Assuming this is not your first stop on the internet today (but if it is, thank you, glad you can make it) you’ve probably been inundated with a constant stream of SOPA/PIPA related news and how if it was to happen 90% of the websites we love would disappear and we wouldn’t be able to tweet Ron Swanson quotes or post Jay-Z lyrics on Facebook to woo the ladies. As today is the focal point of many online protests, here’s one that includes some pretty damn famous people, ones that the bill is suppose to protect from the terror from the interwebs and those dastardly digital pirates. See, they are among the millions that have used the internet rather successfully in building that fame and know its not about stealing babies and forcing kittens to do dumb things on video (ok, that last one is debatable).
I should probably apologize now for the misleading title, I have no proof that Neil Gaiman formed this group or that Aziz Ansari has any flame based superpowers (I did try to look it up on Wikipedia, but… yea). Joined by Mythbuster Adam Savage, rockers and YuoTube superstars OK Go , Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor and, the guys from Lonely Island (Andy Samberg, Jorma Taccone and Akiva Schaffer) they present an open letter to Congress opposing the bill.
Diplomatically, they are “grateful for the measures policymakers have enacted to protect our works,” but clearly state that it is more damaging than it is helpful. “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,” they write.
Take for example, oh I don’t know… the crappy photoshop I did for this article. Under SOPA it’s very very illegal, multiple copyright infringements (not to mention lazy use of the clone tool). With PIPA in place Nerdbastards.com could be shut down permanently because of it, without due process. It took me 5 minutes, but it could cost me 5 years in jail.
Personally, I just want to thank the undersigned for using their louder (cause they are famous) voices for this. Hopefully it’s loud enough to shut down this maddness.
Fight the good fight, famous folks or as Adam Savage says, “It’s clobberin time!”
Hit the jump to read the full letter.
We, the undersigned, are musicians, actors, directors, authors, and producers. We make our livelihoods with the artistic works we create. We are also Internet users.
We are writing to express our serious concerns regarding the PROTECT IP Act (PIPA) and the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA).
As creative professionals, we experience copyright infringement on a very personal level. Commercial piracy is deeply unfair and pervasive leaks of unreleased films and music regularly interfere with the integrity of our creations. We are grateful for the measures policymakers have enacted to protect our works.
We, along with the rest of society, have benefited immensely from a free and open Internet. It allows us to connect with our fans and reach new audiences. Using social media services like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, we can communicate directly with millions of fans and interact with them in ways that would have been unimaginable just a few years ago.
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.
We urge Congress to exercise extreme caution and ensure that the free and open Internet, upon which so many artists rely to promote and distribute their work, does not become collateral damage in the process.
Kevin Devine, Musician
Barry Eisler, Author
Neil Gaiman, Author
Lloyd Kaufman, Filmmaker
Zoë Keating, Musician
The Lonely Island
Daniel Lorca, Musician (Nada Surf)
Erin McKeown, Musician
Samantha Murphy, Musician
Amanda Palmer, Musician (The Dresden Dolls)
Adam Savage, Special Effects Artist (MythBusters)
Hank Shocklee, Music Producer (Public Enemy, The Bomb Squad)
Johnny Stimson, Musician
Category: Nerd Culture