Paul Graham Bans SOPA Supporting Companies from YC Demo Day
The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) has seen a huge backlash from internet patrons and businesses alike, but the fight continues as major players in the media industry show their support for the infamous legislation. Opponents of SOPA claim that it violates the open nature of the internet and impedes freedom of expression for the sake of media corporations, but supporters say that the drastic measures included in the bill are worth it to put a stop to file sharing and piracy.
Paul Graham of Y Combinator, a company that invests in technology startups, has shown his disdain for companies that endorse SOPA by announcing that any entity present on the current list of SOPA supporters are not welcome at the 2012 Y Combinator Demo Day, an event held twice a year where startups can present their business plans in hopes of attracting investors. Graham made his sentiments quite clear:
“Several of those companies send people to Demo Day, and when I saw the list I thought: we should stop inviting them. So yes, we’ll remove anyone from those companies from the Demo Day invite list.”
So was this move justified? As the founder of Y Combinator, Graham can certainly run his operation however he pleases, and he does make a very valid point:
“If these companies are so clueless about technology that they think SOPA is a good idea, how could they be good investors?”
From the perspective of a technology startup investor, it’s understandable to be wary of SOPA supporters. The bill pulls no punches and implements the same censorship technology in place in countries like Russia and China, giving corporate interests the power to ‘shut down’ sites where infringing content is posted. While this may increase sales for the entertainment industry, it makes the online environment a much more hostile place for entrepreneurs and webmasters trying to get a foothold.
Paul Graham is not alone in his shunning of SOPA supporters- there has been a surge of boycotts across the internet of several companies on the dreaded SOPA list. Domain registrar Go Daddy in particular has received quite a bit of bad press for supporting SOPA, and their competitor Namecheap hasn’t been quiet. Namecheap spoke out against SOPA and is now offering a coupon code for a discount when you switch from Go Daddy to Namecheap (the code is, not surprisingly, SOPASUCKS).