Unplugging: SOPA and Megaupload raid reverberate in cyberspace

It certainly has been a lively couple of week for music fans worldwide, with the threat of SOPA/PIPA bills and the Megaupload raid.

Some sites were blacked out in opposition of the bills, while millions of Internet users signed an online petition powered by Google. Due to the overwhelming amounts of protests, it seems that Congress has postponed the SOPA/PIPA legislation – at least until further notice and revision.

A  major threat to online music sharing and popular search engines like Google and Wikipedia, the SOPA/PIPA bills were created to address anti-piracy issues on the ‘Net, but people are obviously not having it.

When websites all across cyberspace blacked out their sites out of protest, people all over the nation took to the streets to protest.

Politician took notice of the massive amounts of opposition they’re faced with, and postponed their vote on the legislation, which was set to happen January 24th. Although we can breath a little easier knowing SOPA/PIPA has been put on hold for now, senators have proposed a similar act that seeks to regulate access to particular sites.

In fact, federal authorities have shut down a major Hong Kong file-sharing company, Megaupload. Claiming that they’ve earned over $175 million through the illegal sharing of movies, television shows and e-books, executives at Megaupload have been indicted on multiple counts.

But this sudden attack was not without retaliation from hacker group Anonymous, which shut down the Justice Department’s website. The shuttering of Megaupload is a major accomplishment for anti-piracy enforcers in Washington, as it was the 13th most visited site on the Internet.

So, what does this mean for music lovers like us? Well, shortly after Megaupload was downed, other file sharing sites backed down, signaling a possible end to free music downloading in the future.

The file sharing community feels very threatened at the moment, even more so now, since Filesonic and Upload to withdrew from the race.

With messages now on their homepages reading, “All sharing functionality of FileSonic is now disabled,” or “Our service is currently unavailable in your country.  Sorry about that,” it is becoming clear that the file sharing communities we partake in are in trouble, and it could mean the end to free music and movie downloads. It’s unclear whether Filesonic and Upload.to are permanently disabled, or if they’re just waiting for the anti-piracy threats to blow over, but for now, only time will tell.

With all the trouble faced in the online music sharing community, we can always look forward to live performances to take our minds off the negative. Commencing June 24th is KCRW’s 14th season of its World Festival at the Hollywood Bowl. KCRW, an L.A. radio station and the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association have teamed up for an event that will put forth broad ranges of musical genres.

With so many artists to showcase in so many different genres, the season will span across twelve Sundays. Beethoven’s 9th is to be performed, with guests consisting of Yo-Yo Ma, Itzhak Perlman, Joshua Bell, Jean-Yves Thibaudet and Yuja Wang.

Artists from various genres like Norah Jones, Liza Minnelli, Carlos Santana, Anita Baker, Ben Harper, Ziggy Marley, Hot Chip and Animal Collective will all perform music specific to their genre. Subscriptions to the festival are on sale now, and single tickets will go on sale May 5th.

Another confirmed artist to be kicking off a tour starting at Austin’s South by Southwest Festival this March is Thomas Dolby, in support of his latest album A Map of the Floating City.

Following his tour commencement March 16th at SXSW, Dolby will make a fair amount of stops across the U.S. and Canada, winding down the tour after about a month of touring, in Los Angeles, CA. Tickets are available now.

Unplugging In Brief:

Due to Protests SOPA/PIPA Legislation is Postponed Indefinitely – After overwhelming amounts of protests in opposition to the anti-piracy legislation, for now, the bills have been put on hold.

Megaupload Shut Down and Key Executives Indicted, Hacker Group Anonymous Retaliates By Downing Several Anti-Piracy Sites – Hong Kong’s tremendously popular Megaupload has been shut down by federal authorities, and several executives have been indicted, but not without retaliation from hacker group Anonymous.

MegaUpload’s Shutdown Reverberates Throughout the File Sharing Community – What does Megaupload’s shutdown mean for other file sharing sites, and the future of free music/movie downloading?

Hollywood Bowl’s 2012 Lineup Announced Including Yearly KCRW World Music Festival with Animal Collective, Hot Chip, Ben Harper and More – This year’s 14th season of the World Music Festival will feature artists from all kinds of musical genres.

Thomas Dolby Announces SXSW Performances and Spring 2012 “Time Capsule” Tour Dates – Kicking off a month-long tour at Austin’s SXSW, Thomas Dolby will make a number of stops across the U.S.