SOPA Blackout Day is in full swing, with Wikipedia, Reddit, BoingBoing, and other Internet giants blacking out entirely and thousands of other sites — including Flavorpill — creatively demonstrating their solidarity. (We hope you agree that censor bars aren’t a great look for us.) There’s also been something of a backlash against the online outpouring of opposition to SOPA and its Senate counterpart PIPA, from the usual suspects in Washington as well as groups like the MPAA, who sent this nasty note about the protests.
But not everyone in the entertainment industry supports SOPA. Stop the Wall, a site that you can also use to make a quick and easy phone call to your senator about the legislation, has posted an open letter to Washington from a group of artists that includes Aziz Ansari, Trent Reznor, The Lonely Island, MGMT, Neil Gaiman, Amanda Palmer, Troma honcho Lloyd Kaufman, and many others. “As creative professionals, we experience copyright infringement on a very personal level,” they write, but they don’t support SOPA because they “have benefited immensely from a free and open Internet.” Read the full letter after the jump, and then, if you haven’t already, get on the phone with your representatives to add your voice to the anti-SOPA chorus.
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.
Kevin Devine, Musician
Barry Eisler, Author
Neil Gaiman, Author
Lloyd Kaufman, Filmmaker
Zoë Keating, Musician
The Lonely Island
Daniel Lorca, Musician (Nada Surf)
Erin McKeown, Musician
Samantha Murphy, Musician
Amanda Palmer, Musician (The Dresden Dolls)
Adam Savage, Special Effects Artist (MythBusters)
Hank Shocklee, Music Producer (Public Enemy, The Bomb Squad)
Johnny Stimson, Musician
[via Pop Culture Brain]