A number of Hollywood actors, directors, producers and musicians are throwing their support against the proposed Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect IP Act (PIPA).
In an open letter to Congress, the group said that the bills could stifle creativity and cause more harm than good.
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.
Comedian Aziz Ansari, The Lonely Island music parody band, MGMT, OK Go and Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails all signed the letter.
SOPA and PIPA are controversial bills that would give the attorney general power to seek a federal court order to target foreign websites that facilitate piracy. Supporters believe that the law is necessary to protect American intellectual property and restore lost revenue to the economy; opponents believe that the law infringes on free speech and gives the government unprecedented power over the Internet.
Reznor, well known in the music industry for his views on Internet music piracy, has been an ardent critic of how the industry has handled online piracy. Reznor is an admitted file-sharer himself, having been part of a community of file-sharers closed down in 2007 called Oink.cd. Reznor has also used piracy to promote his own music in recent years.
In a 2007 interview, Reznor told New York Entertainment that what while he was not saying that Oink was “morally correct,” “it existed because it filled a void of what people want.”