I figured that rather than making my blog go dark in support of the SOPA protests, I would chime in with my feelings. As a writer and musician I understand the threat that online piracy represents and that people need to pay for the media that they consume. That being said I do think the legislation in its current form is too broad to perform as intended. Especially when current measures under the DMCA are working.
Supporters of this legislation would have you believe that billions of dollars are lost to online piracy and with it jobs. I cannot really speak to that but I do have to question their methodology for arriving at that figure. I do not accept the assumption that every piece of pirated content is a lost sale. I didn’t buy that when the music industry first used it as their argument against Napster. My decision to purchase content is always weighted against many factors one of which is, do I want to support this creator. There are plenty of movies that I will sit through but very few that I want to own and sit through again. Just as when I was using Napster I downloaded many songs to listen to; some I liked and bought the artist’s CD while others I didn’t like so I deleted them.
Again, do not let this issue be distilled down to a matter of you either support SOPA or you are for online piracy. Anyone who pushes that line needs to be asked; do you support the free exchange of ideas and information or do you advocate for a strong central body that can turn off the flow of information at their choosing. Artists need to be supported. That does not mean that we need legislation to guarantee that support at the sacrifice of our core principles. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.