It seems only fitting that I should talk about piracy today, since the world wide web is so widely protesting the proposed SOPA. For those who don’t know, SOPA stands for Stop Online Piracy Act and is a bill now in congress that would enable the US Department of Justice as well as copyright holders the ability to websites and host enabling copyright infringement. It is a bill that is widely supported by the motion picture and music industry and opposed by free speech activists.
Now as you can see both by my blog being blacked out for 12 hours today (01/18/2012) as well as my post from last night I oppose the bill. The following why I oppose of the act and what I think of piracy in general.
First off, this bill definitely threatens free speech. How many countless unofficial websites are dedicated to music of any particular artist. These sites are meant to show appreciation for the artist and there work. Many of these sights contain lyrics, discographys, concert playlists and even links to music and videos. All thing that could be sited as copyright infringement. Many of these sites as well as websites such as YouTube, Vimeo and Soundcloud all are hotbeds of expression, all containing the large amount of pieces that use material not owned by the artist. My past blog post titled aaaaaaargh! is an example of someone creative work being in violation of not one but two copyrights. In my eyes it is a very funny and clever video and would be something YouTube would have to pull in fear in a lawsuit.
Second, this has ramifications for the american economy. In a time when the creation of more jobs is of utmost importance, this bill could force websites and web hosts to move out of the country to avoid dealing with the bill. It could also force websites such as Tumlr, Vimeo and Soundcloud to go out of business since these websites are almost completely creator driven content.
I want to make clear that I don’t support copyright infringement. I do believe that an artist does have the right to protect his or her art. That person also has the right to make money from his or her art. I do try to buy the music from the artist I love but have borrowed many songs from these artists also. One of the major reason I subscribe to Spotify is to make the music I love legal. I would love to buy everything I listen to, but that at the moment I am not independently wealthy, so I have to go the rent a song way.