All of us should have heard of it by now: SOPA, the crazy bill American Congress is trying to pass to kill off the freedom offered by the Internet not found anywhere else on Earth, and not found anytime before the Internet's inception and popular mass reception. In a nutshell, SOPA is trying to turn the Internet into the world's second China/North Korea under the very fishy-sounding premise of protecting artistes and their copyrighted work.
It is pretty interesting then, to see what metal musicians have to say about this. Of course, I'll bet many other musicians from many different genres of music probably have already talked/argued at length about this earthshaking cyber event on their various online platforms, but since we're Metal Injection, let's just look at snippets of what some of these hard rock/metal musicians have been saying.
Trivium's Matt Heafy (<3 you Matt):
SOPA is an explosive-device tucked between the legs of a smiling, waving buisness-man in a teddy-bear costume, asking if you want a Popsicle out of his cellar.
In legal terms – SOPA is textbook overboard. It’s stated aim is to curb online piracy & restore and protect the rights of content creators. That’s a noble goal. But it gives it’s wielders oh so much more power than that. It’s like giving a Tomahawk missile to an exterminator to take out a bee hive from your front porch. Sure, the bees are dead but so is everything else in a hundred yard radius.
This bill, if passed – would set our forward-thinking country back into the informational-dark ages.
The head honchos of the music and movie businesses who are backing this SOPA need to go meet up with and make friends with tech guys in Silicon Valley instead of fighting. They should go out for drinks and figure it out together one night. Surely there is a better solution out there that supports and protects the rights of us content creators online but one that doesn’t potentially cripple the free flow of innovation and thought online.
See his full rant here.
Lamb Of God's Randy Blythe (bleah):
I would like to see some of these fucks look into their own data bases, catalog everything there, then release a statement w/#’s. #’s that show EXACTLY how much of their content is copyrighted material & how much is stuff that falls under public domain. These websites are not some sort of altruistic creative expression charities. They are multi-million dollar BUSINESSES.
It’s all about money, & the few that REALLY make it. Don’t even fucking kid yourselves that it’s anything else. People are all like “fuck the music business fucks!” AS IF the owners of these file sharing sites aren’t just digital oil sheiks themselves. WAKE UP.
Disturbed's David Draiman (<3 you David):
I HAVE ALWAYS BEEN IN FAVOR OF, THATS CORRECT, IN FAVOR OF FLIE SHARING AND DOWNLOADING DIGITAL MUSIC SINCE DAY 1. I HAVE NEVER BLAMED THE CONSUMER FOR SIMPLY TAKING ADVANTAGE OF SOMETHING THAT IS READILY AND EASILY AVAILABLE TO THEM, AND ENABLES THE SPREAD OF GREAT MUSIC AND ART TO FANS OF IT ALL OVER THE GLOBE.
WE AS ARTISTS LOVE AND APPRECIATE OUR FANS MORE THAN YOU KNOW. WE KNOW THAT WE COULD NOT EXIST WITHOUT YOU, BUT WE DONT STEAL FROM YOU, NOT IN ANY WAY, NOT EVER. WRONG IS WRONG, NO MATTER WHAT COLOR YOU PAINT IT, OR HOW YOU TRY TO SPIN IT.
I AM AGAINST SOPA AND PIPA, BECAUSE THEY LIMIT PEOPLES FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION AND FREEDOM OF SPEECH, NOT BECAUSE THEY ARE TRYING TO PROTECT THE RIGHTS OF ARTISTS EVERYWHERE.
See his full rant here, and someone needs to tell David that he forgot to leave the Caps Lock key off.
DevilDriver's Dez Fafara (bleah x 2, and honestly, he sounds quite juvenile in these comments):
“Feds shut down “MEGA-UPLOAD” ! Good ! Shut down all sites pirating COPYWRITTEN material ! Fuck your PC view ! It’s illegal &it’s killing underground art-taking the food from my kids mouths,& putting thousands who create distribute and perpetuate art outOfBusiness”
“Yea let’s bitch and moan that you can’t get music or movies for free anymore ! The word is thief I believe !”
“Pirate COPY written material to profit,to gain revenue from adds on there sites and the artist gets nothing ! CEO of mega was making 110Mill”
“And the Artist that says I would rather be poor than let these sites be shut down is ignorant and pandering and PC and Wrong and a Liar !”
“But Dez I downloaded for free then came to a show ! How does that pay back the record company ? O yea – that’s why the labels want 360Deals”
“If I download and I like it I go buy it ? Go to iTunes listen for free then pay if you want it – it doesn’t work backwards sorry #truth”
“If it wasn’t for illegal downloading I would have never of heard of your band? Fucked up logic”
“I sat here for days listening to this shit from all you and artists I admire some of which are so flawed Privacy on the Internet? Hilarious”
“O in these economic times it’s tough so we steal CDs and movies #Thief !”
“A-story Clouds over calif had 1 million views on utube and our label removed it I was stoked as you should go to the artist or record site”
“You people throw the word Government around like you have privacy-Sorry to inform you big brother has got you from day one Socialsecurity #”
“What have we learned That privacy is false that thinking your securing privacy on a world net is false that Stealing material is wrong”
“And to all the news sites that pick up on these conversations from myself or other artists put our words on your site so u get more cash”
“For adds u owe us ! Cause this site @evilriver is COPYWRITTEN under the heading #imOn2U”
So what has happened so far? While there is a high possibility that SOPA will not see the light of day anymore, this very informative timeline that tracks the progress of this entire SOPA fiasco tells us that on January 18, 2012, "At least 13 senators backed away from the bill in one day. 5 co-sponsors dropped their support of the bill: Blunt, Boozman, Cardin, Hatch, and Rubio". Which means there are still a few buggers out there stubbornly trying to push this bill forward. Hell, even though President Barack Obama himself has said that he doesn't support SOPA, we've all got to remember that he belongs to only one of the three branches making up the American federal government. What he says doesn't necessarily equate to a finalized decision on a huge bill such as SOPA, and bitch all you want (ie. "But he's the goddamned President!) but this was how the country's government was built to be. In short, this whole hullabaloo is like trying to steel yourself up for a potential giant meteor impact that will pulverize Earth; you don't really know for sure if it will happen, but if it doesn't hit, it's back to normal business online. If it does hit, kiss goodbye to all signs of sentient civilization online.
The first victim has already bitten the dust, and it is none other than MegaUpload. Owner and main founder Kim Dotcom was arrested along with a few of his buddies on January 20, 2012, and let's observe if the others like Mediafire and Isohunt will follow suit. Honestly Randy Blythe, many metal fans probably only heard Lamb Of God's music because they downloaded your music via websites like MegaUpload. A free Internet is bound to give rise to crimes, but it is also because of this unrestricted freedom that gives so many bands (including your own) free and widespread exposure to the world at the speed of light. It's a double-edged sword, and love it or not, it may have been your poison, but it was a poison with rather decent side effects as well.
To learn more about SOPA, read this excellent page on Wikipedia.
Metal's origins were built on rebellious principles and unconventional sounds, and it was only with the free Internet that it got to where it is today (even though it is still not that widely accepted by the public yet, but hey, at least most of our non-metal friends have heard of Iron Maiden and even Opeth now!). It is hard to imagine a metal world without the cheap, publicizing prowess of a free Internet.