22
Jan

SOPA & PIPA: From a metalhead’s perspective

We are right in the heat of talks over and over on the topic of Internet copyright infringement and the full weight of the US government, being thrown down on any entity who wishes to even come close to making it possible for someone to download protected intellectual property without permission from the music / software / entertainment industries.

But here is the big question, from my point of view (a metalhead’s position): How does this all affect me and what are the implications for the future of Heavy Metal under this ruling, should it get passed into full effect?

Right now the focus is on the innocent file-sharers who are not pirates, they face hardships ahead. But there is also some focus on the fact that this is seen as a breach on the freedoms of the citizens of the world. A malign against the WWW generation who wants “free” to be the salient of the day.

I read a few days ago how the government has already leaped into action and seized $millions in what it stated were illegal sales of protected material. From the news it seemed that this was valid and criminals had been brought to justice in that case. So no doubt there is some genuine applications for such an act, to try remove the scourge of thieves who seek to undermine honest companies who bring us our entertainment.

One of the biggest issues I see with the music industry though, is not just so much the piracy or giving away / sharing of licenced material, but the listeners view of value of said music. I heard that there was a recent pole which showed most young people felt that music should be free and they place no financial value on it. Of course this is not true for everyone, but many young people do feel that way, ask them and you find many download music free of charge, which legally should have been paid for. I do agree with David Draiman’s comments, when he said that many fans make up for it through buying merch and attending shows, but he also said that due to the labels taking larger percentages of such revenues now, it would be fair if the artists took a nominal fee for some music downloads and I see that he has a point.

While I also read on another site, how Duff McKagen feels that PIPA (Protect Intellectual Property Act) and SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) are valid methods of preserving the arts and maintaining viability of the entertainment industry. Or at least that is how I understood his view. He felt that the global online community did not come to the rescue of the music business when it saw circa 50% of its business disappear due to illegal downloads. In my opinion, there is some sense to this, but I don’t think that its the responsibility of the general public to look out for the interests of big business. If their copyright is being infringed upon, they can handle it with all their $ and lawyers. But when the rights of the world come into question, our very freedoms, in order to make corporations richer, then that offends me.

Sorry Duff, you’re cool but you;re a rich rock star. Us mere mortals are more worried about freedom of information and less about royalties for artists, many of which actually earn more than most people. For those who are not rich and have to struggle, I feel most of them are likely better artists for it and if they keep at it with determination, they will make it, unless they don’t have the talent in the first place. For me, there are way too many people looking for overnight success, they would rather go on American Idol than work hard on the circuit and earn their chops and fan-base through some sweat and grit. That is why most American Idol winners are one hit wonders.

As a true blue metal fan, I try to be honest, look at the big picture and see where this is going. I have paid for countless concert tickets, albums, T-shirts etc. I buy magazines and DVD’s. I spend a large portion of my disposable income on the Heavy Metal industry, because if people like myself did not do this, there simply would not be an industry and we would lose many of the bands we love, as they would be forced to spend time earning money in another sector. We live in a capitalist monetary society, unless that changes, bands will need an income and so we need to either provide that as the fans and beneficiaries of their trade, or we need to accept the decline of our music and identity.

We have for the first time in a decade, seen the Pop genre outsell the Rock genre in album sales. This is because of such things as illegal file sharing and not because Pop is better or even that its fans buy more music. On the contrary, metal fans in particular tend to buy albums for its art work and collection, where most pop fans stick to downloading singles for the most part.

I pride myself with owning my Metal CD collection, I love the album art, the sleeves with the photo’s and lyrics sheets. I enjoy the purchase and the delivery. I feel good when I walk into a high street store and come out with a new CD. I like when I see a new album come through the post. It’s exciting for me as a fan. Back when I was a kid, CD’s cost way more, double in fact what they do now. I simply do not understand why a true fan would not wish to contribute to the success of their favourite groups and support our scene.

No doubt austerity is not helping, but this is a situation that has been getting worse since before the recession hit. We have to acknowledge that SOPA and PIPA are not the solution, but we do need one.

Artwork: LeetMonkey


  • iamthemaxx

    While you may bag him out, Reznor made a shit load giving an album away for free (though you could pay what you want), and then selling other limited editions. He raked in the cash with that.
    Instead of having the labels take 90% of the income for themselves he stuck his own head out and took a rather profitable gamble. Sure it’s not something every artist can do but it’s becoming easier and easier everyday.

    The solution is a free market and utilising the facilities that already exist and ditching the old gate keepers, who are really the only ones in danger of dying.

  • Foork

    Yeah, Trent is an exception, unfortunately a lot of other bands simply can’t afford to let people download their stuff for free and pay/donate whatever they want… They need serious backing from a label, and labels are going down so, it’s a clusterfuck.

  • Bongwarrior

    If you give a child a toy, they will play with it. Give people unprotected digital media, they will share it.

    When a new ‘mega’ video game is released why does it garner worldwide attention, and sell zillions of copies on the day of release ? Because the games companies long ago invested in the technology to make it extremely hard to copy their product. Little Johnny can’t borrow the latest X-Box360 game disc and bash out 20 copies in his bedroom for his mates, they all have to buy it if they want to play it.

    The record industry could have spent the cash to protect their artists works, but chose not to. Now they are reaping what they have sown but once again are they throwing money at the problem to make future product safe from copying ? No, they want the whole of society to change instead while they continue to bleat.

  • Alex

    I don’t think the game comparison works, online gaming is huge, and it’s just hard to have pirated PS3 or Xbox games and be allowed on their networks. Whereas music is usually an individual experience.

    If you wanted to listen to music with friends over the internet, it would be easy to implement that ‘technology.’ Unfortunately it’s not the same thing at all.

    People still pirate the shit out of video games, by the way… The gaming industry is just lucky to have such a massive online community who’d rather pay and play online properly than get banned from PSN or XBL and have their lives destroyed :D

  • iamthemaxx

    Sure they can, ever heard of Kickstarter?

    Bands don’t need labels to tour either, and most bands make a fuckload more while touring than they ever would selling CDs etc.

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