I’ve been meaning to comment about a post that I saw on Pulse. The post entitled “It’s Time to Give GoDaddy a Break”. The author makes the point that we live in the US, that we all have the freedom of speech, including GoDaddy. They go on to say that GoDaddy had an opinion against popular opinion and their client base punished them for their views
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and once they reversed their opinion people are still jumping ship.
At first I felt that the author actually has a logical view point. In the US we all have the right to freedom of speech and to our opinions. What the author fails to realize is that the right to free speech does not include immunity to the reaction that speech has. I should be allowed to express my opinion, but I must then face the consequences of my actions. I have the right to tell my neighbour that their music is a sin unto god. I would expect that their reaction wouldn’t be to give me a break. It is a very common misconception that freedom of speech implies freedom from consequences. It doesn’t.
The cosmic irony about the post is that the poster is defending GoDaddy’s first amendment right while GoDaddy’s opinion limits the first amendment. The outcome is pretty simple. Your richly diverse customers buy your products, you merely advocate controversial opinion, you expect loss in sales and profits. Take for example Proposition 8 in California. A religious group based in another state sends millions of dollars from their non profit organization to promote the opinion of yes on the controversial proposition where two halves of the populace feel very strongly. When the ‘no’ half of the populace lash out they are taken by surprise.
This begs some questions that I find truly interesting… why would a company have rights? Why does a company get to have freedom of speech? Why can it make political contributions? Are these not called lobbyists? Recently a law was overturned that was setup to restrict how much money a company could contribute to political campaigns. The consensus was that a company was a legal entity in the US and that granted the company the same basic rights as citizens. When I read that I sort of laughed thinking how funny it would be if WalMart
and other companies got to vote on current issues.
The point I want to make here is that everyone is entitled to their opinions. Like my father told me, ‘… everyone’s got one.’ My opinion is that SOPA and Protect IP Act infringe on freedom of speech, they infringes on fair use, they make it easier to control information. They’re setup wrong and pose problems. They don’t need amendments to fix them. They need to go back to the drawing board. I understand that my opinion might anger some people. If I find that an entity, be it person, business, or corporation that I do business with disagrees with my opinion, you bet I will seek to do business else where. Not only can I vote as a citizen, I can also vote with my money and I definitely voted against GoDaddy on this