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Duff McKagan Clarifies Controversial Comments About SOPA / PIPA Protests

Duff McKagan
Michael Buckner, Getty Images

Last week when protests over the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect IP Act (PIPA) brought about widespread debate on the matter, Duff McKagan stood up on the soapbox that is his his Seattle Weekly column and seemed to voice support for the bills. His opinion was not a popular one, and now the former Guns N’ Roses bassist wants to clarify the comments he made.

“When I turned to the Twitter and Facebook, I saw an overwhelming dog pile of support against the bills,” McKagan wrote in his Seattle Weekly column last week. “Excuse me, but where were you all when piracy started to decimate the music industry? Why didn’t you take a stand against that? Those free records felt good, huh?”

But now Duff is worried that his comments were not interpreted correctly, and has penned an apology of sorts to his readers, along with a call to continue the debate with as much transparency as possible

“I was hoping to get a conversation started about a facet of the debate that I hadn’t seen explored,” he writes in his latest column. “I think in my rush to write it, I assumed many things about some of my readers here. I wasn’t clear on some things … To all those fans of music who go out there every day and hunt down music with the sole intent of wanting to fully support artists, if you were offended, I sincerely apologize.”

The crux of Duff’s argument is that widespread theft of copyrighted material hurts the average hard-working musicians, filmmakers, artists and support staff in their given industries, and something needs to be done about it. He doesn’t explicitly support SOPA and PIPA, and admits both bills potentially have flaws. If anything, he mostly just seems glad that the issue has been raised.

“Should the government be able to shut down Facebook because one user posts a link to copyrighted content?” he wrote last week. “Of course not. But should Facebook and Google do a better job monitoring — and stop profiteering off — their users’ access to illegal content? Absolutely. And, you know what, they’re smart enough to figure it out.”

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