TO members of the United States Congress
We, the undersigned artists, have all been empowered by the Internet. Today, artists can reach large audiences and make a living because the Internet and digital tools have democratized the means to create, distribute, and promote our work.
We write to you today because we are concerned with S.968, the PROTECT IP Act (PIPA). Copyright law exists to promote the arts, but the new penalties in PIPA could be used against the new social media channels we depend on to make a living, and endanger freedom of expression.
PIPA creates new penalties against sites dedicated to infringing activity, but we worry it will be abused to attack legitimate sites we rely on. Many trailblazing social media websites could look like piracy havens to judges unfamiliar with the Internet. In the past, music and film companies have attacked many new technologies - like the VCR and MP3 player - claiming that they were tools for piracy. Recently, these same companies have sued video hosting platforms like Veoh and YouTube.
We use online video sites, file hosts like Dropbox and Mediafire, and online music communities like Soundcloud to host our work, collaborate with others, and build a community. We fund our work with services like Kickstarter and Flattr. We publish our work on sites like Tumblr, Wordpress, and Blogger. Any one of these services could be sued under PIPA.
Congress needs to hear from Artists!
The PROTECT-IP act would censor the net, in the name of protecting "creativity" (read: copyright). The law would let the government or corporations censor entire sites-- they just have to convince a judge that the site is "dedicated to copyright infringement."
The law could definitely pass, but it's close.
- * Artists (musicians, actors, writers, media-makers, etc) need to speak out against the law. Your statement is powerful because the corporate music and film lobbies push these laws in your name.
- * The copyright lobby say that this bill is written in your name to protect "creativity". If you're an artist that believes the government and corporations should not have the power to censor the internet in your name, you need to sign.