Brief Thoughts on SOPA and PIPA

January 19th, 2012 | Posted in News

The internet is abuzz with righteous indignation over the proposed “anti-piracy” legislation currently under consideration by congress, namely the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the PROTECT IP Act (PIPA). I won’t bother to describe the bills…if you don’t know about them by now then welcome to your first time on the internet!

As a creative professional, I hate online piracy and copyright infringement, but I am not willing to kill the patient to cure the disease. These bills are going to be largely ineffective at best, and at worst very damaging to legitimate websites because they allow too much room for abuse. Internet piracy IS a huge problem, and it would be nice if something real could be done about it, but these bills are not the answer. I could go on, but Neil Gaiman and company say it better here than I could:

January 17, 2012

An open letter to Washington from Artists and Creators

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.


Aziz Ansari

Kevin Devine, Musician

Barry Eisler, Author

Neil Gaiman, Author

Lloyd Kaufman, Filmmaker

Zo?´ Keating, Musician

The Lonely Island

Daniel Lorca, Musician (Nada Surf)

Erin McKeown, Musician

Benjamin Goldwasser, MGMT

Andrew VanWyngarden, MGMT

Samantha Murphy, Musician


Amanda Palmer, Musician (The Dresden Dolls)

Quiet Company

Trent Reznor

Adam Savage, Special Effects Artist (MythBusters)

Hank Shocklee, Music Producer (Public Enemy, The Bomb Squad)

Johnny Stimson, Musician


  1. Anonymous says:


  2. Anonymous says:

    AS IT IS CURRENTLY WRITTEN, “We are deeply concerned that PIPA and SOPA‚Äö√Ñ√¥s impact on piracy will be negligible compared to the potential damage that would be caused to legitimate Internet services.”

  3. Sprachen Dan says:

    we know that politicians use every method they can to keep in power…or the government as an entity does so…here in germany things have happened I never thought possible (“Bundestrojaner”….) it shows that the state does not trust its citizens but gets a life of its own…

    I make a living from my own products… but I aboslutely agree, all these bills (do not forget ACTA) will be means to actually kill freedom on the internet…everybody is under threat then to do anything costing him his freedom…

    one more thought: I believe that patents as we know them today actually stifle wealth …it can’t be that Apple stops samsung in germany because they also offer a touchpad…this is war… Apple is dangerous…

    or that the non-productive MPAA can kill internet freedom for their own unimportant interests

    but I digress…there is a study that Germany became successful at a time when there was NO copyright…everybody could use anything…only that way the study argues, Germany was able to move from a rural country to an industrial giant

    if we keep extending patents, perhaps even to DNA and fresh air, we have fascism in my opinion…

    companies are NO people..and I am no leftist



New profile pic courtesy of my self-caricature for the Scott Maiko penned article “Gotcha! Mug Shots of Common (but Despicable) Criminals” from MAD 550

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