A group of artists have written an open letter to Washington regarding the SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) and PIPA (PROTECT IP) acts that have led numerous websites to go dark in protest today.
Artists include American Gods, Sandman, and Neverwhere author Neil Gaiman, comedian/actor Aziz Ansari, and Nine Inch Nails frontman and Oscar winning composer Trent Reznor, just to name a few.
The letter was posted on the Stop The Wall website, and you can read it in full below, including a list of those who have signed it.
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.
* Aziz Ansari * Kevin Devine, Musician * Barry Eisler, Author * Neil Gaiman, Author * Lloyd Kaufman, Filmmaker * ZoÃ« Keating, Musician * The Lonely Island * Daniel Lorca, Musician (Nada Surf) * Erin McKeown, Musician * Benjamin Goldwasser, MGMT * Andrew VanWyngarden, MGMT * Samantha Murphy, Musician * OK Go * Amanda Palmer, Musician (The Dresden Dolls) * Quiet Company * Trent Reznor * Adam Savage, Special Effects Artist (MythBusters) * Hank Shocklee, Music Producer (Public Enemy, The Bomb Squad) * Johnny Stimson, Musician