More and more countries have decided to control the Web. We see new legislations that are created throughout the world and that will have a huge impact on how we use the web.
In France, there is Hadopi – based on “protection, information and innovation, its mission is to protect copyright by reminding the citizen’s rights and duties”.
In Spain, the Sinde Law has just been approved by the new government. “Deputy PM Soraya Saenz de Santamaria said that the aim of the law was “to safeguard intellectual property, boost our culture industries and protect the rights of owners, creators and others in the face of the lucrative plundering of illegal downloading sites.” – See Anti-internet piracy law adopted by Spanish government, published by the BBC on January 3rd. Rumour has it that the US government threatened Spain with retaliation actions if the country did not pass this law as reported in the Guardian “US pressured Spain to implement online piracy law, leaked files shows”, published on January 5th.
The Digital Economy Act (DEA) was passed in the UK in 2010. According to an article from the BBC in Whatever happened to the Digital Economy Act? By Jane Wakefield “It is currently languishing in Brussels, waiting for the European Commission to approve changes to who should pay for implementing it… Meanwhile the code drawn up by Ofcom a year ago to lay out how it will work in practice is lying in a drawer in the Department of Culture.”
We also have to contend with ACTA – Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement I understand that the EU is dealing with this one. To date although the EU is agreeable it has not yet signed the agreement.
SOPA and PIPA in the US.
There are many articles being published about SOPA and PIPA – I will be looking at only a few:
- An Open Letter From Internet Engineers to the U.S. Congress sent by 83 prominent Internet inventors and engineers including Vint Cerf, Paul Vixie, Tony Li etc.The
Some of the points mentioned are: “…will create an environment of tremendous fear and uncertainty for technological innovation, and seriously harm the credibility of the United States in its role as a steward of key Internet infrastructure.” And “…also threaten engineers who build Internet systems or offer services that are not readily and automatically compliant with censorship actions by the U.S. government. When we designed the Internet the first time, our priorities were reliability, robustness and minimizing central points of failure or control. We are alarmed that Congress is so close to mandating censorship-compliance as a design requirement for new Internet innovations. This can only damage the security of the network, and give authoritarian governments more power over what their citizens can read and publish.”
- The threat of SOPA was brought out to me by the bricoleur – Overbroad Censorship & Users. It might be a little far fetched but how far are we from it becoming reality.
- “Hollywood’s pirate cure is worse than the disease” says Jack Shafer from Reuters.
- I like Declan McCullagh’s How SOPA would affect you: FAQ. He gives an overview of SOPA and who is opposed to it and who is behind it.
Perhaps the most important article for me is written by Tim O’Reilly who analyzes SOPA in the context of our business, points out the lessons we ought to learn from the long history of such misguided regulation, and includes the wonderful and non-obvious “here’s how to think more deeply about this” approach that’s the essence of the O’Reilly brand.
I still like some of Tim’s writing in 2002
Piracy is Progressive Taxation, and Other Thoughts on the Evolution of Online Distribution with great phrases such as:
“Obscurity is a far greater threat to authors and creative artists than piracy.”
“Piracy is progressive taxation”
“Customers want to do the right thing, if they can.”
“Shoplifting is a bigger threat than piracy.”
“Free” is eventually replaced by a higher-quality paid service”
“There’s more than one way to do it.”
The more I read about SOPA, the more I feel that it is there to make a part of our society richer – I am pretty sure that the lawyers, the big guys from the entertainment industry etc. will make an even bigger fortune out of the misery of others. Also in these days of recession, how much will it cost the governments to apply the new rules. Can we afford it?
Updated: SOPA is DYING; its evil Senate twin, PIPA, Lives on, by Cory Doctorow –
“Updated: Commenters have pointed out that I’ve jumped the gun here. SOPA is shelved, but not killed. It could be put back into play at any time.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor has killed SOPA, stopping all action on it. He didn’t say why he killed it, but the overwhelming, widespread unpopularity of the bill and the threat of a presidential veto probably had something to do with it.”