This week, the Web Host Industry Review’s WHIR TV posted a video interview with Christian Dawson, chief operations officer at web hosting provider ServInt, who was one of the organizers of the “Save Hosting” effort – a project that very much came together at HostingCon.
Dawson was instrumental in arranging a panel discussion that sought to bring some of the federal legislative issues facing hosting providers to the forefront of the discussion at the show, and in the hosting community in general.
Along with the session, Dawson and several others (including David Snead, lawyer to many hosting companies) organized a community forum meeting to facilitate some early discussion on how hosts might effectively lobby congress as a community, in order that the industry might have a seat at the table during the development and discussion of legislation that has the potential to negatively (and greatly) impact the hosting business.
In the WHIR TV video, Dawson discusses the impetus for the effort – in particular the Protect IP Act (formerly known as COICA), which has the potential to treat hosting providers as complicit in the content (including, notably, copyright-infringing content) posted by their users. There’s no safe harbor for hosts in this legislation, as written.
The other key piece of legislation he mentions in the video is the “Protection Children From Online Pornography” act, which, as Dawson points out, is named in such a way as to make opposing it an uncomfortable stance. But this piece of legislation, as it stands, would have enormous, unmanageable data retention requirements for hosting providers.
What to do?
Join up. Get involved in the Save Hosting group. Find out what you can do to contribute to the cause. According to Dawson, the session and meeting were packed, and momentum is building.
Here are some links if you’re looking for more info on the Save Hosting project.