News: SOPA Act Threatens To End Spread Of Free Music Across The Internet

Monday, Jan 9, 2012 4:00PM

Written by J. Bachelor

The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) is back in the news. The future of the bill, which could potentially block or limit access to Web sites which the powers that be deem to support the piracy of music and film, remains in limbo as Congress is on break.

Critics believe that if SOPA is passed, the entertainment industry will have a field day flagging any Web site they believe to be a threat to their profits.

SOPA, or the Stop Online Piracy Act, is another one of those bills that sounds like it's going to do something mildly positive but, in reality, has serious potential to negatively change the internet as we know it. It puts power in the hands of the entertainment industry to censor sites that allegedly "engage in, enable or facilitate" copyright infringement. The idea behind SOPA sounds reasonable. It came about in order to try to snuff out piracy online, as the entertainment industry is obviously not excited about the many people downloading their product without their permission. The issue is, however, that it doesn't really matter whether you're in support of piracy, against it, or just don't care. SOPA makes it possible for companies to block the domain names of web sites that are simple capable of, or seem to encourage copyright infringement.(Life Hacker)

Several of the world's most popular Web sites have spoken out against the SOPA Act, alleging it implements too much government regulation on how their businesses are operated.

Just when we thought the battle lines had been drawn on the Stop Online Piracy Act, tech giants Facebook, Google and Zynga have announced their opposition to the proposed bill. The companies joined the opposition with a letter to members of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives about the Stop Online Piracy Act, also called the E-PARASITE act ... While they support the bill's goals of preventing rogue sites from distributing copyrighted materials, the tech giants say the act would "undermine the effective mechanism Congress enacted in the Digital Millenium [sic] Copyright ACT (DMCA) to provide a safe harbor for Internet companies that act in good faith to remove infringing content from their sites."(CNET)

In a 2010 interview, outspoken rap artist Lupe Fiasco explained how music piracy shortchanges many artists.

"...At a bare minimum it costs me, literally out of my own pocket, it costs me $3,000 to $4,000 to make a song. It costs me about $700 to $800 to make a freestyle. I'm giving you that .... Just imagine if I work with The Neptunes, including studio time and everything that goes into it -- flying people around -- it gets up into the hundreds of thousands of dollars to make a song like 'I'm Beamin' or 'I Gotcha.' So to kinda see it on the Internet and, for some instances, for sale, who are you to have the right to tell me that I shouldn't demand payment or feel a certain way for seeing people put my music out there like that? If I chose to do that, that's one thing. But I didn't choose to do that. That music was stolen." (The Boom Box)

Lately, artists have resorted to extraordinary means to protect their music from bootleggers both foreign and domestic, as demonstrated by hip-hop greats Jay-Z and Kanye West as their much-awaited Watch The Throne neared retail release.

"Kanye and Jay are just very tight with the music," he explained in an interview "Even so far as to where they've been, Kanye and Jay have been at every listening session, every event, that there has been and that's because they're holding that music so tight to them. There hasn't been [any] copies floating around the [Def Jam] office 'cause that sh*t is in a vault. They just took it back to the old school, man. They recorded the entire album together; no verses emailed back and forth. It's just tight eyes on it, only one or two people having access to it." (XXL Mag)

For an entire breakdown on SOPA, check out the video below:

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