If this industry is consistent about anything, it’s that it consistently disagrees about almost everything. Which introduces a tough challenge for the American Association of Independent Music, which represents the interests of about 350 independent labels. A2IM has been a strong supporter of SOPA and similar anti-piracy bills from the start, and has marched alongside the RIAA on many over-the-top anti-piracy policies. Yet many indie (and some major) artists would rather avoid getting involved in enforcement clampdowns, and merely discourage piracy with affordably-priced products and premium packages. That can probably be said for many labels, as well.
Here’s a statement issued Wednesday morning by A2IM on SOPA, which is now facing critical attacks from Google, Wikipedia, the broader technology community, the White House, and a growing consortium of artists and music organizations. This is a story that includes high-profile blackouts, and even in-person, ‘offline’ protests.
“Today a number of websites are shutting down in protest of proposed anti-piracy legislation. They are taking a unilateral action to make their content unavailable. However, under current law, A2IM members whose copyrights are infringed upon cannot take similar action. Our independent labels and their artists have no practical way of taking down illegal links to their music from rogue foreign websites accessed via US search engines.
We urge these search engines to support US content creators by working toward anti-piracy legislation acceptable to all. Let’s have a debate that genuinely acknowledges that the voices within our joint communities are deep, broad and diverse and let’s all agree that doing nothing is not an option.
The media has portrayed the issue as that of two giant industries (movies/music and technology) in conflict, as though this was a battle solely between very rich businesses. In fact, our members are small and medium sized independent businesses that invest in the creation of music and whose very existence is being threatened by the availability of illegal content on line. We look forward to solution oriented discussions among all parties.”