Yesterday I posted a diary which sank into oblivion, Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Act Police State to Protect Iron Man 2?.
One of only two comments seemed to have difficulty with reading all the big words and complex background of the treaty as discussed by three major individuals and entities who have expressed grave concerns about the threats to a continued open and viable Internet not totally controlled and censored by corporate and government powers controlling ISPs.
So today, let's try again, on a related topic.
I am simply going to quote Lauren Weinstein of Privacy Forum and Internet Neutrality Squad again.
I don't think the message could be any clearer.
Governments and corporations are pushing harder every day to throttle the Internet as it has come to be, an open form of limitless communication allowing any individual access to publish and comment on anything.
Bottom line, as they see their profits diminish from traditional entertainment conduits and technologies, they want to impose the dying media and technology controls which on television and newspapers allowed them to control the medium and the message.
They do not necessarily understand, and for sure do not care, that the Internet is not a paper newspaper, nor is it copper wire and and banks of switches at the phone company, nor is it broadcast TV, where there is no interaction or feedback from the audience, just passive reception and consumption.
The Internet is the opposite of the world that gave them power and wealth. It is by definition a connection of independent networks and machines, all simply sharing a defined set of communication protocols, designed to allow routing around points of failure and roadblocks. All key legislation to date has relieved ISPs of the any responsibility of monitoring each and over word or photo posted by its customers to any form of communication medium on the Net, a blog, a web site, a newsgroup, whatever.
Now the message to members not only of DailyKos, but to anyone of any political stripe who has seen the power of the Internet to communicate and open up knowledge beyond the control of the traditional government and corporate masters, is very, very simple: WAKE UP AND PAY ATTENTION. Your are going to lose the power and ability to communicate on sites like DailyKos if these trends are allowed to continue and bear fruit in treaties and legislation.
I would try to put this in smaller words, but I am not sure how to. Sometimes you just have to 'read the bill', you know.
Greetings. An amicus curiae brief was filed a few days ago by the Washington Legal Foundation in the ongoing Viacom vs. YouTube/Google lawsuit.
Even by the normal standards of our adversarial legal system, this brief is startling not only in the depth of its misleading and just plain inaccurate arguments, but also in the implications that its "logic" would have for the Internet at large.
Despite Google's implementation of a comprehensive "video fingerprinting" system to aid in the identification of copyrighted materials that rights holders wish to remove from the YouTube environment, the brief's arguments that services such as YouTube are not deserving of DMCA protections are clearly disingenuous.
This is especially true when viewed in light of the abusive behavior that has been revealed on the part of Viacom in their attempt to "game" YouTube for their own purposes, even while Viacom was simultaneously complaining about YouTube operations -- the textbook definition of hypocrisy.
It's crucial to understand that such arguments are part of an increasingly shrill campaign being promulgated by powerful interests who desperately wish to "reimagine" the Internet as primarily an entertainment industry conduit, where ISPs and Web sites -- even search engines -- would be forced into the role of Content Cops, potentially required to "approve" every posting by every user, at the risk of massive financial liabilities.
The ACTA (Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement) is largely oriented toward creating this sort of requirement at the international level, as are many of the dangerous calls to eliminate all forms of anonymous Internet usage.
The negative implications of such a regime -- which would turn the entire concepts of free speech and the existing DMCA "safe harbor" on their heads, extend vastly beyond the scope of YouTube.
As I've noted before, I have many friends in the music and film industries here in L.A., and I certainly appreciate their intellecutal property concerns.
But while it's reasonable for intellectual property to be protected in appropriately measured ways, it is unacceptable to turn the Internet into a surveillance monster where every Web site is required to proactively and continually monitor and censor the postings of every user -- largely to meet the goals of a few massive entertainment industry conglomerates.
Basic principles of fair use, free speech, privacy, and civil liberties more broadly, require that we resist attempts to remake the Internet into a permission-based liability leviathan, strangling users in a suffocating maze of restrictions that benefit the few while penalizing, intimidating, and muzzling the many.