Unless you've been sleeping under a buffalo, you've heard of the blackout that many sites (including this one) imposed on January 18th in protest to the SOPA/PIPA bills under consideration in congress. In our case, we replaced the site with a form that would make it easy to send an email to your member of Congress saying you oppose these bills. (If you still want to, please go ahead. I'll wait.)
But why would you?
I know why Wristband Radio is put completely at risk by this legislation. Simply put, it hits us where we live. Currently we work directly with the rights holders of the songs we play and count on the safe harbor provision of the DMCA to protect us in the event of a dispute. If someone who owns a song we've been given permission to use suddenly doesn't like that we're playing said song, off the site it goes. Done and done.
The version of SOPA that was originally proposed would allow someone with an ulterior motive to knock us off the internet without a clear way to address or appeal the validity of a copyright claim or to take steps to avoid an interruption in service to our listeners. We're here to bring you music and this could stop us even if we've done nothing wrong, so we oppose SOPA/PIPA unconditionally.
But why would you?
Under SOPA/PIPA, the person raising the objection of "piracy" is supposed to be a rightsholder, but it's not a great leap of imagination to see how it might become tempting for competitors, critics, or even authorities to start issuing notices of violation to ISPs and search engines for less than ideal reasons when a site puts up something they don't like.
Anyone operating a website, or enjoying one on a regular basis, stands to suffer from these (frankly) heinous pieces of legislation. Imagine for a moment, that they pass. What would we, as Americans, get in exchange for this devil's bargain? Not that much, really.
Free speech in this country would be put severely at risk. Costs to operate in one of the few markets that's still growing in our current economy would rise, for some enough to put them out of business. Other businesses could suddenly find themselves shutdown without warning or due process. We'd accept all of this misery to save "Crappy Sequel 3" and "Flop Album You've Never Heard Of" from being downloaded for free by people who were never going to buy them in the first place.
And it wouldn't work.