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'Open' 'Rights' Group · Tuesday March 16, 2010 by Crosbie Fitch

On the Open Rights Group blog post today by Jim Killock (ORG Executive Director) entitled “What Panorama Didn’t Talk About: Our Rights”, I submitted a 2nd comment by way of reply to another commenter called ‘Tom’. Unfortunately, Michael Holloway (ORG Development Manager) e-mailed me to say “We don’t want every comments thread to descend into the same philosophical argument so i’m not going to publish this.”

So, I’m publishing it here instead. Let’s hope Tom finds it one day.

It seems strange to bar my comment on the subject of rights from a post specifically concerned with ‘Our Rights’, especially by an organisation seemingly interested to encourage openness and the upholding of our rights.

Anyway, here are the respective comments:

Crosbie Fitch

Privilege of Copyright vs Natural Right to Copy
Reply #7 on : Tue March 16, 2010, 10:00:25

It’s the old “Would you sleep with me for a £million?” question. If you support copyright we’ve established you’re happy to surrender your right. All that’s being quibbled about now is the price (social cost of enforcement).

You can’t surrender your natural right AND complain that those you’ve surrendered it to are too eager to protect and exploit the privilege you’ve given them.

This won’t get resolved until the doublethink ends.

Tom

Re: Crosbie
Reply #4 on : Tue March 16, 2010, 10:41:45

Hi Crosbie,

Whilst I agree in principle, I think in practice we have to act. It seems to me that copyright laws will have to evolve or be got rid of altogether because I don’t think anyone can halt the growth of sharing on the internet.

Unless, that is, we end up on a glorified version of a corporate network where almost nothing except http and https to a list of approved websites is allowed (oh yes and pre approved Microsoft gaming ports and protocols for the proles). I cannot believe even the average consumer would put up with this btw., even joe public must surely be able to recognise that we’d be worse off than the Chinese if that happened?!

Nevertheless, to be absolutely certain we do not even begin to roll along that road we MUST do everything we can to prevent this bill from being passed into law.

Crosbie Fitch

Go back to the shadow. You shall not pass!
Posted/Failed moderation on : Tue March 16, 2010, ~11:30am

Tom, we cannot act – unless you mean to analyse, discuss, and argue.

The people can act, but only when they are roused. And it’s going to take quite some time before that happens, before the copyright based industry’s lobbied legislation starts kicking in to cause that degree of suffering.

The best thing to do about the 18th century privilege of copyright is to abolish it, restoring the individual’s natural right to copy. Then there’d be no calls to fine people on the basis of an accusation, bankrupt them, disconnect them, or censor their websites (or other ‘Internet locations’).

It should not be surprising that unjust legislation is being passed to enforce an instrument of injustice. What surprises me is just how difficult it is for anyone to even consider that copyright might be an injustice – without simply reeling off received pretexts and platitudes, comforting myths to avoid the unpalatable truth.

However, even if people do come to realise how copyright has become a weapon to be used against them, it’s not clear that shareholder centric publishing corporations would do anything except continue to plead for more firepower, more damage, more pain and suffering to ‘educate’ and subjugate the masses.

If they really would insist on pursuing the preservation of their monopolies despite the hidden economic cost to industry as a whole, then one way of retaining copyright on the statute books, but in a far less sociopathic form, would be to exempt the individual from possible infringement, i.e. make copyright apply exclusively to corporations.

One could even suggest an intermediate, ‘Back to the 80s’ copyright reform. This would limit copyright’s applicability to the individual to cover only their illicit manufacture and distribution of material copies, i.e. any electronic communication or diffusion by the individual would be considered ‘copyright exempt’ free speech whether it involved copying or not.

Thus, selling illicit copies of movies on DVDs or memory sticks in a car boot sale would remain an infringement, but file-sharing would not be (unless by a corporation). In this way the traditional printer’s monopoly is maintained, but the new technology upon which copyright is completely ineffective, warrants the removal of that invidious weapon’s use against the individual. This is the effective situation today anyway, so legislating it doesn’t actually change anything except to remove from corporations the power to randomly bankrupt or otherwise persecute fundamentally innocent citizens.

NB None of this (even abolition) derogates from any individual’s moral rights concerning their intellectual work, nor their natural exclusive right to their private intellectual works.

So there could certainly be more humane legislation, but unfortunately, it’s neither us nor the people who are able to get it rubber stamped by parliament. In any case, even if the individual was exempted by copyright, it’s likely there’d still be things like amendment 120a to permit the censorship of allegedly infringing websites. That’s why I’m a copyright abolitionist. There is nothing good either ethically or economically about copyright. Abolish copyright and you prevent disastrous enforcement measures, DMCA, EUCD, ACTA, DEBill, etc.

So, for the Digital Economy Bill, this is a demon that has now been unleashed.

Sadly, in this world there are no wizards to prevent its passing.

The interesting time in which we live is about to get more interesting…



 

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