If you’re hep to the internet, you’ve probably come across a wave of information — and even outrage — around the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). This controversial legislation has the stated goal of curbing foreign “rogue websites,” but the initial version of the bill could have done way more than that. Hence the widespread disapproval. read more
The technology community has made substantial in-roads in efforts to stop SOPA and Protect IP, two bills pending in Congress that would expand the ability of federal law enforcement and rightsholders to police the Internet for violations of intellectual-property laws. read more
While thousands of tech vendors frantically demoed new gadgets and apps at the giant Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, a debate over the future of the Internet and how the government may regulate distribution of (often pirated) content was taking place down the hall….read more
Op-Ed in The Hill by FMC Deputy Director Casey Rae-Hunter.
The music industry has a long history of telling artists to “shut up and sing.” Which is why the internet has been so important in amplifying the voices of musicians of every conceivable background. It’s also why artists should be wary when powerful entertainment conglomerates push for polices that could undermine free expression, all the while claiming to speak for creators.
Congress is currently considering a pair of well-intentioned but deeply flawed pieces of legislation that threaten to fundamentally change how the internet works. Hollywood and the labels back these bills, which are rightfully being questioned by the broader arts community, from artists and managers to writers and performers. read more
Today, Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Representative Darrell Issa (R-CA) presented to the public draft legislation that presents an alternative to earlier bills aimed at combatting “rogue websites.”
While the goal of the new legislation — to combat foreign websites that traffic in counterfeit or unauthorized US intellectual property — is similar to earlier proposals, it offers an entirely different mechanism for dealing with these infringing sites. The new bill is called the Online Protection & ENforcement of Digital Trade Act, or OPEN. These names are really something else, aren’t they? read more
Our friends in DeVotchKa swung through Washington, DC, back in March and went to the Hill with us to talk to Congress about the importance of public radio for musicians. The Denver Post recently ran an Op-Ed from the band; click over to the Post’s website or see below for the full text of the piece.
The importance of public radio to the music community
By Tom Hagerman, Shawn King, Jeanie Schroder and Nick Urata
The internet is at risk today as the Senate debates a resolution that would strip the FCC of its rulemaking authority to preserve its openness. S.J. Res. 6, similar to a House measure passed in April, needs only a simple majority to pass. The vote, expected Thursday, November 11, is likely to be very close. read more
Since its inception, the internet has represented a powerful tool for the exchange of information and ideas. In recent years, it has also contributed greatly to the emergence of novel platforms for the dissemination of creative content. It is as members of the arts community who have come to depend on these structures that we write to you today.
Creators, in particular, depend on open internet structures to engage in a variety of ways, including direct interaction with audiences, fans and patrons, as well as collaboration with other artists. From musicians to filmmakers to writers to independent labels to arts and service organizations, today’s creative community depends on the internet to conduct business and contribute to the rich tapestry that is American culture.
Today’s creators are taking advantage of technologies fostered by the internet to deliver a diverse array of content to consumers, while creating efficient new ways to “do for ourselves” in terms of infrastructure. The access and innovation inspired by the web helps us meet the challenges of the 21st century as we contribute to local economies and help America compete globally.
It hasn’t always been so. Traditionally, the media landscape relied heavily on hierarchical chains of ownership and distribution, controlled by powerful gatekeepers such as large TV and movie studios, commercial radio conglomerates, major labels and so forth.
It would be tremendously disadvantageous to creative entrepreneurship if the internet were to become an environment in which innovation and creativity face tremendous barriers to entry due to business arrangements between a select few industry players.
This is why we support clear, enforceable and transparent rules to ensure that competition and free expression can continue to flourish online. Although many of us feel strongly that the recent FCC Order does not go far enough in its protections (particularly with regard to mobile broadband access), we recognize the importance of having a process in place by which concerns can be addressed and transparency pursued.
We believe that Congress has a role to play in establishing guidelines that preserve a competitive, accessible internet where free expression and entrepreneurship can continue to flourish. We also believe that stripping the FCC’s ability to enforce these core principles as proposed in S.J. Res. 6 runs counter the values shared by members on both sides of the aisle, as well as prior and current FCC leadership. Therefore, we strongly urge against a broad repudiation of the Commission’s Order.
Future of Music Coalition
National Alliance for Media Arts and Culture
Future of Music Coalition (FMC), a national non-profit research, education and advocacy organization for musicians, strongly opposes a resolution set for a vote in the House of Representatives that would eliminate the FCC’s ability to preserve the internet as an open marketplace for creativity and commerce. read more