Internet piracy from the eyes of a musician

By Kevin VanAntwerpen | 12/1/11 12:00am

I’m sure by now you’ve heard of SOPA and PIPA (the Stop Online Piracy Act and the Protect IP Act) – two bills currently in the works, which would allow the U.S. government to censor the Internet and hold websites accountable for the way their users interact. In short, this is a broad-stroke act to eliminate copyright infringement.

Coming from someone invested in the industry that stands the most to lose from Internet freedom – this cannot happen.

Let me dote on you with a little bit of confessional transparency first. Chasing the Sky stopped giving a shit about Internet piracy the day we released our album for free online ( – go grab it). Even with that said, I don’t think we really cared all that much beforehand.

That’s to be expected, though, right? We’re a small band. Even if someone uploads our stuff to a torrent website, it’s not like we’d be ripped off millions of dollars or anything.

But it’s possible someday that we could make a lot of money off our record sales. If my opinion ever changes, feel free to print this article and paper cut me with it.

Because freedom of speech is far, far more important than the struggle against Internet piracy. These two acts would allow the government unprecedented rights to take down almost any website for even a small infraction. Simply put, it’s placing way too much power in the wrong place.

To quote Democratic senator Ron Wyden, an opposer of the bill:

“Bills like PIPA and SOPA will do lasting damage to one of the fastest growing, job-creating sectors of our economy: the Internet. The at-all-costs approach that these bills take to protect the intellectual property sacrifices cyber-security while restricting free speech and innovation.”

And I’d say that taking a little more time to find a way to make the music industry stable again is a cheap price to pay for freedom of speech and innovation.

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