Earlier today, it was announced that Rep. Lamar Smith has withdrawn SOPA, the highly controversial anti-piracy legislation attempting to be passed in Congress. Read his statement inside and find out how Swizz Beatz and other celebs play a role in all of this….
It’s been a messy week online for a few a few internet companies and a few top notch celebs. A while back, Universal Music Group got pissy after a few of its artists (Diddy, Kanye West, Will.i.am, Chris Brown, The Game, Alicia Keys) appeared in an online video for "Megaupload" (a file sharing company for which Swizz Beatx is the acting-CEO).
So what’s the problem? Don’t celebs lend their names to upstart companies all the time? Well….yes. But this is a file-sharing company and the music industry (not always the celebs themselves) gets pissy about those because "sometimes" folks use them to trade music and movies (for free). Which is also labeled as "piracy." So the hugely popular file sharing site was totally shut down by the Feds yesterday and also sued for “racketeering conspiracy, conspiring to commit copyright infringement, conspiring to commit money laundering and two substantive counts of criminal copyright infringement.”
Swizz Beatz was surprisingly revealed to be the ACTING CEO (not the owner), but was not named in the suit–only the German, Hong Kong, and other owners/investors were named.
Watch the video here:
Also, check out the Dept. of Justice statement about Megaupload which names all the people arrested and charged with piracy over at DEADLINE HOLLYWOOD Here.
Simultaneusly, there was also a bill put forth in both the House (SOPA) and the Senate (PIPA) which targets cracking down on online piracy (which folks claim Megaupload would be used for). The bill was looked at as a slippery slope into censoring ALL internet and social media, as it would vaguely control (meaning SHUT DOWN) any website that has any dealings (whether directly or indirectly) with any unapproved property uploaded/linked to on the site. Even if commenters/users were the people uploading. And even if the artist approved. The debate crossed political, musical and social media platforms.
And Hollywood was not silent about its views on SOPA. Several celebs tweeted their opinions:
Ashton Kutcher (@aplusk) said,
“Please don’t ignore what’s happening here. IMPORTANT MOMENT IN HISTORY! #StopSOPA http://t.co/fgPx2zQH”
Omar Epps (@omarepps) said,
“Dear Wikipedia, Until you legitimize your sources and hold yourself accountable for falsities and misinformation, you really won’t be missed at all. Sincerely, Me”
MC Hammer also tweeted his opposition to SOPA, in one instance, a fan asked him
@MCHammer Wouldn’t it be nice if the tech & content industries could work together from scratch to find a solution? #stopSOPA.”
MC Hammer responded, “yes.”
And the White House shot down SOPA as well saying,
" While we believe that online piracy by foreign websites is a serious problem that requires a serious legislative response, we will not support legislation that reduces freedom of expression, increases cybersecurity risk, or undermines the dynamic, innovative global Internet.”
After a big messy week with blacked out sites, pissy celebs, Hollywood big wigs still attacking the President despite his stance, the bill ended up dying.
Rep. Lamar Smith, who was the chief sponsor of SOPA, announced earlier today that he’s pulling the bill “until there is wider agreement on a solution.” He added, “I have heard from the critics and I take seriously their concerns regarding proposed legislation to address the problem of online piracy. It is clear that we need to revisit the approach on how best to address the problem of foreign thieves that steal and sell American inventions and products.”
He released this statement:
“We need to revisit the approach on how best to address the problem of foreign thieves that steal and sell American inventions and products. “The problem of online piracy is too big to ignore. American intellectual property industries provide 19 million high-paying jobs and account for more than 60% of U.S. exports. The theft of America’s intellectual property costs the U.S. economy more than $ 100 billion annually and results in the loss of thousands of American jobs. Congress cannot stand by and do nothing while American innovators and job creators are under attack.”
“The online theft of American intellectual property is no different than the theft of products from a store. It is illegal and the law should be enforced both in the store and online.
“The Committee will continue work with copyright owners, Internet companies, financial institutions to develop proposals that combat online piracy and protect America’s intellectual property. We welcome input from all organizations and individuals who have an honest difference of opinion about how best to address this widespread problem. The Committee remains committed to finding a solution to the problem of online piracy that protects American intellectual property and innovation.”
Over in Senate, Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) also stopped their bill saying,
“In light of recent events, I have decided to postpone Tuesday’s vote on the PROTECT IP Act.”
The internet is a little bit safer from Big Brother…for now. But folks are still watching and the block is hot…