New Anti-SOPA Song & Crowdsourced Video From Dan Bull

by Stephan Kinsella on December 20, 2011

I noted previously a brilliant music video, “Death of ACTA,” by Dan Bull. (More on ACTA, which has unfortunately now been signed by several countries.) Now he’s back with a new one, in a very creative attempt to fight the evil Stop Online Piracy Act, or SOPA. As Mike Masnick notes in this Techdirt post (see below),

Perhaps even more interesting, however, is how the song and video came together. After deciding he wanted to write a song about SOPA, he reached out to his followers on Twitter, asking for “help with themes and lyrics.” After getting a bunch of ideas, and realizing he should do something different for the video, he went on Facebook and asked for volunteers to take photos of themselves holding up signs with the various lyrics… and tons and tons of people jumped at the chance. The whole video was put together over the last few hours, and the whole effort is pretty impressive.

Incidentally, Leo Laporte, host of TWiT, and Denise Howell, host of TWiT’s This Week in Law, in recent episodes have been heroic in opposing SOPA. In the most recent TWiT show, Laporte makes a strong argument in favor of Internet freedom and against limiting it in the name of copyright, in contradistinction to Nilay Patel, who takes a more mainstream and confused “balancing” approach. And in a recent episode of TWiL, where most of the commentators and guests tend to be anti-SOPA, lawyer Marty Schwimmer was invited on to defend the need for SOPA or something like it; Howell admirably dissents.

[TLS]

Here’s Masnick’s post:

New Anti-SOPA Song & Crowdsourced Video From Dan Bull

from the sopa-can-ban-ya dept

We’ve written about UK singer Dan Bull a bunch of times, highlighting his various songs that often cover copyright issues. His latest is an anti-SOPA song and video, called SOPA Cabana (take a wild guess what that’s a reference to). Check out the video here first, and read on below about the video and why it’s interesting (beyond the music/lyrics):

First of all, what strikes me as most interesting about this is that Dan’s not in the US, but the UK. But he recognizes how this law being debated in the US can have a significant and dangerous impact around the world. In talking about his reasons for doing a song about SOPA, Dan noted that “SOPA is abhorrent on three fronts:”

Firstly, it threatens the future of the internet, which is something far more valuable both commercially and socially than the entertainment industry ever has been, or ever will be.

Secondly, creativity is all about interpreting and re-imagining what you see and hear around you. The idea that creativity exists in some kind of vacuum, and that you’re not a real artist unless you can make something “completely original” is not only stupid, it contradicts the most fundamental axioms of how the universe works. Everything is influenced by something else. If we want a richer cultural landscape, we should embrace remixes, embrace mashups, and embrace sharing, not cling to ideas as pieces of property.

Thirdly, the internet is an amazing new forum for free speech and holding those in power us to account. The idea that governments and even private corporations can police the internet and decide what people on a global scale are allowed to say and hear is tyrannical.

Perhaps even more interesting, however, is how the song and video came together. After deciding he wanted to write a song about SOPA, he reached out to his followers on Twitter, asking for “help with themes and lyrics.” After getting a bunch of ideas, and realizing he should do something different for the video, he went on Facebook and asked for volunteers to take photos of themselves holding up signs with the various lyrics… and tons and tons of people jumped at the chance. The whole video was put together over the last few hours, and the whole effort is pretty impressive.

Dan Bull is a musician. The entertainment industry and the lobbyists supporting SOPA insist that they’re doing this to protect people like Dan Bull — but Dan is quite reasonably scared of what this law will do to his ability to succeed online. Dan Bull is as well known as he is because of the internet, and his ability to share his works wherever and however he likes. SOPA would make that a lot more difficult. It doesn’t “protect” Dan Bull. It helps destroy the careers of folks like Dan Bull by limiting their ability to create, promote, distribute and communicate.

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