Indie Labels Give Pitchfork Their Take on SOPA

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This week's edition of Boise Weekly features a cover story about SOPA and PIPA—the recently shelved proposed legislation that was intended to combat online piracy. In that story we spoke to local artists and musicians about how the bill would have affected them.

But BW wasn't the only publication to take that tack. A-grade tastemaker pitchfork.com asked small and independent record labels for their take in a recent article.

None of the labels we contacted expressed support for SOPA or PIPA. But most tended to say copyright infringement is a problem that needs to be solved—and that it demands a better solution than either approving the bills in their current form or maintaining the status quo.

Merge [Records] co-founder and Superchunk bass player Laura Ballance said she would also like to see piracy addressed, though she acknowledged she doesn't know exactly how. "Piracy especially hurts our smaller artists," Ballance observed in an email. "The small releases that used to sell 3,000 copies are now selling less than 1,000. It makes releasing these records not fiscally viable for us or the artists who recorded them." She went on to say she understands the existing bills have negative civil liberties implications and that she would prefer "if we could self regulate … but that seems unlikely."

The article then cited a number of different media outlet's takes, as well as some words from the CATO institute, further illustrating that the issue is much more complex than a simple battle over censorship on the Internet.

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