Call for Website/Internet Usage Blackouts to Protest SOPA

On February 18, the informational website Reddit will blackout to protest the Stop Online Piracy Act.  There are calls for Google and Facebook to do the same.

Here’s what you can do to protest SOPA:

Don’t use the Internet on February 18.

If that proves too painful, use it for email only (and maybe 4Chan) Stay off Facebook. Avoid Google searches, online shopping, porn, etc.

Still too hard? How about posting the image above as both your profile photo on Facebook, and as a photo album, along with other anti censorship jpgs?

The Facebook idea is the brainchild of Peter Tassi, a contributor to Forbes.

As they say on teh internets, I find Tassi’s views intriguing and would like to subscribe to his newsletter.

John Roecker Gives Us A Green Day Xmas with Guerrilla Film Release

It’s a very Green Day Xmas from avant-garde director John Roecker–a favorite guest on Movie Night for his web series“Svengali” and documentary “Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Gay Porn Stars” and his poignant, passionate video manifesto on creativity–who delivers his short film, a modern romance “They’re All Out Without You” as an underground alternative to “It’s A Wonderful Life.”  The film is based on characters originally visualized from Green Day’s Grammy Award winning album “American Idiot,”  the first true “punk rock” opera. This a a guerrilla online release, catch it while you can!

Originally shot as part of “Heart Like a Hand Grenade,” Roecker’s documentary, filmed during the making of Green Day’s seminal album  TAOWY, is compiled from footage that was lost for several years. Roecker told me:

The characters meet when the album is recorded. I wanted that Godard moment in Sympathy for the Devil, and Heart Like A Hand Grenade was turning out really long. I cut footage from 3 hours and stashed it, and forgot where it was. When our basement flooded, I found a lunch box and opened it up and there was the footage, so Dean my editor and I cut it up and I made the short.

Though the film, which stars Mikey Brannon and Ashleigh Darkbloom, showcases four songs by Green Day with the band’s blessing, the music usage  hasn’t been authorized by Warner Bros., the band’s label. With regards to that detail, Roecker says he doesn’t like the money part or legal part, he just wants to do art. But he also knows there might be ramifications of releasing a film with music that hasn’t been licensed.

Earlier this year, I lost forty-five percent of the vision in my right eye, and they can’t repair it. At the hospital I said to myself, “You know fuck it, I’m gonna release it if they sue me, they sue me.” Green Day is okay with it. And I would rather have five people see my work who like it, and how it was meant to be, than a million see it cut to pieces. I don’t want to have any problems with Warner Bros. And record labels have their own problems to deal with. They might not even care. But it’s nerve wracking, and it’s a big decision.

“They’re All Out Without You” is lush and rich, showcasing Roecker as a superlative filmmaker, well versed in the language of cinema, bold and passionate.  Whether TAOWY will last online through the New Year remains to be seen, so see it while you can here.

(And in light of of SOPA, this could play out very interestingly)

Late Night FDL: Pirates and Hypocrites Have Some ‘Splainin’ to Do


There’s been a delay in the vote on SOPA, the Stop Online Piracy Act, fap fodder for the Record Industry Association of America and movie studios. I’m all for copyright protection, but this bill goes a bit far. It may cause many news and entertainment sites to shut down or risk heavy fines. For example:

Right now Reddit is protected by the DMCA’s safe harbor provision which only requires Reddit to take down content if copyright holders ask them to, but SOPA can change this liability when a site is deemed to “facilitate copyright infringement.”

Because the definitions and terminology in the bill are so vague, passing SOPA in its current form poses a threat to all user-generated sites online, and many other websites too.

The vote on SOPA has been delayed until early next year, which may give online petitioners opposed to the act time to gather more signatures–they have 29,000 and counting. And it may give the RIAA and several studios time to explain a wee little problem they have: Someone/s at the RIAA has downloaded sixty full episodes of Dexter, according to a program which logged the BitTorrent activity of some 50 million users.

Let’s see, 60 episodes with a fine of $150,000 each. Golly, that’s $9 million! Meanwhile

a Russian BitTorrent tracking firm traced pirated movies and television show downloads back to IP addresses from Sony, Fox, and NBC—as TF points out, “these are the same companies who want to disconnect people from the Internet after they’ve been caught sharing copyrighted material.”

Avast thar mateys! Keep yer own ship free of of the pox of piracy, before ye be poking into the old intertubes!