1
Feb

SOPA – We asked for opinions

The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) is a very controversial subject. We found that out when we asked 20 musicians, 3 artists, 1 band manager and 1 PR agent for their opinion on the matter, and only 6 of them finally sent us a statement.

We do understand that some people don’t want to comment on the bill though. Not everyone is going to understand and agree with what these people think. They are musicians after all, not average internet users. So their opinion on the matter might split their fanbase into two camps, and we can definitely understand why they don’t want to risk that.

With that being said, with this article we’re trying to give those people a chance to speak on the matter, since they would be affected by it in different ways than most people. Five musicians (including one who is also the director of an independent record label), one artist and finally the writers of this website speak out on the Stop Online Piracy Act and piracy in general right after the jump.

Now, why would our opinion really matter? Dose of Metal and other similar music blogs rely heavily on Youtube and PR agencies distributing music for promotion purposes through one-click hosts. Without that, this site would barely be able to exist in its current form.

Musicians and other artists would face an even bigger challenge, if this bill went through. Just think of all the internet promotion they couldn’t count on anymore.

Keep all that in mind when you’re reading the rest of this story after the jump.


Anders Colsefni (Painface, ex-Slipknot)

This act, while meant to protect artist’s rights, will also spell THE DOOM!!! for many bands (mine included) who require the internet to just simply get their name out there. It will really only protect rich, already successful artists, and fuck the little fish, trying to get at that extra wafer of shit we call food. Our music is MEANT to be shared. The industry has changed, and the musicians have already learned how to roll with it. It’s the record label accountants and attorneys who are probably doing the bitching.

Protect the rich, fuck the poor. No surprise it‘s a republican bill.

David Thompson (Enfuneration)

Any form of censorship isn’t good, but if a website is ripping off bands by making money on their name, whether it be merch, or music, isn‘t good either. I don‘t feel sites like YouTube should be affected, since you can’t download from there, but just share and enjoy a ton of media, that otherwise you would never get to see. Sites like that really don‘t make money off of said artists, but from advertising and the people that frequent their sites.

There will need to be some really strict rules that would have to be enforced, and as far as internet stuff, someone will figure out a way around all of it eventually. They always do…

Eric Cutler (Autopsy)

I don’t know a whole lot about SOPA but it’s highly unlikely to be effective in my opinion. I understand the why but the solution has not yet been found. Piracy will never be stopped in the information age.

To me, music is the most important anyways. I want to write, perform, and I hope that others enjoy it in the end.”

Yngve Bolt Christiansen (Blood Red Throne)

I think downloading music should be legal. Sharing digital music is such an important PR source in the music biz today. The scene is so huge, the labels are pulling out and it takes a lot not to blend in with 1,000 others. By letting people download music, they can get to know bands on their own terms which in many cases will result in new fans also the music will have a bigger chance of traveling to new territories. The band might not earn as much per costumer (downloader/buyer), but the number of costumers would be much higher. 100% of 100 is less than 20% of 1,000.

And also the more people that get in to the band, the more friends will be told. Though I think this goes for users and not abusers as everything else. It’s a great tool to find bands, but when you find the right band it’s necessary to support them by going to the shows, buying the merch and also buy the vinyl/CD. There will always be people taking advantage of the goods, but it doesn’t make sense to make it illegal for everyone, just because someone does it wrong (May I say alcohol??).

I love downloading, and I find new bands all the time. And that makes it so much more fun to go to the local record store with cash in my pocket to find all the cool vinyls or CDs I found online. Share the music, download as much as you want, then go to the show and buy the t-shirts and vinyls!!

Ben Whitfield (director of Condate Records, guitarist; Colonel Blast)

As an artist, the idea of people paying for the music we create is a dream come true. The idea that someone heard something we created and felt moved enough to contribute to our band bank account is something we will always be eternally grateful for. That being said, monetizing our music is never the driving force behind creating it. We do it because we can’t not do it. When the ego of believing you deserve something from an industry that owes you nothing is set aside and you allow yourself to concentrate fully on creating something truly worthy of being listened to, maybe then you will actually create something that resonates with an audience. Success will be a by-product of your truly amazing art. When you approach music like we do Piracy becomes an irrelevance. We understand that the music we create is an acquired taste and understand that it probably won’t ever make us any money. And that is ok. I’m not saying it wouldn’t be nice to live off of being in a band, but just because I write a song and say I’m a musician doesn’t entitle me to anything more than the self gratification of putting something I am proud of out there. If other people are moved by it then it is mission accomplished in my book.

With regards the SOPA and PIPA bills, I do completely understand that people who are already in the business of making money from music and films want to ensure that the products they produce aren’t just taken for free. They operate in a realm I will personally never realistically reach with my own record label and as such again my primary concern is releasing music that I believe is good and any monetary rewards are just a bonus. My problem with the bills is that they are suitably direct enough to have serious ramifications but vague enough for companies to manipulate any which way they want. This will lead to censorship on a mass scale of many sites and possibly over things the site owners have no control of such as users comments. If these bills had been around at the start of the Internet you wouldn’t have sites like YouTube, Facebook, MySpace, Google etc etc… (the list is endless), because they could be deemed conduits for copyright protected media. The internet as we know it will cease to exist if these bills go through as they are, taking with it genuine, useful, non-illegal sites and services with it. So as it stands, I wouldn’t want these bills to be passed.

Dusty Peterson (artist)

I didn’t support SOPA at all (who did other than politicians and corporations anyway?), but I still think people should pay for what they consume. I totally support stuff like Spotify and even the gray area stuff like uploading things onto Youtube (and just streaming in general), but I don’t think it’s right to just go to these metal blogs and download away to your heart’s content. If you are owning something for free, I think that is wrong. That is stealing, no matter how you try to rationalize it.

And in the end, it just seems so counterproductive to me. Honestly, if I like a band then I want to hear more from that band and in order to do that the band needs money to cover it’s costs. So I prefer a system where when I buy something from them, they see that someday. I know that merch and shows are apparently the way to go, but I have enough fucking black shirts to cover an army and my time is limited. I don’t have time to go to every single show that rolls through town.

So this whole “if you want to support the band, buy a shirt or go see them live!” thing just kind of irritates me. How about no matter what I decide to do the band gets a decent piece?

It’s just kind of a shitty situation that I don’t think has a right and wrong answer. The only thing *I* can do as a consumer is try to do the right thing.”

Alex

I have to admit, I also download illegally, but I am honest about doing something morally and legally wrong, and I end up buying most of the products I like, anyway — unlike many others.

My problem with most people these days, is that they disguise their theft as ‘right to free information’ or ‘freedom of speech.’ That’s bullshit, you’re stealing, own up to it.

The word ‘greed’ is thrown around a lot when talking about labels, but how are we not greedy ourselves? We want anything and everything for free, at the click of a button. We don’t care how much time and money was invested in it.

Something has to be done about that, even though I might not like it. But do I agree with SOPA/PIPA/ACTA/whatever-else-acronym? No. It seems too much, it’s like they want payback for what has been done so far, and I’m just afraid innocent bystanders will end up paying for it, too. Internet is mostly community-driven nowadays, and you can’t police every single submission efficiently.

SOPA, to me, sounds like the legal equivalent of not being able to solve a puzzle, so you get angry set the table on fire. This is a delicate issue, and it should be treated accordingly. SOPA is the total opposite of that.

Also… On one hand I admire the way people came together and stood up for what they believed in, but on the other hand, this is mostly about nerds wanting their porn to stay free.”

Guido


I think that the SOPA bill is run and supported by the wrong people. I do think that there needs something to be done about illegal downloading, mainly of music, but this bill is designed to help the wrong people. Instead of trying to make the MPAA and the RIAA happy, they should talk to the people who are really losing money; the artists.

Sure, the MPAA, and more so the RIAA, have steadily been losing money over the course of the last decade because of piracy. Nobody can deny that. These organizations are multi-billion dollar giants though. What about the bands, whose existence is in jeopardy because people don’t buy their music, but instead “share” it? The only logical way to help those, who actually do need the help, is to talk to them.

If those responsible for the SOPA bill did talk to the artists themselves, they’d find out that the internet, in this day and age, is the biggest and most important promotion tool available. Shutting down places where people share their favorite music is not the right solution. The bill would have to be way more complex to crack down on piracy, but at the same time make good use of the internet’s resources to support the little man.

The SOPA bill, and all the other similar bills popping up left and right lately, are too one-dimensional. Instead of not making prisoners and trying to push this bill through, no matter what the majority thinks, those responsible should listen. There is a big uproar for a reason. People don’t agree with what you’re trying to do.

This is not a case of black and white. First you’ll have to understand all the shades of grey before you try to color it all black. Talk to those who are really affected, including artists and the average internet user. And then, finally, try to work out a bill that can really change something for the better.”

Simo

I hate SOAP because I’m a metalhead and I don’t take baths. On a serious note, I already kind of stated my opinions during the blackout day and days prior and following it.

I understand it sucks to be a musician today, which is what a lot of the people who fight for “freedom of information online” simply seem oblivious to (also, be honest and call yourself a pirate. You give people who actually give a shit about online freedoms a bad name).

What I do find hilarious in the whole situation is that following my supportive posts over Lamb of God and Randy Blythe’s opinions, I went to watch their new video, and I couldn’t, because it’s blocked in my country.

Things would probably be a thousand times worse if SOPA passed. And I have to ask, what’s the point? Okay, I didn’t get to see a new video, did that really help anyone? Not to mention it’s downright a censorship tool and who knows how it could be abused.

Ideally, people should just pay for the stuff they use, but I don’t think trying to kill of pirates will do any good, you simply have to have a better service, and the biggest problem is that competing with “free” is kind of hard.”


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