April 17, 2010
Baking surveillance, control and censorship into the very fabric of our networks, devices and laws is the absolute road to dictatorial hell.
With the rushed passage into law of the Digital Economy Act this month, the fight over copyright enters a new phase. Previous to this, most copyfighters operated under the rubric that a negotiated peace was possible between the thrashing entertainment giants and civil society.
But now that the BPI and its mates have won themselves the finest law that money can buy – a law that establishes an unprecedented realm of web censorship in Britain, a law that provides for the disconnection of entire families from the net on the say-so of an entertainment giant, a law that shuts down free Wi-Fi hotspots and makes it harder than ever to conduct your normal business on the grounds that you might be damaging theirs – the game has changed.
I came to the copyfight from a pretty parochial place. As a working artist, I wanted a set of just copyright rules that provided a sound framework for my negotiations with big publishers, film studios, and similar institutions. I worried that the expansion of copyright – in duration and scope – would harm my ability to freely create. After all, creators are the most active re-users of copyright, each one of us a remix factory and a one-person archive of inspirational and influential materials. I also worried that giving the incumbent giants control over the new online distribution system would artificially extend their stranglehold over creators. This stranglehold means that practically every media giant offers the same awful terms to all of us, and no kinder competitor can get our works into the hands of our audiences.
This article was posted: Saturday, April 17, 2010 at 5:07 am