Random thoughts about SOPA, Piracy, and Stryper

As you know, SOPA has rocked our internet world hard.  Last week, my blog, along with thousands of other sites went on a “black out” to protest this bill.  I don’t like the idea of my free speech being able to be blocked, or my site being taken down without notification because someone “didn’t like” what I put up there.

But, I DO get the idea that piracy is wrong.  It’s stealing, pure and simple.

For example, when I was 15, a Christian heavy metal band, Stryper hit the scene.  And, they were awesome!  I loved their music, their sound, and even the “bee” look.  (yeah, I’m like that!)  I remember when my friend Lisa bought me a cassette tape (hey, didn’t I already age myself with the whole Stryper thing?) for my birthday and I immediately made a copy of it.  Why?  Well, it honestly wasn’t to share, but to have one in my house, and one in my car to listen to.  That way, I wouldn’t be without them wherever I was.  Was this stealing?  I sure don’t think so, but maybe to them it would have been.  After all, I could’ ve bought a second copy for my car.  But, for a 16 year old, $10 was a lot to shell out.  Don’t laugh, it was at the time ;)  While my intentions were not to hurt the band, did it?

What about those of us who held up a second tape recorder to the radio and taped the songs as they were playing?  You know you did it, too…

So, fast forward a few years, and Napster came out.  Remember them?  Song sharing at it’s best.  All of the sudden, the place was flooded as people copied their CD’s on to their computers, and uploaded the files, and then other people downloaded those songs for FREE to their own computer. That probably hurt the profits, too, right?  I mean, now I can get the whole Stryper CD (since I have long lost both copies of the cassette) for FREE.  I no longer have to search the internet, or buy it directly from them.  I don’t have a CD player anymore as all of my CD’s had been converted to mp3 files.  But, that would be wrong, wouldn’t it?

And since Napster is no longer around in that capacity,and they got sued,  it must have hurt someone.  The record companies, the artists, and the kids who downloaded the music without really understanding what they were doing and got sued for boocoo bucks.

And now, we have YouTube.  If I want to watch Stryper’s video of “Calling on You” it’s just as simple as going to youtube.com and searching for it and “bam!” it’s there.  I can see Michael Sweet singing, with his cross earring, and Robert Sweet jamming on the drums plain as day.  Hey,  there is even a code that I can upload that exact video to my blog!

So, since Mr. Sweet and company did not give me explicit permission to add the youtube code to my blog of their video, is that piracy if I add it?  What is the best way for them to get the word out about their music in a digital age that has very few consumers buying CD’s and tangible other tangible items?  Most people would buy a mp3 single off Amazon or the artist’s site and download it to their computer, amazoncloud or mp3 device.  Fine and dandy, you get the mp3 song for around $1, but now, I have access to that song anywhere.  I can play it at Starbucks, in my van, at the gym, or at a friend’s house.  How do we keep people from sharing the files from their personal computer?

That is the question that Mr. Sweet posted on Twitter the other day, and the one that I have really been wondering about myself…how do we keep freedom of speech on the internet, but ensure that these artists get their hard earned, well deserved funds?  Hmmmmmm…what if there were a site, like Napster used to be, that charged a membership fee?  You could have a “cloud’ on the site (like Amazon’s cloud) and you could access that from your iPod, phone, or other device, and you could download all the songs you wanted each month for a fee?  The money would not only go toward the site maintenance, but to the artists as well.  The kicker is that you couldn’t download the actual file to a computer (no sharing!) but you would have access to it at any time.

That’s my idea for the day…thoughts, Mr. Sweet???*

hey, Mr. Sweet, if you actually read this, please comment!!!  that would be sooo cool!…yeah, I’m always the fan type person*



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