I finally submitted my electronic signature to the petition to congress to oppose the bill that will remove our Internet freedoms (SOPA). I thought I'd share with you the letter I wrote under the section, "Tell your story"…I'm the sixth most popular DJ on the music site Blip.fm. My station gained this popularity because I focus on playing things that are underplayed, be it under-the-radar indie bands or long-forgotten b-sides of yesteryear. The music I play is primarily not music you will hear on commercial radio, but it is protected by copyright. I do this for free–it is my passion to help people discover these fantastic bands, as so many have tired of the repetitive and trite options available through commercial radio. In order to comply with the demands of record labels, the site does not allow file uploads so most of the songs are streamed from YouTube uploaders who are violating copyright by posting the vidoes.
If the SOPA Bill passes, the site where I play music, and any streaming site like it, will be outlawed. Moreover, I would face a ten-year prison sentence for hosting my amateur radio show. This despite the fact that none of the songs I play on my station are available for download, and links are provided to Amazon and iTunes for those who are ready to purchase. Professionally, I work in publicity and marketing so I understand that these bands need the publicity sites like Blip.fm provides. Sadly, many bands willingly sign detrimental contracts so they can gain access to the corporate labels' big-budget publicity campaigns. It is absurd that a label will pay millions of dollars to have "street teams" that give away free CDs at hip bars in major cities–all while claiming that sharing music is hurting their business model.
It is equally absurd to put the sentencing guidelines for copywrite infringement in the same range as child rape or armed robbery. I find it hard to believe that even the most willfull copywrite infringer on the planet is committing the same harm as rapists and robbers, nor do they represent a danger to society. I should hope that if SOPA passes and I am charged with a felony, someone can explain to me how the payola-backed radio DJs are upstanding members of society and those with streaming radio stations are criminals.