these companies are so clueless about technology that they think SOPA is a good idea, [so they cannot] be good investors", then this would be an example of avoiding an arrangement for making poor business sense (B), rather than punishing others for expressing their views (C). But do you really believe this is what's going on here, as opposed to merely a post-hoc rationalization? I'll certainly concede that support for SOPA reasonably calls into question an organization's understanding of the Internet and therefore their merit as a business partner, but an outright boycott, as opposed to mere caution, clearly goes beyond what is warranted by simple concern for one's own business, and becomes an attempt to silence others.

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I would say though that in addition to C) you should change to ..has expressed views you disapprove of that have direct consequences to your business.

I think though you would be right if C) was more simplistic and ineffectual to you like.. I would not do business with x because they use goDaddy for hosting. No?

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It wouldn't be a stretch to say that this action by YC would fall under (A) in this case.

GoDaddy has taken this stance simply because they think they can gain long-term competitive advantage by doing so. Supporting legislation that limits freedom in order to gain strategic advantage is inherently unethical.

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SOPA is an attempt to fight copyright infringement by breaking the whole internet. It's crazy overkill, but that doesn't mean people and businesses shouldn't try to avoid becoming collateral damage.

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The Democracy-destroying government-subsidized corporations are already playing hardball with you.

Why do you refuse to play hardball back?

Try getting hired to be a VP at Pfizer while publicly supporting patent-reform.

Try spreading the gospel of universal healthcare while being employed by Blue Cross.

Try getting corporate advertisers for your online newspaper that presents a favorable view of WikiLeaks, or is willing to stand up for corporate whistleblowers who expose fraud.

Individuals are already excluded from many, many activities based on their opinions. Non-violent non-cooperation with Democracy-destroying organizations is absolutely fundamental if you want to defend freedom in your country.

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Probably not but I personally have no problem with this.

pg runs an investment firm that invests to a large extent in internet-based companies. To "blacklist" the companies that want to hurt his investment opportunities and returns (really, just no longer help profit from his work) seems like a no-brainer. It gets you positive press from the group you want to attract and hopefully denies some revenue from the ones that would use that revenue against you in the future.

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Nope, that's what you are supposed to do in a market system. You as a citizen are under no obligation to engage in business with corporations you feel are harming society/

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Who is blacklisting individuals? It's blacklisting the corporate entity.

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Do you mean "vehemently", or is your anti-SOPA position actually contagious?

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PG, thank you - this is one of the best stances against SOPA yet.

Frankly, this is a badass stance.

And this line, as also mentioned by others, is fantastic:

"If these companies are so clueless about technology that they think SOPA is a good idea, how could they be good investors?"

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I was going to say the same thing.

Thank you PG for doing your part. Thank you so much.

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Which companies on the list send people to Demo Day?

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PG: How did you arrive at this action when concerning Monsanto I understood your comments as something along the lines of "that's just the way of things work in the world of corporations"?

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Thanks for standing up for us all, pg.

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may be we should stop watching the movies of the supporting studios (and giving them money directly or indirectly) - much harder to do, but would be quite effective

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My company has about 35 domains and SSL certs through GoDaddy. I've always loathed them but I can't justify the cost of transferring over. Is anyone offering a discounted option to jump ship?

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Just found discount list on Reddit: http://www.reddit.com/r/politics/comments/nmnie/godaddy_supp...

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> and many startups, such as Reddit

Can you call a 6 year old site, sold to a major media conglomerate, with some of the highest traffic on the net a startup?

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This seems common for anything that is rooted in new media and doesn't look like the traditional newspapers and magazine websites. You still hear the word startup used with Facebook and twitter occasionally even though they at clearly not.

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GODADDY is acting like we're bluffing and basically challenging us to try and make a dent in their business. Read this!

Update (6:18 PM): GoDaddy seems unimpressed by the boycott so far. They made the following statement to Ars Technica: "Go Daddy has received some emails that appear to stem from the boycott prompt, but we have not seen any impact to our business. We understand there are many differing opinions on the SOPA regulations."

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So if SOPA fails to pass and stops being an issue, will that boycott end or will it continue?

Going by PG's reasoning (If these companies are so clueless about technology that they think SOPA is a good idea, how could they be good investors?") then it should continue until there are major changes the leaderships of those companies. Right?

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That's a good question, and tough one to figure out. This applies to anyone who wants to deprive these companies of their support.

From my perspective, these attempts will not stop, and will take on new forms of bills. We have had to deal with bad bills since during the Clinton administration/Republican-controlled congress.

Some people call for 'Internet freedom' laws, but what is stopping the next congressional class from weakening or negating these laws without amending the Constitution?

My own view is that it will take a long time for these attempts to cease. Worst case, efforts will peter out until the generation who did not grow up with the Internet are no longer with us.

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I just saw that the USTA (United States Tennis Association) supports SOPA. What a disappointment. This is the organization that manages the US Open and other pro tennis tournaments, but it's also the group that manages amateur leagues and tournaments.

I've been thinking about just playing ultimatetennis instead, maybe this is the time.

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It's not only about Congressmen and Congresswomen being in the back pockets of big corporations. If you watch the hearings you realize that 90% of them don't understand enough technology to know what DNS is. They are persuaded by the people that are bought, and it goes from there.

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Amazingly, nine out of the top ten articles on the front page are SOPA related (if you count Louis CK's personal distribution, which seems to me to be an experiment in fighting the xIAA organizations.)

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pg, thank you so much for doing this. You rock.

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I sincerely hope that many Internet companies such as Facebook and Google will follow this initiative by removing all these companies from their databases.

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Found this link from a comment thread on TechCrunch: commenter (Nick Such) said, jhalf of the YC companies may be affected: http://jpf.github.com/domain-profiler/ycombinator.html. But this graph is (I think) earlier on Dec 22nd. Will be interesting to see how the graph looks like after that day's mayhem!

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Paul Graham: Thank you for this incredibly forceful and ballsy move. I almost applauded out loud after reading this.

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Looks like the link to the Sopa Supporters.pdf file was taken down, so here's a backup, courtesy of google docs:

https://docs.google.com/open?id=1-fTQaHJmvOAe78mGBBRSeFdRLoR...

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As much as I support the anti SOPA cause, is this more of a hunger strike than a consequential action? The startups presenting at demo day need those dollars a whole lot more than the corporate venture arms need the investments. Money is money, no matter how stupid it may be.

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SOPA is going to hurt our industry so much. It's going to be destructive for Silicon Valley.

Taking a stand is necessary. YC startups are going to have much a harder time is SOPA passes. Even from just an economic point of view, it's better to take some loses now than taking higher loses in the future.

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A sacrifice is worth it assuming it provides some benefit to the cause. I'm not sure if this action is going to have any effect (hopefully I'm wrong though).

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This is pretty awesome indeed.

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GoDaddy no longer supports SOPA:

http://www.godaddy.com/newscenter/release-view.aspx?news_ite...

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This is great news, but I still feel that more leading industry figures need to step forward the same way PG has and make clear their stance on SOPA.

Hopefully PGs move will encourage others to follow suit.

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In case someone takes the list down,

http://www.dieblinkenlights.com/blog_en/companies-that-suppo...

Enjoy.

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Smart move. This is a clear way to send a signal to SOPA supporting companies: supporting this bill may cut you out of some of the best investment opportunities in the world.

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Excellent! Props to PG for standing up against SOPA. Media company wants to take the free internet away from us. We cannot afford to have SOPA passed!!

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Just gained a ton of respect for you YC

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A bomb was just dropped! This is a badass stand that sends a strong and direct message to anyone tied to a SOPA supporter. It will be interesting to see if venture funds start to cut ties w/ SOPA supporters.

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anyone have a list of the companies that were part of SOPA that attended either of the last two demo days?

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Paul Graham. Hero.

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Not sure why you are getting downvoted. Let's call things and people the right names.

"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."

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balls, PG has them.

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PG is quoted in the article as saying ”I don’t know exactly which companies had people on the list. But I know which will now: none of them.”

That's fine and admirable, but on the practical side, if he doesn't know who's who, how is he going to enforce this rule?

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From the article:

Graham told me in a followup email that he was indeed serious and had just given the list of SOPA supporters to the people in charge of the Demo Day invites

It's not PG who needs to know, it's the people he's put in charge of Demo Day.

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Yes, I read that too, and that's my point: he doesn't make the invitations himself; just because you trust an organisation to do something doesn't mean you can dispense yourself from verifying they did what they were asked to do.

The "people in charge of the Demo Day invites" probably have enormous incentives to invite influential and powerful employees from SOPA-supporting companies, and would certainly face backslash they'd rather do without.

So what I think is happening is that PG just added "manage invitations to Demo Day" to his todo list... (all the most admirable BTW)

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The people in charge of the Demo Day invites work for PG. They're just running an event, they don't care if any specific organisations attend it apart from the criteria given to them by PG.

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Oh well, if they're simply Y Combinator employees it's as you say; I read that as if it meant they were a contractor ("the people in charge" vs. "us/we").

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Boom, headshot.

Mmmmmaybe these companies are all so clueless that they think it's a good idea. Far more likely, they know what they're doing is bad, but choose to do it anyway because there's no downside for them.

It's like people who are deliberate assholes in public because they (correctly) gamble that no one will risk punching them in the face.

Well I for one fully support punching SOPA supporters in the face. This is as good a start as any.

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Am I the only one thinking that this is censorship too?

edit: censorship

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YC demo day is a private event hosted by a private organization. As such, YC has the right to determine the kind of entities that are allowed to be present at the event.

And YC / pg have determined that the kind of companies that would support SOPA are unlikely to make good investors in YC portfolio companies. No censorship, just a business decision.

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Curious: Aren't ISPs and payment processing companies also private organizations? Are DNS "name servers"?

I don't disagree with PG's stance here and I don't think it is censorship, but you must admit that these are "just business decisions" for these parties as well (possibly even Congress)

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The term for large ISPs and DNS systems is "common carriers". They are qualitatively different than a Y Combinator.

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I think you might be wrong.

According to wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_carrier

   Internet Service Providers have argued against being 
   classified as a "common carrier" and, so far, have 
   managed to do so [...] Because ISPs are no longer 
   prohibited from discriminating among different types of 
   content under common carrier law [...]

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That's maybe an interesting discussion in its own right, but I think the fact that they're "arguing against" it means it was at least a relevant example.

A much better example would have been "The Power Company", a formally-regulated utility. The phone, electric, or gas utility is not allowed to refuse you service simply because they don't like your politics or your business judgment the way a Y Combinator can.

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Sure, the difference is that if Congress mandates it, it IS censorship. Until then, it's just a bunch of different people advocating censorship and a bunch of other people opposing it. For "business" reasons.

I could use emotional terms like "freedom" and "tyranny", but in the end my opposition to censorship and advocacy for freedom come down to personal interest. I like to think it would be better for everyone else too, but yeah, I advocate for freedom because I WANT freedom. It's just business.

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Censorship involves speech or other forms of communication. Withholding an invite or discouraging of certain investors in not censorship.

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I disagree with that since the reasons are not purely political. PG believes that supporting SOPA shows a very flawed understanding of how the Internet works. Since many YC companies are web-based or rely on the Internet in other ways I think this makes sense. You can't knowledgeably invest in something with a very flawed understanding of it.

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Censorship is using legal force, physically if necessary to shut you up. It isn't simply refusing to provide you a platform.

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I wish I could downvote

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Yes.

This is not censoring, this is capitalism in action.

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Censuring for sure. Censoring? No.

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No, I think the appropriate word would be "advocacy."

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This controversy to me seems eerily similar to the so-called "SCO Wars" when the SCO Group defended her intellectual property rights against looters like IBM and Novell. This act will help to prevent tragedies such as what happened to SCO from occuring in the future, by making it more difficult to pirate other people's code. I do not see why some people think that is a bad thing. Darl McBride was right. He might have lost the suit, but I think history will vindicate him, and SOPA is part of that vindication.

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