What is Sopa and what you can do…..

Right now, the U.S. Congress is considering legislation that could profoundly affect the future of the internet. It’s called the Stop Online Piracy Act.

The fact is that this legislation as written won’t stop piracy. But it would pose a serious threat to social media and user generated content sites (like YouTube) across the internet. It could also undermine some of the core technical systems underlying the internet, creating new cybersecurity risks.

It will undermine free speech and due process, says one side. It will protect America’s creative class from thieves, says the other. But what’s really in the Stop Online Piracy Act? A guide:

Q: What is the purpose of the bill?

A: There are actually two bills, the Stop Online Piracy Act, known as SOPA, in the House and sister legislation called the Protect IP [Intellectual Property] Act, or PIPA, in the Senate. Both are designed to tackle the problem of foreign-based websites that sell pirated movies, music and other products.

Federal law enforcement has the authority to shut down U.S.-based websites that offer pirated content, but they can’t directly do the same to foreign sites like Pirate Bay. The Motion Picture Association of America, the legislation’s main backer, estimates 13% of American adults have watched illegal copies of movies or TV shows online, and it says the practice has cost media companies billions of dollars.

Q: How do the bills attempt to stop piracy?

A: The basic method is to stop U.S. companies from providing funding, advertising, links or other assistance to the foreign sites. The bills would give Justice Department prosecutors new powers to prevent pirate sites from getting U.S. visitors and funding.

Q: What are the new powers?

A: The Justice Department could seek a court order requiring U.S. Internet providers to block access to foreign pirate websites. Access could be blocked either by making it impossible for users to type a simple web address into an Internet browser to reach the site or by requiring search engines like Google to disable links to the sites.

The attorney general could also seek a court order requiring credit-card processors to stop processing payments to the sites and requiring advertising networks to stop placing ads on the sites or taking ads from the pirated websites for display elsewhere.

In addition, both bills would allow Hollywood studios and other content owners to take private legal action against websites that are alleged to be hosting pirated material.

The legislation would allow content owners to ask a court to require credit-card companies and advertising networks to stop payments to sites allegedly hosting pirated material.

Q: How does this harm free speech? A Wikipedia official said the legislation could allow for “censorship without due process.”

A: Opponents of the legislation worry that the language in the House bill is so broad that it would allow content owners to target U.S. websites that aren’t knowingly hosting pirated content. This has been a particular concern of bill opponents Facebook, Wikipedia and Twitter, all of which have sites that depend heavily on content uploaded by users.

In an extreme case, opponents say, media companies could get a court order blocking payments to an innocent site, with the effect of shutting it down and stripping it of its rights to free speech.

Also, they say the legislation would encourage authoritarian countries that have already been trying to block content on the Internet they don’t like.

Q: What about the charge that the legislation could undermine cybersecurity efforts?

A: One of the biggest issues for Google, eBay and other Internet companies is a provision that in some instances would require “DNS blocking.” The domain-name system, or DNS, is an integral part of the Internet, ensuring traffic goes where it’s supposed to when users type in a Web address like www.wsj.com or www.whitehouse.gov. Those addresses are converted into the series of numbers that make up a site’s Internet protocol address.

The original legislation would have required Internet providers to redirect traffic away from pirate websites by blocking the conversion system.

The problem, according to cybersecurity experts, is that such redirection is also sometimes used by hackers to deceive Internet users and commit cybercrimes.

On Saturday, the White House issued a warning that it couldn’t support the legislation if it included DNS blocking because of the possible impact on cybersecurity efforts.

This issue may be resolved. Last week, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R., Texas) said he would eliminate the DNS blocking provision from the House’s SOPA legislation. In addition, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D., Vt.) said he would propose changing the Senate legislation to require more study of the cybersecurity concerns before implementing DNS blocking.

Q: What’s the difference between SOPA and PIPA?

A: The bills are very similar. One major difference is that the House bill includes a provision making it illegal to stream unauthorized copyrighted content.

The provision has been called the “Free Bieber” provision by the legislation’s opponents in honor of teen singer Justin Bieber, who became famous after posting videos of himself performing other singers’ songs on YouTube.

Q: What would have to happen for the bills to become law?

A: The House’s SOPA legislation is awaiting consideration by the House Judiciary Committee, which tried unsuccessfully to complete its review of the bill in December. That effort was derailed after a bipartisan group of House members, including Rep. Darrell Issa (R., Calif.), filed dozens of amendments and used stalling tactics to prevent the bill from being considered before Congress left for the holidays. The bill’s main sponsor, Rep. Smith, said Tuesday he plans to reschedule the hearing in February.

The Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously passed the PIPA legislation in May, but it has been awaiting floor action ever since. Forty senators are co-sponsoring the bill. However one opponent, Sen. Ron Wyden (D., Ore.), has vowed to filibuster the bill if Senate leaders try to move forward. On Jan. 13, six Republican senators sent Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid a letter asking him to delay floor action until concerns are resolved. However, a procedural vote is still scheduled in the Senate for Jan. 24.

In short, the legislation has several hurdles in both houses of Congress. If both houses pass the bill, President Barack Obama would have to make the choice: To sign or to veto. The White House on Tuesday reiterated that it has concerns about the legislation but agrees with proponents that more needs to be done to stop piracy.



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The Underground Experience 1-17-2012

This month’s feature is Rowdy Raleigh collective ready to take the mantle Real Hip-Hop……..let’s check out Kooley High!!!!!!!

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Mistajay: What is the story and conception behind your Group and artists individual names?

Charlie Smarts: Lanna dubbed us Kooley High.  I got Charlie Smarts while living in the Dorms of NCSU.

Foolery: My government name is Thomas.  When I was in high school my girlfriend used the phrase ‘Tom Foolery’ one day.  I had never heard it before and was like, “Huh? Whats that?”  I adopted it as my stage name, and then later dropped the ‘Tom.’  Its just Foolery now.  It fits because I like to fuck around, talk shit, and have a good time.  Its also helpful because if you’re name is Foolery it’s a constant reminder to not take yourself too seriously

Tab One: Tab-One stems from the initials of my real name, Taylor Amick Burgess.  I just threw the “One” on because I thought it was cool.  The jury’s still out on that.

Mistajay: What area are you reppin?

Charlie Smarts: Greensboro, Raleigh, Brooklyn, The Innanets.

Foolery: I am from Raleigh, NC USA, but have been blessed to go to many different places and make friends.  I have family in DC; I lived in Brooklyn for a while; I have friends abroad. Raleigh is what made me though.

Tab One: My family, my friends, NC, & planet earth.

Mistajay: What are your influences of your music? And what inspires you?

Charlie Smarts: Imagination and reality influence my music.
Sun when there is none,  Fun when my friends come, Love makes my pen run till it bumps cray and then some

Foolery: Truth, beauty, pain, love.  I’m a big fan of artist that do what they feel, what comes naturally to them.  I also love artist that can create art that makes you feel a certain kind of way, even if it might be a negative feeling; the fact that they can pull that emotion out of you is inspiring.

Tab One: Good music in general.  Documentaries & good books.  I’m inspired by stories of perseverance.  People that came from nothing & turned it into something.

Mistajay: Your history here in NC starts with NC State do you feel that that the college environment was fertile ground for your growth as artists?

Charlie Smarts: Yup.  That’s where we got our first taste that we could rock for our peers and they would feel it.  No coming back after that.

Foolery: College is that time where you can find out who you are as a person and figure out what you want to do with your life.  That process is always an ongoing one, but college was a really good start to that.  I think that we have all grown a lot as artists since the college years, but that was the start of it all.  That was when we found each other and starting building something as a group.  That was the spark.

Tab One: Definitely.  If it weren’t for NC State we may have never crossed paths.  It gave us an environment to bounce ideas off like-minded people.  We certainly grew from the seeds we planted in H2O, our student hip hop organization.  That’s where we learned the ropes & got a taste of how to throw events, put together albums, etc.  I’m thankful for it.

Mistajay: Your collective has been described as combination of  The Fugees,Common, Mary J. Blige, and Hieroglyphics as lyricists and How do you describe your style?

Charlie Smarts: Fresh Vintage.  Like the Dodge Challengers when they came back.  Classic style with a new flavor.

Tab One: All of those comparisons are incredibly humbling & I’m sure not everyone would agree.  It’s hard to put it in a box.  We’re open to trying new things, whether it’s new styles of beats or new rhyme schemes.  I feel like we’re in a constant state of evolution.  The goal is not to stay stagnant.  Other than that, I’d say our style is butter.  Real butter, not that margarine stuff.

Mistajay: You have recorded several projects the most recent being David Thompson What is your best song recorded to date and why?

Charlie Smarts: There you go.  People Love to Love Love songs.  As do I.

Foolery: Honestly, I still think that ‘Kooley is High,’ the title track off of our sophomore mix-tape, is one of the best songs we’ve ever done.  That one always resonates with people. I felt like we definitely hit another level when we did ‘Somthin Outta Nothin’ on Eastern Standard Time, in terms of how the emcees bounced off of one another and the straight up musicality of the song.  If I had to choose a favorite off of David Thompson it would probably be ‘Drop a Dime (If They Get On).’  That shit is next level.

Tab One:It’s hard to pick one.  ”Kooley Is High” seems to be a fan favorite.  Personally, I like “David Thompson”, the intro cut off the new jam.  I also really like “Drop a Dime” & “Same Ol Thing” off David Thompson.  I think they show a growth from our earlier stuff.

Mistajay: As  indy artists what do you think some of the the benefits are, if any and some of the difficulties of being Independent?

Charlie Smarts: Freedom of Innovation whether it’s a musical or a business decision.  There’s no boss to say you can’t try something.
Difficulties arise from smaller market awareness and multiple job responsibilities.
Charlie Smarts: There’s no boss that can connect you with another level of listeners and opportunities.

Foolery:  The benefit is that you get to make all of the decisions.  The difficulty is that you have to do every damn thing for yourself.

Tab One: The benefit of being indy is you get to do everything yourselves.  The difficulty of being indy is you get to do everything yourselves.

Mistajay: I see that you guys have opened up for J.Cole, Wale, Pac Div, Tanya Morgan, Ghostface, Skyzoo, and 9th Wonder If you could share the stage with any 3 artists or bands who are still around and touring that you haven’t performed with, who would they be and why?

Charlie Smarts: Kanye West, N.E.R.D., The Roots…   Im a fan and there would be loads of people to be introduced to the crew.

Foolery:  My three?  Kanye West, The Roots, and Drake, because I enjoy all of them as artists and they each have a devoted fan-base that I hope would be open to our sound.

Tab One: I’d say The Roots, Black Star, & Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings.  I’d like to jam with all of em.

Mistajay: Speaking of 9th wonder he recently had a write up about Hip Hop in NC and one of the main points where that the competition was outside the state and not within basically saying that we need to support are own as artists and develop your brand what are your thoughts about this as well as your own advice for indy artists and fans alike?

Charlie Smarts: I agree.  We try to re-establish our brand every time we put out something out.  Indy artist need first of all make good music, then look at other artist and learn from the mistakes and successes. Fans need to support music they like.  Come out to shows, watch the videos, tell their friends, buy the merch.  Same as its always been.  David Thompson is available on iTunes.

Foolery:  My advice for Indy artists: Take time to hone your skills, put together quality projects, then use the internet.  Put out videos.  Make connections with people in other places.  Get on the road.  Go to other cities.  Network.  Hop on whatever bill you can early on.  Don’t perform at the same open mic night, at the same venue, in the same town every week and then wonder why nothing is changing.  Nobody is going to know who you are unless you go introduce yourself to them.  Also, build a team.  Find a visual artist.  Get a graphic designer, a photographer, a video person.  Get yourself a quality DJ and start working on throwing you OWN live events so that you and your team can get a little money in your pockets.  And don’t be afraid to do the not so fun parts of this business.  I just got in from putting up 200 posters for an upcoming show, and it was COLD outside. You think I wanted to do it? No, but I like selling out venues, and that is part of the equation.

As far as the fans: Just know that you guys are voting with your dollars.  Wherever your money goes, and this really applies to anything in your life, whatever you are spending your money on, you are perpetuating.  So make sure you are voting for things that make your life better and things that you want to keep going.  Support how you support, but make sure you are honest with yourself.  A lot of people say “I can’t afford to buy music nowadays.”  And then I see those same people drop $40 at the bar on any given night.  Some of y’all spend money on a lot of pointless stuff.  All I’m saying is, think about it.  Where are your votes going?  Every dollar you spend on someone gives them power.  Who do you want to empower?  Starbucks and Anheuser-Busch, or an artist who resonates with you?  And if you find yourself not voting at all, you need to reevaluate how much you love this art and the people who are working to create it.

Tab One:I never look at music as a competition.  It’s an artistic expression & because of that, we should all be supporting each other.  Music’s also subjective so, we may not all like each other’s music.  If that’s the case, it’s better to say nothing at all & just keep doing you.  My advice for fans would be to buy Kooley High’s shit!  If you do, you’ll be rewarded handsomely with a energetic & entertaining live show when we come to your town since, we can afford to from the Kooley High shit you purchased.

Mistajay: Where do you see the hip hop going in 2012? How do you see yourself fitting into that?

Charlie Smarts: Hip Hop is DIY. Get popular on your own or make an impression with your own work and then others will come along to help make a business out of it. Sound wise I feel like there are so many styles that can be viable. Choose one.

Foolery:  I like the way things are going.  It seems like genuine artistry is on the rise again.  People are mixing up a lot of sounds, but the end products are still sounding very authentically hip hop some how.  In my opinion 2011 has been a great year for hip hop, and I’m looking forward to contributing to the movement that is taking place.

Tab One: No idea.  We’ll be there somewhere though

Mistajay: What are your future plans?

Charlie Smarts: Bout to try and write a short film..

Foolery: I plan on continuing to make music and to build the Kooley High brand.  I also plan on stepping out a little more as an individual to showing people who I am, in the hopes that they will get to know me a little better.

Tab One: Making good music, staying in touch with my fam & friends, & trying to enjoy life.

Mistajay: Any last thoughts?

Charlie Smarts: I feel good that women can dig our sound as well as the fellas.

Foolery: Much love to everyone, everywhere, but especially to YOU because you read this whole damn interview.  Thanks for having us.

Tab One: Thanks for reaching out to Kooley High.  Eyes open & head up.  This world is crazy.  Peace

Where can fans follow you and get your music?



Mistajay is doing a monthly interview feature the underground experience on the blog www.empiremusiq.com/blog and would like to interview you for this new post please contact nccceo2@yahoo.com to publicize any new projects that you have coming up thanks for your time. Donate or pay $50 dollar interview fee below!!



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Packing Playlist: Raleigh/Durham

Raleigh Durham, North Carolina

CFEF23C5 1D4E A4E3 012C 93172958C777 r Packing Playlist: Raleigh/Durham

Nothing could be finer than a trip to Carolina. North Carolina is a beautiful southern state with so much to offer. Its vast landscape offers beaches, mountains and rolling hills. It’s definitely the type of place you could get away and escape to on a simple vacation. Here are five songs to get you packing for Raleigh/Durham.

1. Petey Pablo - “Raise Up”:
It’s hard not to think of Petey Pablo’s T-shirt waving anthem when thinking of North Carolina. It’s the perfect song to amp up your attitude for the tedious job that is packing.

2. J. Cole - “Work Out”:
Hailing from Germany, but settling in Fayetteville, NC, J. Cole always had an affinity for the world. His intelligence landed him a top-of-the-class spot at his alma mater, St. John’s University in New York City. J. Cole’s never forgotten where he’s come from and his uplifting lyrics and upbeat melodies are great for packing.

3. Thelonious Monk - “Round About Midnight”:
In case you didn’t know, jazz legend Thelonious Monk was born in North Carolina. Perhaps this shouldn’t be the song you play while packing, but after you’ve finished and have poured yourself a glass of wine.

4. Little Brother ft. Big Daddy Kane - “Welcome to Durham”:
Little Brother consists of Phonte and Rapper Big Pooh–both from Durham, NC. Little Brother is one of the biggest underground rap acts in the game. Their socially-aware lyrics and hard-hitting beats solidify their own drive and motivation to never give up. Like you–don’t give up on packing, even if it can suck!


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