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Trent Reznor, MGMT write open letter to Congress in opposition of SOPA/PIPA

on January 19, 2012, 12:14pm

sopa feat Trent Reznor, MGMT write open letter to Congress in opposition of SOPA/PIPA

The Internet has found itself a new ally in its ongoing fight against SOPA and PIPA. As Billboard reports, Trent Reznor, MGMT, The Lonely Island, Nada Surf’s Daniel Lorca, and OK Go have all co-signed an open letter to Congress expressing their opposition to the legislation. The letter was also signed by comedian Aziz Ansari, fillmaker Lloyd Kaufman, MythBusters‘ Adam Savage, and other members of the entertainment industry.

“We fear that the broad new enforcement powers provided under SOPA and PIPA could be easily abused against legitimate services like those upon which we depend. These bills would allow entire websites to be blocked without due process, causing collateral damage to the legitimate users of the same services – artists and creators like us who would be censored as a result,” the letter reads.

“We are deeply concerned that PIPA and SOPA’s impact on piracy will be negligible compared to the potential damage that would be caused to legitimate Internet services. Online piracy is harmful and it needs to be addressed, but not at the expense of censoring creativity, stifling innovation or preventing the creation of new, lawful digital distribution methods.” You can read the letter in its entirety below.

As Billboard also reports, a number of musicians have also voiced their opposition to the legislation via their personal websites and social media platforms. Peter Gabriel blacked out his website for the entire day on Wednesday, while Radiohead posted an Anti-PIPA bar across the top of their website. Others including The Roots’ ?uestlove, A-Trak, and Theophilus London have voiced their opposition on Twitter.

In wake of these protests, a number of lawmakers have withdrawn their support of SOPA and PIPA, according to The Washington Post. Representative Darrell Issa has also formally introduced an alternative piece of legislation titled OPEN, which would call on the International Trade Commission (ITC) to handle overseas “rogue” Web sites rather than the Justice Department, reports PCMag.com.

“OPEN is a targeted, effective solution to the problem of foreign, rogue Web sites stealing from American artists and innovators,” Issa said in a statement. “Today’s Internet blackout has underscored the flawed approach taken by SOPA and PIPA to the real problem of intellectual property infringement. OPEN is a smarter way to protect taxpayers’ rights while protecting the Internet.”

Stay tuned for more on this story as it develops. The aforementioned letter is posted below:

An open letter to Washington from Artists and Creators

We, the undersigned, are musicians, actors, directors, authors, and producers. We make our livelihoods with the artistic works we create. We are also Internet users.

We are writing to express our serious concerns regarding the PROTECT IP Act (PIPA) and the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA).

As creative professionals, we experience copyright infringement on a very personal level. Commercial piracy is deeply unfair and pervasive leaks of unreleased films and music regularly interfere with the integrity of our creations. We are grateful for the measures policymakers have enacted to protect our works.

We, along with the rest of society, have benefited immensely from a free and open Internet. It allows us to connect with our fans and reach new audiences. Using social media services like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, we can communicate directly with millions of fans and interact with them in ways that would have been unimaginable just a few years ago.

We fear that the broad new enforcement powers provided under SOPA and PIPA could be easily abused against legitimate services like those upon which we depend. These bills would allow entire websites to be blocked without due process, causing collateral damage to the legitimate users of the same services – artists and creators like us who would be censored as a result.

We are deeply concerned that PIPA and SOPA’s impact on piracy will be negligible compared to the potential damage that would be caused to legitimate Internet services. Online piracy is harmful and it needs to be addressed, but not at the expense of censoring creativity, stifling innovation or preventing the creation of new, lawful digital distribution methods.

We urge Congress to exercise extreme caution and ensure that the free and open Internet, upon which so many artists rely to promote and distribute their work, does not become collateral damage in the process.

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