If you tried to visit a number of websites today and were unable to view their content, don’t be alarmed: it’s due to the protest of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect IP Act (PIPA) bills, which were created to stop online piracy and protect copyright owners, but could allow the government to censor practically anything on the Internet. You’d think musicians would be all for protecting their music from piracy, but artists, such as B.o.B, Kreashawyn, OK Go and more, have made it clear that this bill, if passed, will do more harm than good.
B.o.B sees this as an issue about freedom. “I’m not usually into politics but…. this has gone too far… we have to fight for our freedom,” the rapper tweeted out to his 383,000 followers. “Any attempt to hide people from the truth will crumble.”
“Think about it,” Bobby Ray continued, “All the information we obtain and all the people we communicate with via Internet. This a blow to the heart of the American people who have been able to put food on the table from the opportunities provided by web.” He also included a link to Google’s “End Piracy, Not Liberty” petition.
Other music acts have also rallied against the bill — MGMT, OK Go, The Lonely Island and Trent Reznor are just a few of the musicians and entertainers who have signed an open letter to Congress protesting SOPA. They write:
We fear that the broad new enforcement powers provided under SOPA and PIPA could be easily abused against legitimate services like those upon which we depend. These bills would allow entire websites to be blocked without due process, causing collateral damage to the legitimate users of the same services – artists and creators like us who would be censored as a result.
We are deeply concerned that PIPA and SOPA’s impact on piracy will be negligible compared to the potential damage that would be caused to legitimate Internet services. Online piracy is harmful and it needs to be addressed, but not at the expense of censoring creativity, stifling innovation or preventing the creation of new, lawful digital distribution methods.
Kreayshawn also took to Twitter to help spread the word to stop the bill. “Alot of you might be seeing this #SOPA thing and not understand it but watch this simple video and SPRED THE WORD!!” Here’s the video she linked to, explaining what SOPA could potentially do to the freedom we enjoy on the Internet (as well as it hurting independent artists and start-up companies):
Sites like Wikipedia, Reddit and Oh No They Didn’t have gone dark in protest. Other sites, such as Google, continue to run today, but have blacked out their logo in support of stopping SOPA.
The bill goes to the Senate on January 24, though the Internet blackout seems to have already influenced some members of Congress — PIPA co-sponsor Florida Sen. Marco Rubio pulled his name from the bill Wednesday, a day after SOPA co-sponsor Arizona Rep. Ben Quayle pulled his name. Senators from Utah and Missori also announced that they would no longer be supporting the bill.