Paul Graham: SOPA Supporting Companies No Longer Allowed At YC Demo Day

At this point quite a few internet companies have protested H.R. 3261, the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in creative ways. Held by many to be the worst thing to ever happen to the Internet if it passes, SOPA would makes it really easy for copyright holders to force sites offline that they think are offending, among other things.

While the judiciary vote has been delayed until next year, the list revealing the companies who support the act was released yesterday, and many startups, such as Reddit, have begun to drill down into boycotts of individual companies like domain provider GoDaddy.

The company boycotts  have sparked a thread on Hacker News, where user Solipsist posted a link to the list with the comment, “While I understand your sentiments towards SOPA, are you really going to distance yourself from all of these companies?”

To which YCombinator founder and investor Paul Graham replied,

“Actually that’s exactly what I thought when I saw the list yesterday. 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.”

Disinviting offending companies to YCombinator Demo Day? That takes, um, guts. 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, “I don’t know exactly which companies had people on the list.  But I know which will now: none of them.”

When asked if that boycott extended to investors in those companies, Graham responded, “Several of the companies on the SOPA list have venture arms.  I encourage startups to boycott them.  We’ll certainly encourage all the startups we’ve funded to.”

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

The next YCombinator demo day is scheduled for March 27th, 2012.

You can read through our full coverage of SOPA here.

Update: So which companies on the SOPA list are being denied YC invites? Well no one except Demo Day organizers knows for sure, but as BI’s Matt Rosoff points out, Comcast/NBCUniversal’s Comcast Ventures has a stake in YC company CarWoo and listed companies like CBS Disney, GoDaddy, News Corp., Sony, Time-Warner, and Visa have all made tech investments in the past.