epic blog on SOPA and why it is NOT okay w/ obligatory animated gifs
SOPA (the “Stop Online Piracy Act”) is a proposed bill that would allow copyright holders to kill websites who are hosting “illegal” content — without any kind of real conversation or trial. They are just SHUT DOWN. End of story. Now this troubles me for many reasons — I could talk forever about how I think copyright law needs a COMPLETE overhaul and how the law is essentially used to keep companies like Disney rolling in the money and how it stifles creativity and how it needs to be adapted to the way online society ACTUALLY functions — but one of my main concerns was how this would affect the fate of the music blogger. We routinely post videos and audio on this blog, as do other bloggers who review music. In this kind of independent DIY model, this is how we work — we don’t depend on giant record labels to just swoop in and put us on the radio. That is the OLD model. In the new model, we depend on one another for music suggestions — word of mouth is where it is at. I read so many music blogs (as do my bandmates): Fuck Yeah! Queer Music, Club Fonograma, Stereogum, Homoground, etc. But music blogs don’t just rely on words, but on the actual music as well. This is not print — it is digital. When we share our love of the newest Adele song, we don’t just want to talk about it. We want everyone else to really understand us, to be able to listen to it WITH us. This is how music gets promoted when you don’t have the power and money to get played on the radio — we create our own communities and ways of promotion.
PLAY/START ON SOUNDCLOUD
We live in a participatory culture, where fans are not just consumers, but creators in their own rights, where people create mashups and remixes to engage and share their fandom with others. AND IT IS AWESOME. Nine years after Buffy went off the air, people are STILL creating Willow / Tara fanvids. And now they are telling us that we can’t even post fucking YouTube videos or Soundcloud songs, when our intent is to PROMOTE rad music, not hinder it? Oh HELL NO.
I LOVE talking about copyright. No joke. I took a class in grad school on it, and it turned out to be one the most helpful classes I took, as I am routinely asked copyright questions from students, staff and faculty members at the college where I work (I’m a librarian). We just formed an intellectual property committee, and I am STOKED to work on that shit. So you can imagine my excitement when the shit hit the fan.
Things moved VERY fast: On January 18th, Wikipedia and other sites “blacked out” and shut down in protest of the proposals. On January 19th, the US Department of Justice and FBI shut down the popular file-sharing sharing site, Megaupload, arresting its executives in the process. Very soon after came the news that a group called “Anonymous” had shut down the websites of the DOJ, FBI, MPAA, RIAA, Universal, and other key stakeholders. Then just as quickly, Megaupload was back up online.
I was freaking out I was so excited. Serious direct action! Are we witnessing a seismic shift in copyright and online piracy? I wish so, but probably not yet. But it was really exciting while it lasted, and I can’t wait to see what happens next.