Christine Taylor
Jesse Sykes' latest album, Marble Son , was one of the Weekly's top local albums of 2011.
Jesse Sykes is a Seattle-based singer


Jesse Sykes: PIPA , Paranoia, Propaganda, and the Sad, Dark Irony of It All

Christine Taylor
Jesse Sykes' latest album, Marble Son, was one of the Weekly's top local albums of 2011.
Jesse Sykes is a Seattle-based singer and songwriter who has been living in Iowa (but we still claim her). This column was originally posted to her Facebook page, and then later added as a response to Duff McKagan's Reverb post, "Quit Whining About SOPA and PIPA: Where's the Public Outrage Over Internet Piracy."

By Jesse Sykes

Man, this is getting McCarthy era-ish.

I'm staring to actually get annoyed and disheartened by some of the posts I'm seeing that seem to me dumbing the importance of all these issues at hand, way down. I'm seeing all the evil corps (like Walmart) listed that are behind SOPA and PIPA, but the other 100 or so left out (see: book publishers, music publishers, labels, etc... companies that PAY artists for their work!!). I'm seeing shit get taken out of context and fear tactics being bought into. C'mon, people!!

The real important issues in this bill are in the details and not in the propaganda. So much of the focus seems to be solely on the propaganda. Whatever your position is, talk about the details. Living in a culture where intellectual property and copyright holders are not protected is something I think most would agree we do not want.

I don't think this bill intended to go after small-time sharing of DVDs, songs etc. They would be going after the "big boys"- the people hugely "profiting" off of others' intellectual property. I know it's the grey area of where one would draw the line that everyone is frightened by, but it can be addressed if we take the time to really delve into all the complexities. But people have to want to delve.

Freedom of speech and copyright laws complement each other to enhance creative expression. This includes science, music, film, visual art, photography, writing, etc. To whittle away, as we have, copyrights, which are there to insure creative integrity and ingenuity, to me is just as bleak as any other thing being spoken about here. It is our constitutional right to have these protections and look what's happened? I am concerned that if we buy into this propaganda, the issue at heart will fall to pieces.

And do keep in mind that Google, YouTube etc., may not really be your friends. Who really is big brother in this scenario? Blacking out sites to further your economic and political interests and denying public access to info is exactly what they are saying they are against. They are claiming they are neutral sites not responsible for content and that these acts would force them to filter content, yet they are quite happy to do just that when it furthers their own interests. It screams of arrogance and hypocrisy coming from companies that profit hugely off of copyright infringement and are the biggest perpetrators in the universe!! One can actually say its their "bread and butter." So, of course they're against it, and wealthy enough to wage a huge propaganda campaign.

Whether you support the bills or not, I think it's important to keep this stuff on the table and in mind. They aren't the good guys!!! And rather than simply reacting to fear mongering, we should really try and understand how complex this is. I mean really understand. I just want these companies to be held accountable and stop using propaganda that creates paranoia by playing on peoples' fear of censorship.

I'm not blaming anyone for burning CDs or using Spotify or listening to music on YouTube. I'm not "hating" on you. But I'm urging you to try and see it through a lens that goes beyond what you enjoy, and the ease of it all. I'm urging you to look at the bigger picture that includes both the frailty of the artists out there, and the dark underbelly of these seemingly benign companies that to most are just a tool, but in reality are very much a part of what we should be fighting against, or at least be skeptical of, instead of acting like we are at the teat of.

If more folks understood the consequences of illegal downloading and streaming on those who make their living doing art and the motivations of these companies to exploit their creations, then this would not be a problem. It's a creepy, insidious thing that lives in the light behind your screen, and it begs to steal our integrity without realizing it.

Remember when Nader advocated car safely and seat belt safety? GM stalked and harassed him. People were up in arms about the government getting involved to establish safety regulations. Do you wear a seat belt? Do you miss not having one? Do you make your kid wear a bike helmet? Just an interesting example in some ways. Why can't we look at the internet as an ever-evolving thing. It's not static, it's plastic.

I am not saying i support these bills as they are, but I do feel like if they modify this PIPA thing a bit to where everyone can rest assured they aren't going to arrest you (which this propaganda would have you believing) or fuck with your blog because you post an image or such that does not belong to you, then we might be able to find a solution. (And yes, I've seen Google's petition).

What I really want to stress is the importance of protecting intellectual property, which is being threatened. Without it there wouldn't be content for companies like Google and YouTube to exploit. The internet wouldn't be filled with so many of the amazing things that we value. One could argue they are biting the hand that feeds them--the irony of this is what is so disturbingly sad......j.s

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