If the bills pass, the damage it can do to the Internet, entrepreneurship, free speech, and most importantly job creation... is truly catastrophic and detrimental to modern society.
The Internet. It has completely revolutionized the world and how we obtain new information. When we consider the evolution of the music industry, many of today's biggest stars may have never been discovered if it weren't for the creation of YouTube and SoundCloud. Because the Internet is the world's stage, other free-speech platforms such as Google, Facebook, and Twitter have allowed the average person to make their dreams a reality. On a global and historic basis, some of the most monumental events throughout the past few years have been shared the instant it occurs, being witnessed by billions around the world thanks to the revolution of the Internet. Music has been discovered and shared to an audience labels and PR groups could never obtain singlehandedly if it weren't for your favorite music blogs and platforms. While the live music industry has been struggling, there is no doubt that the EDM sector is the most successful sector in the music industry today all because of the innovation of social media. Now imagine if there were restrictions to this phenomenal and vital medium.
The Senate's Protect IP Act and the House's E-Parasites Act truly puts the future of the music industry and the entertainment industry as a whole in harms way. These bills have been positioned as necessary actions in order to prevent "online piracy" from sites outside of the US. A simple vote in favor for the bills can completely jeopardize the future of our Internet, as America will be the first country to censor the Internet from the entertainment industry. Some of America's most successful companies of the 21st century have started as Internet start-up companies including Facebook, Twitter, and Google, but with the two bills currently in legislature, the components and main backbones of these companies' success may be altered and jeopardized forever. While lobbyists have pushed these bills from the content industry, there has been no input from the technology industry. Alternative distribution platforms like Spotify, SoundCloud, Netflix, and various other premium services that stream audio and video have been developed by the technology industry to help prevent online piracy thanks to the imagineers and innovators of today. If the bills pass, the damage it can do to the Internet, entrepreneurship, free speech, and most importantly job creation that stems from entrepreneurial innovation focusing around the Internet is truly catastrophic and detrimental to modern society.
To better understand these two bills, check out this awesome video from Fight for the Future:
As the recession continues, jobs are harder and harder to come by, but the most successful jobs today come from the ever-growing technology industry. With the invention of the common blog, information has been shared and discovered to the biggest audience out there... the world. What is most important to understand is that the government will cripple new start-ups by allowing companies to sue websites that don't filter their own content enough. Because of the countless lawsuits that can derive from the bill, many of today's best social media could go bankrupt thanks to legal fees and lack of funding. Websites like SoundCloud, YouTube, and Tumblr that allow people to express themselves and use their right of free speech, can look like piracy havens if it gets to the wrong judge in court. What is the biggest issue is that these large corporations will begin to abuse their power and in the long run, it will only be abusing themselves.
Now what does this mean for the future of EDM? As many of our future's top producers, videographers, writers, and business people rely on the Internet to brand their name and images while promoting their expression of works, major companies can hinder their future indefinitely. Up-and-coming producers could have their music taken down or worst-case scenario they could be sued simply by releasing a mashup because they didn't have authorization from major labels. Any service that hosts user generated content is going to have to carefully monitor all information coming in due to the enormous pressure the bill brings forth. If you are trying to be discovered, you are going to have a difficult time because there cannot be any relation of a copy-written song in that specific track. Famous DJs will also be in jeopardy as they would not be able to release mash-ups or remixes on the various social media platforms. Citizens must discover a new alternative to discover the music that touches their soul, and you can say goodbye to your favorite YouTube videos from your epic weekend.
How can you help? This bill is trying to be pushed quickly before citizens realize what is going on. If nothing is done, the innovators, entrepreneurs, and most importantly, the average citizen who uses the Internet as a staple for free speech will be completely destroyed. It is important for us to stand up for our rights and to spread the word quickly. Already over 6,000 sites have signed up, over 1 million emails have been sent to Congress, as well as 3,000 printed letters.
2011 was the year EDM took over and 2012 could quite possibly be the year the Internet killed the EDM star. The only way to truly stop online piracy is if labels, both mainstream and independent, support innovative mediums such as Spotify and SoundCloud. Internet censorship will hinder innovation, conversations and visions of the future. If this bill does pass, Washington will be taking a major step backwards towards the revolution of the digital world, especially as it is the biggest growing industry and the most beneficial industry for the US today.
If Congress had succeeded years ago we wouldn't have had VCRs or even MP3 players. There wouldn't be any Blu-Ray discs and we wouldn't have the technology to see movies from around the world because there would have been no way to convert them into the proper formats so everyone can see their masterpieces. In other words, we'd be blind to what was happening around us. Censorship is real and it's something we all can band together to fight.
For more information, check out the Stop American Censorship website.
Below is a 24-minute documentary (broken up into 3 chunks) about appropriation, creative influence, re-use and intellectual property in the remix age. It’s called Walking on Eggshells and is basically a conversation among various musicians, visual artists, writers and lawyers, all sharing their views on why and how we use and create culture, and how intellectual property law, originally designed to provide people with incentives to create, sometimes hinders creative production far more than it enhances it. The film was a final project for the seminar “Intellectual Property in the Digital Age” at Yale University. I thought you might enjoy it. [-Ed]
Directed and Produced by:
Interviews with (in order of appearance):
DJ Earworm (Jordan Roseman)
DJ Ripley (Larisa Mann)
E. Michael Harrington