LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Tahoe ex-pat a songwriter opposing online piracy
A songwriter’s take on the Stop Online Piracy Act.
My name is Bob Regan (as in Regan beach, named after my father).
I consider myself lucky to have grown up in South Lake Tahoe, and though I’ve been gone for years, it still feels like home.
While attending South Tahoe High School, I started playing guitar, and haven’t put it down since. I’ve been a club and studio musician, a recording artist, and, for 27 years, a professional songwriter in Nashville. In that time I’ve had several hits on country radio and I’ve made a living (not a killing) from my copyrights.
During the past decade, however, that has become incredibly challenging, not because no one wants my songs, but because illegal entities have diverted my income stream into their bank accounts. Here’s how: I can Google my most recent hit, and there, free of charge, are hundreds of thousands of copies of my song. Out of the top search results, seven of 10 are illegal foreign sites, many with ads for anything from Princess cruises to Lysol to Verizon. Everyone (search engine, advertisers, payment processors, the site itself) is making money with every click of the mouse. Me and the rest of the people who brought that song to life make nothing. One might assume that copyright law would prohibit this, but since these sites are foreign, they operate with impunity.
Under this carefully crafted bill, the Justice Dept can shut down these foreign rogue web sites and I can go back to competing in a free, not a black market. If you don’t feel that the Internet should be a “Cyber Somalia”, learn the facts, disregard the hyperbole and misinformation, then ask your representatives in Congress to support this common sense legislation.
Editor’s note: The stop online piracy bill introduced by Lamar Smith (R-Texas) and Bob Goodlatte (D-Texas ) is HR 3261. Bob Regan’s father, Thomas, was civic activist in 1965 when the city of South Lake Tahoe was incorporated.
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