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A War on Piracy is a War on Liberty · Friday November 12, 2010 by Crosbie Fitch

Ahmed Abdel Latif responds to Lessig wondering why WIPO is unable to succeed in its objective of global copyright reform, and whether the remaining need for such can be reconciled with the zealously prosecuted ‘war on piracy’.

How do you tell a child that there is no way of saving the sandcastle they’ve laboured long and hard over from the approaching tide?

Question the assumptions, even the language, and you might get closer to a truer understanding, and realise that a war against piracy is a war against liberty, a war against human nature and natural law.

This is a war that Canute would wage against the tide. The inexorable tide in turn, takes the liberty of eroding the fiat sandcastles of mercantile privilege.

There’s a reason rights holders are so called. These aren’t rights they are born with but rights annulled in all the inhabitants, to be held by a few. In 1709 Queen Anne derogated the right to copy from the individual’s right to liberty, and it is this that publishing corporations purport to hold. But of course, they do not. It is inalienable, and all the privileged hold is the power to persecute the disobedient.

There is no power on Earth that can subjugate the people to refrain from communicating, sharing, developing, copying, learning, or progressing, in order that monopolies may persist unchallenged. Giving them pretexts may smooth the passage of their legislation, but they don’t actually make monopolies do the opposite of what they do. If you want progress or learning you do not put a brake on it – you only do that if you wish to quell or tax an activity.

The only reform that fixes copyright and eliminates piracy is its repeal.



 

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