Tag Archives: Piracy

1121

19 Jan

Let’s talk SOPA. I know that most people out there have been inundated with information about SOPA and PIPA over the last few days, especially with the web blackout protest. There has been a lot of talk from scholars, politicos and many other people who are a bit more knowledgable on the topic. But I have read up quite a bit on the bills ever since I first heard about them last year and formulated an opinion. If you are here at 10kdays, you are probably interested in my opinion on things (and wondering how am I gonna pull a song out at the end. Don’t worry, it won’t be “The Day the LOLcats died”).

First up, am I an advocate of piracy? No. But I’ll admit I’m no saint in that regard either. I’ve never set cyber-foot on the Pirate Bay website nor do I use any torrent software. But I also grew up listening to the radio with blank cassette tapes at the ready in my tape deck, waiting for my favorite song to come on so that I can hit the play & record buttons; and some things you just don’t grow out of. Now that you know that factoid, let me move on.

I’m a musician. I spend a lot of time creating things. I run a music contest called the Nur Ein. I participate in the FAWM every year. I did the Nanowrimo in 2009. I’m a proud member of Songfight. I was a judge in the first SpinTunes contest. I also run a yearly event called the Gift of Music. Add all those things together (and I don’t just mean my contributions but the contributions of all the participants) and you have thousands upon thousands of creative works. And SOPA gives companies the abilities to get rid of that. Gift of Music is bands making cover songs as part of a holiday/charity event. That would get blacklisted. Songfight could disappear if a band used a sample that wasn’t cleared or a piece of art didn’t have the right clearance. Same goes for SpinTunes & FAWM. And heaven forbid, a writer not clear a quotation while speeding to write 50,000 words in 30 days time. SOPA snuffs all that creativity. Even  this blog would get sucked up in it’s black hole because of all the musical choices. Forget that I spread knowledge of all these bands and they get heard by new ears which lead to their brands growing. I played a video that wasn’t cleared on youtube. So, 10kdays vanishes from the web as does youtube. A creative void gets created in order to stop pirates. Remember what I said before, I made mixtapes long before the days of the internet. People will still pirate things but they just won’t have as many outlets to create things.

SOPA paints piracy with a very broad brush. I understand the desire to stop websites whose sole goal is to pirate things. Then why not just go after them? You wanna shut down the Pirate Bay. Go after the Pirate Bay. Things like Napster, Kazaa, Limewire… they were very effectively killed off. Piracy is only a part of what this is all about. I watched an interview with one of the heads of NBC Universal about SOPA/PIPA. He said (note, I’m paraphrasing) that the internet is an important part of the world and we can’t have it lawless. And I think that’s the issue in a nutshell. SOPA is all about giving the government more control over the internet, not just shutting down sites like the Pirate Bay. DMCA is already a very effective piece of legislature. I’ve seen sites get blocked on Google with notes that the link is in violation. The government wants a greater hand in the internet (especially after controversial things like wikileaks and the grassroots organization of Occupy) not realizing that it’s at the cost of creation, innovation, what makes the web great. And the worst part of it all is, pirates will still pirate.

Let’s end off this rant with a song. The song I’m choosing is “Smash Your Head” by Girl Talk. SOPA comes and mashup goes even further underground.

Song 1121: “Smash Your Head” by Girl Talk

Update:  No sooner said than done. I wrote this blog early in the afternoon. By the evening, news has spread that they have actually targeted a site and took it down. There’s no more Megaupload & Megavideo. That’s how this should be handled, not with SOPA.