Amanda Palmer, Nada Surf’s Daniel Lorca, The Lonely Island, Johnny Stimson, Quiet Company, Kevin Devine, Samantha Murphy, Erin McKeown and Zoe Keating also signed the letter along with MythBusters co-host Adam Savage, actor/comedian Aziz Ansari, authors Barry Eisler and Neil Gaiman, filmmaker Lloyd Kaufman and music producer Hank Shocklee.
The letter was posted on stopthewall.us Tuesday, a day before websites including Wikipedia, Reddit and Mozilla.com went dark to take a stand against SOPA and PIPA. Sites replaced their content with statements about the proposed laws and links for viewers to contact their representatives in the House and Senate. Google joined in by replacing its home page logo with a black censorship bar accompanied by the message “Tell Congress: Please don’t censor the Web.”
In the open letter the artists started off by saying that they make their livelihoods through the artistic works they create and that they take copyright infringement very personally. The letter added that they are grateful for the measures in place to protect their work as “commercial piracy is deeply unfair and pervasive leaks of unreleased films and music regularly interfere with the integrity of our creations.”
That being said, the artists, who also praised the way social media services allowed them to connect with fans, say they have some serious concerns about the anti-piracy legislation.
“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.”
A message posted after the open letter tells fans, “To help protect Internet innovation please visit stopthewall.us.” The site includes a video message from Reddit founder Alexis Ohanian, facts about the legislation and a link to call your senator about PIPA.
Click here for the open letter.