Rapper protests piracy bill with ‘SOPA Cabana’

Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Tex.) says that SOPA will not hurt free speech on the Internet, but wil protect innovators. Web firms and Internet engineers have raised their concenrs about the bill. (Drew Angerer/AP)

British rapper Dan Bull has released a new video further showcasing the viral opposition to the Stop Online Piracy Act, setting his own criticisms to the measure to music.

In a photo montage that features 86 people (and one cat), Bull rails against SOPA, reiterating fears that the legislation could limit freedom of speech and particularly hurt the rap community, which often uses samples of other tracks and beats to supplement their own songs.

According to TechDirt, Bull pulled the song together in a few hours, after crowd-sourcing his Twitter followers for lyrics and themes to add to the tune. Then he took to Facebook to ask for people to take pictures of themselves holding up signs with lyrics from the song to add to the visual element of the piece.

Bull said that he finds SOPA “abhorrent on three fronts,” the report said. He thinks it threatens the future of the Internet, stifles innovative forms of music such as mashups and songs that use sampled music, and that allowing any government to police traffic on the Internet sets a dangerous precedent. As a British rapper, he’s worried about the worldwide impact of the measure.

Proponents of the SOPA say that the bill won’t limit the freedom of expression, but simply work to challenge those who take money away from artists like Bull through the act of piracy. Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), who sponsored the bill, has said that the bill is meant to protect innovators.

The Stop Online Piracy Act stops foreign rogue websites from taking jobs and profits away from America’s innovators,” he said in a statement. “The bill’s broad bipartisan support shows Congress’s commitment to combating rogue sites and ensuring that profits go to American innovators, not criminals who steal our products and damage our economy.”

They’ve faced strong public opposition from Internet engineers, free speech advocates and Web firms such as Mozilla, Reddit and Tumblr, who have mobilized their users against the bill.

Discussion about the bill is scheduled to continue Wednesday if Congress is still in session, according to the House Judiciary Committee. After two days of debate, the measure still looks likely to pass the committee, based on the attitudes of lawmakers during the hearings. If that happens, it will head to the House floor for a full vote.

Related stories:

SOPA hearings cast debate as old media vs. new media

SOPA critics send petition to Congress, warn against bill

Mozilla amps up fight against anti-piracy and Internet protection bills

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.



Success! Check your inbox for details. You might also like:

Please enter a valid email address

See all newsletters

Show Comments
Most Read Business



Success! Check your inbox for details.

See all newsletters

To keep reading, please enter your email address.

You’ll also receive from The Washington Post:
  • A free 6-week digital subscription
  • Our daily newsletter in your inbox

Please enter a valid email address

I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Please indicate agreement.

Thank you.

Check your inbox. We’ve sent an email explaining how to set up an account and activate your free digital subscription.