Blog of Wax Legal Corner: What Is This SOPA thing?

Image courtesy Flickr user ~Minnea~

Welcome, Ball of Wax listener. Today much of the web is protesting something called SOPA. It’s like the Internet declared a snow day.

What the hell is SOPA and what does it mean for Ball of Wax?

SOPA is proposed legislation from the US government to regulate the way the public Internet works. It is called the Stop Online Piracy Act. It would give centralized authority to the US government to censor your consumption of the Internet on a website by website basis.

That sounds crazy, right?

On Thanksgiving 2010, the popular hip-hop website dajaz1.com was shut down by the US Department of Justice based on verbal authorization from a VP of RIAA. No other evidence was provided. The website remained out of business and in limbo for over a year.

The track that caused the DOJ to act was given to dajaz1 by the track’s record label; they wished to promote it and dajaz1 was one of the most popular blogs for that track’s target audience.

A website that legally connected listeners to new music was shut down and the operators put into serious legal limbo.

SOPA codifies this insanity into law.

Ball of Wax Audio Quarterly is a resource which allows artists to distribute and gain wider audience . . . not unlike dajaz1 did. Would you be pissed off if this resource disappeared or was outlawed without due process? Then you need to act now!

Take action and tell your representatives that SOPA isn’t gonna fly. Tell them that we already have adequate laws for dealing with piracy.

If Levi included a Lady Gaga track on Ball of Wax Volume 27 without her label’s permission, there are already legal avenues for the physical CDs as well as the website. We can trust Levi’s taste and moral compass, such that this would never happen. Ball of Wax respects the original owner’s copyright.

The MPAA and the RIAA need to figure out how to run a business in the digital age, instead of bribing congress for a desperate attempt at control our shared, public interwebs.

If you don’t live in the US, we apologize for our obtuse attempt at regulating a global commons.

If you’ve already taken action, be patient with the Internet’s snow day. Maybe listen to some new music!

About Austin King

Austin King is a Seattle based non-dogmatic Artist / Programmer type human. He is a Web monkey with Mozilla (the community that creates Firefox). He wants you to know that spell check is for the week.
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