Obligatory SOPA and PIPA post

Well, it’s January 18th and you’ll probably notice a lot of websites doing things today in protest of the SOPA and PIPA bills being pushed through congress right now. I love music but I’m tired of the record industry (not the same as the music industry which includes companies that make instruments, run studios and venues, teach people how to play instruments and other things) trying to ruin music for everyone all in the name of profits. It used to be that record companies would (illegally) pay radio stations to play their music and the public, with few other ways of hearing new music, would pick and choose which acts they like from the small pool of talent they were exposed to. The record labels did the job of picking the diamonds out of the rough and exposing us to them. Now with the internet there are dozens of ways to find new music. Facebook and other social media sites, message boards, music news and fan sites and even blogs like this one. Online you can talk to people you’ve never met (and probably never will) about even the most obscure of sub-genres and share opinions on new (and old) music. The record labels do not like this, they want to control what we are exposed to, limiting our choices to only the media they can make money from. They say SOPA and PIPA is about preventing piracy but it is not. It’s about changing the way you find new culture and art, and changing the internet so that they can shut down websites that they don’t like, and broadening what websites can be shut down for. It’s about controlling what media you are exposed to and making sure it is only the media they can directly make money off of. They don’t care about the artists as they claim, they use shady contracts and even sketchier accounting practices to prevent paying them any way they can. They certainly don’t care about the art, it’s just a revenue stream to them. Look at who wins at the Grammy Awards and you’ll see just how out of touch the people running the record industry are with actual creative and groundbreaking music. They want to go back to a world where they tell us what to buy and how to buy it and they need to control the internet to do this. To paraphrase George Carlin here, they’re only interested in one thing, more for them and less for you.

I know that my site isn’t huge and I don’t have the reach of sites like Google, Wikipedia, Craigslist or even the Metal Archives, which are all doing things today to protest these horrible censorship bills, but I didn’t want to be silent about the issue. This isn’t a right or left issue, and unless you’re a record executive (or a lawmaker who is being paid off by one in an election year) you should be against these bills as well. On January 24th the Senate is voting on this and the plan is to have people call their senators on January 23rd (when the Senate is back in session). I know a lot of you are in the District itself, taxation without representation and all that, but you can still call a congressman or senator about this. If nothing else I’d ask that you take some time to see what the EFF (Electronic Freedom Foundation) has to say on this issue here. You can enter your zip code in there and they’ll pull up the contact information for your representative and senators. If nothing else you can at least check out the image below (click it to see it larger so you don’t have to squint) and spread the word about these awful bills designed to break the internet to preserve the antiquated revenue streams of some fading corporations.

There is a list of companies that should be ashamed for supporting these internet censorship bills in the name of profit. Some are music and entertainment related and some are downright surprising. A few of note are: Fender, Gibson and Taylor guitars, Bose, Shure, Peavey, Monster and Toshiba electronics, Harley Davidson, Ford, Phillip Morris and Zippo, Rite Aid, Nintendo and Electronic Arts (EA Sports), Nike, Addidas, Reebok and New Balance, Tiffany’s, Rolex, Oakley, Coach, Dolce & Gabbana, Chanel, Liz Claiborne, Ralph Lauren, Nervous Tattoo (Ed Hardy), Revlon, L’Oréal, sports brands NFL, MLB, NHL, NBA, PGA, UFC, WWE as well as typical asshat companies like Sony, Disney, Time Warner, Viacom and Wal-Mart. You can read the whole list, which includes contact info, by going here.

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