The Internet Begins Discussing What To Do With Its New Found Powers

from the use-'em-in-good-health dept

Even before last week’s “uprising” by the internet, lots of people had been talking about how the larger internet generation needed to be more engaged in policy issues. This was part of the very reason that I helped start the new organization Engine Advocacy over the past couple months — because of the belief of a group of folks that there needed to be a conduit of education both between the wider “internet” and policy makers… and in reverse. Along those lines, you can’t imagine how thrilling it’s been over the past few days to see hundreds of people suddenly coming to similar realizations. There has been a deluge of posts from people (many of them, it appears, coming out entirely independent of one another) in the wake of the delay of SOPA and PIPA, discussing the same key things:

  1. This was an astounding demonstration of what the internet can do in the policy space, and we should not let it die, but leverage what came together for more.
  2. This shouldn’t just be reactive to things like SOPA/PIPA, but it should be a positive, proactive, long-term force for good going forward.
  3. We should start discussing what kinds of positive goals we can reach for immediately.

Here are just a few examples of this kind of discussion (and there are many, many more):

  • Joel Spolsky, with some policy ideas and a suggestion for getting around Congressional corruption by having internet companies give free online ad space to politicians who run “respectable” campaigns.
  • Fred Wilson, suggesting we need an entirely new framework for thinking about copyright issues.
  • Smari McCarthy, worrying that the response to SOPA/PIPA was too strong (I disagree), but also noting the need to be much more proactive going forward.
  • Rick Falkvinge, also talking about going on the offensive for freedom of speech online.
  • Mark McKenna, also pointing out that it’s time to revisit existing copyright law and raise questions about whether it needs to be ratcheted back, rather than forward.
  • Reddit user ColtonProvias tries to create organization out of chaos.
  • Reddit user birdomics looks at creating a new political party for the internet — called the Internet Party (which others suggest already exists in the form of the Pirate Party).

I’ve also been involved in three separate phone calls since Friday, from different folks who were deeply involved in bringing together the disparate forces that resulted in last week’s (and really, the past four months’) efforts against SOPA/PIPA — to discuss the same exact issues, and how to take what happened and use it proactively as a force for further good.

I’ve also seen a number of discussions about people trying to set up an “internet super PAC” or something similar. For what it’s worth on that, apparently one already exists, and I know of at least two other attempts currently underway to create similar super PACs. I’m also pretty sure that the folks over at Demand Progress already have a super PAC.

Tons of people don’t want to let this feeling go, and very much want to push forward. That’s really exciting. I’m especially thrilled about the unbridled optimism seen at community sites like Reddit — even if it’s sometimes misguided (and a little too frequently, misinformed) — because it’s going to take a kind of unbridled optimism to overcome the forces that are working against such things. I know lots of people have mocked the Reddit community for jumping into things headfirst without getting its facts straight, but it’s that same sort of optimistic spirit that lets the community jump into projects that otherwise objective people would claim are “impossible.” Hell, getting GoDaddy to change its position, and even the big internet blackout (which really started on Reddit), were two ideas that most folks would have insisted would have never worked just two months ago. And yet they did.

On top of that, I’m thrilled to see most of this all bubbling up publicly and online — rather than being sorted out secretly in backrooms. This should be a public discussion. And while — as with any public discussion — it leads to a few cringeworthy moments where people who don’t know what they’re talking about run wild with ideas that don’t make sense, that’s part of where good ideas come from. The fact that lots of people are chiming in and sharing their thoughts may seem chaotic to an outside world, but out of it, I expect to see some amazing things come together. That, by itself, really is part of the power of the internet — the fact that this doesn’t need to be top-down and organized, but can build itself organically. It may be messy, but I expect we’ll see some impressive things come out of it.

I will have lots more to say about all of this going forward, but for those who are jumping into these discussions here and elsewhere, I have three suggested points that I think should drive these discussions, though I have no idea if others will agree:

  • Any regulation that impacts the internet needs to be data driven rather than faith-based. I’ve been banging this drum for ages. The evidence used to support copyright expansionism for centuries has been suspect. Yet, when one industry makes claims, politicians seem to take them at face value. That needs to stop. A key guiding point for those driving any kind of “internet agenda” going forward should be a reliance on actual, credible data. James Boyle and William Patry have both written books that highlight this, and if you haven’t read them, you should.

    Thankfully, the UK is actually leading the way (somewhat) here, thanks to the mostly good Hargreaves report (which Boyle worked on), which the UK government has said it intends to follow. Unfortunately, while it says that, so far the actual actions when it comes to laws have remained faith-based.

    Some will claim that you can come up with data to support just about anything — and to some extent that’s true. But I think that it’s possible for rational people to look closely at research and data and come to reasonable conclusions — while figuring out when to dismiss conclusions that are clearly bunk or created through pure extrapolation or bad assumptions. Either way, the fact that plenty of legislation gets proposed and passed without any real evidence of a need is a huge problem.

  • We need to recognize that the internet, free speech and copyright are all connected. One of the tricks for trying to pass SOPA/PIPA (and successfully passing previous bills like the ProIP Act) was to pretend that these were just laws about “arcane” legal issues like copyright — something that “no one cares about.” But in an age where (thanks to bad copyright law changes) everything you create is pretty much subject to copyright, combined with computers and networks whose main job is copying works — we’ve reached a point where it’s ridiculous to think that you can regulate copyright or the internet without impacting free speech.

    There has been a growing recognition of this, including an excellent book by Neil Netanel, and another by David Lange & Jefferson Powell, in which the conflict between copyright and free speech is discussed at length. Unfortunately, the courts have yet to really recognize this issue. The Supreme Court’s ruling in Eldred nearly a decade ago is a pretty big problem here, not recognizing how the expansion of copyright law, combined with the internet, really has made copyright law and the First Amendment much more entwined. The Supreme Court completely ignores that based on some very silly reasoning — and that ruling has lived on to haunt us until today — such as with the Golan ruling, which came out the exact same day as the internet SOPA/PIPA protests.

    People who live online recognize the inherent conflict between today’s copyright laws and free speech — and recognize the risks of harming free speech through copyright expansionism. But because the two laws barely conflicted for quite some time, those who don’t understand the internet pretend that there’s no conflict at all. That’s a problem. Part of the reason why the SOPA/PIPA efforts worked was because people inherently recognized an attack on their free speech rights. Keeping the focus on such rights is the only way efforts to be proactive and move forward will work.

  • Don’t be confined by what’s been done or how others do things. While I’m not against the idea of these sorts of “internet super PACs,” something about them feels very… old school. Similarly, I’ve heard talk of efforts to “hire a lobbyist” for “the internet.” Perhaps these things need to be done, but I worry if those become the sole focus of the strategy, because it seems to be playing into the thinking of “the way things are done” in DC today. It’s way too easy to be co-opted into the system if you play by their rules.

    The reason that the protests worked (so far) was because we didn’t “play by the rules.” We came together incredibly organically (and chaotically at times — and sometimes didn’t come together at all, as different people and groups just did different things). If this effort is going to turn into something more powerful going forward, it needs to keep some of that same spirit and thinking. It can’t just squeeze itself into the way things are done in DC today, or it will become “just another super PAC” or “just another lobbyist.” That’s not useful or productive.

    I’d really like to see a lot more out-of-the-box thinking, about how we can actually use the tools of the internet to make a difference, rather than looking at how we can use the tools of DC to join the crowd.

Also, while I have no desire to add a bit of a buzzkill to all of this: this was a single (very limited and possibly very temporary) victory in a very long-term war, in which people who get this stuff have lost pretty much every battle so far. It’s great to feel empowered by what happened. And, it’s fantastic to recognize that the momentum we’ve seen building for years finally bubbled over into something productive, but this is a tough slog, and will be a lot of work going forward. We absolutely should channel that feeling and energy into these proactive efforts — but we have to also recognize that we remain at a disadvantage in much of this, and will almost certainly lose some (if not many) of these fights in the future. That’s part of the learning process. This victory was important — but it will also be followed by some losses (and hopefully more victories). For folks backing this fight, you need to recognize that it won’t always be successful. Hell, even with everything that happened, most people still don’t recognize just how close a battle this was, and just how likely it was that PIPA was going to pass this week until the very last second.

Either way, it really was just only a few weeks ago that I talked about the amazing power of people speaking up and actually making a difference. I didn’t realize we’d see it show up in such a large scale and with such effectiveness so quickly, however. The trick now is to keep it going.

There’s obviously much more that can and should be done (and can and should be talked about), and I’ll certainly be talking about much more. But with so many different ideas flowing around, I thought it would be best to start with a few key principles, and then move on from there.

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Comments on “The Internet Begins Discussing What To Do With Its New Found Powers”

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Designerfx (profile) says:

internet party

whether it’s called pirate party or internet party, I’d actually suggest they stick with pirate party to deliberately force the issue to be acknowledged.

I think trying to come up with a polite name lets us distract ourselves from the gravity of the situation. Pirate Party already exists, this is just the sign that it needs to be globalized and needs way more support.

rww says:

Re: internet party

I very much like the idea of the USA having a new political party, my preferrance is the Internet Party, because once the copyright issue is resolved, the Pirate Party seems to loose its main mission, where as the Internet Party has a wider focus. There are more policy issues that need to be addressed.
I will add:
A note of caution regarding the Internet Party’s Creedo:
A pure democracy can be very dangerous.
Therefore, some form of guided moderation or guiding principles not to be incorporated at its foundation.
I don’t know how one would formulate the fuzzy logic required to quantify “Practical Reasoning”, my substitute for “common sense”, which is neither common nor requisitly sensecle.
Practicle resoning doesn’t imply pure logic.
Practicle reasoning isn’t purely numbers driven, nor purely scientific.
Practicle reasoning respects the principles of sprituality, without mandating religeous ideologies.
Practicle reasoning respects a wide range of perspectives, offering consideration of priority, or specifically – how important is it.
The essence of my style of practicle reasoning is conideration for the bigger picture, not just the greater number.
This beggs the question of how would one stike the most worthy balance between: “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few” and “The needs of the one outweigh the needs of the many”?
I believe that honour and integrity must be the first two foundation stones of the Internet Party.
Recognition of the Bill of Rights as the main facilitator and guiding factor should fit squarely between those foundation stones.
How the party (or parties) frames the details of the Bill of Rights, regardless of it being strictly the U.S. version or a more inclusive mash-up of other countries input could be negotiable.
The goal of the party should include developing an envelope, a bottom line that must be met, a ceiling that shouldn’t be breached without a concensus.
The lateral boundaries should allow for creating flexable, meaningful, and enforcable boundries that repsect individuals and communites over entrapenures and corporations, placing principles above personalites for the greater good.
Respect for the Sovernty of Nations should be defined.
The Internet Parties should not be the foundation of A New World Order, nor a One World Government, but rather it should be a foundation for standards that reflects local needs.
The forums of the Internet Parties should be founded on the principle that bad ideas and bad speech should be countered with good speech and better ideas.
The forums should not foster anarchy for the sake of pure individulism but rather foster tolerance for the sake of percolating alternatives, choices, and solutions.
Pushing for simpiler guiding principles rather than detailed laws seems like an effective means for accomplishing these goals.
Perhaps these ideals are too lofty, but a unified world government seems too dangerous, too expansive, and too complicated.

Anonymous Coward says:

It’s just the whining of children who had their toys taken away, nothing more. They are loud, they are obnoxious, they got noticed. The “stars” that got in front of things like the anti-SOPA movement were just jumping in front of a wave, they would have gone the other way if that was where the yelling was.

When you strip all of this back and it turns out to be a bunch of under 25s, with no skin in the game, mostly upset because they can’t get what they want right now for nothing, it becomes hard to take them seriously.

The few adults in the group are basically riding it for all is worth. There are only a few people with real ideals in play here, most of the rest at band wagon players. It’s just like Occupy Wall Street, a great small idea that got big, got taken over by the whiners and people looking for a free lunch, and turned to shit.

Good luck with your power, and don’t forget to get to class so you can learn about the real world after.

Beta (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Even if I thought you were sincere, and even if I thought you were right, you’d still be missing the point. The anti-SOPA/PIPA movement was a demonstration of a new kind of political power. Even if it were mainly made up of unintelligent people exhibiting mob psychology, the power would still be real. If a handful of intelligent demagogues gave the mob direction, they can do so again.

If you want to wash your hands of this new kind of activism, go right ahead. We’ll try to protect your rights along with our own.

Machin Shin (profile) says:

Re: Re:

It is funny to me that you are so ignorant in all this. What makes you think these “under 25s” don’t have anything in this fight? I for one am over 25 and I’m not in this for free stuff. I understand the position of the content industry. I have experience programing and I understand that it is a lot of work to generate this content.

At the same time I am able to step back and look at the entire system and question it. These laws are broken and being abused. There is no reason for copyright to last as long as it does now.

Most of these laws were made while overly focused on something. The result is that when you look at all the laws together you begin to see the over all system is screwed up. Like was pointed out in another post. If some breaks into your home and robs you blind they will likely get a few months and maybe a small fine. Someone downloading music gets tossed in jail and fined millions.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

You I will answer, because you are being a jerk.

It isn’t that they shouldn’t have a say about their future. Rather, it’s a question of the old squeaky wheel. A small group of people made a huge amount of noise, and got attention. But as always, it’s 1-2% telling the rest of us what to do, because they are the loudest, not because they are right.

Look at the numbers:

24% of the overall population is under 18. But they also represent an even larger percentage of the internet population. So you don’t have to go far to find out where the noise is coming from.

The real power of the internet is to shout people down. Most of the shouters however either don’t vote (only about 50% of under 30s bother to vote) or are under 18 and cannot vote.

So they have a say in their future, but their say isn’t more than anyone elses.

Gwiz (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

The real power of the internet is to shout people down.

Wrong. The real power of the internet is the ability to research into issues and view them from all sides. This is a huge shift from traditional media where one sided declarations were held as the gospel truth. Your pessimistic views of everyone as sheep blindly following the shiny objects shown to them are outdated. The Information Age is upon us and has empowered a new generation to think for themselves. Get on board or get run over, your choice.

The eejit (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

Mike doesn’t have to. That’s the Government’s suppsoed job. And last I checked, he was being invited to debate this topic a lot, including at the recent CES.

Why not just tell us who you really are, so we can dig some dirt on you? Oh, wqait, because you’re a frightened little infant whinging about others and actually doing nothing to solve problems.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

Hey, troll, how about you f*ck off?

Mike did not disrespect anonymous posting. He could’ve posted your IP address and whatever information he does have, that you willingly provide him by visiting this site over and over.

He did NOT do that though, in a show of respect (to some degree).

He merely said something about you promising to leave. We’ve all heard that threat spoken by several trolls, so your anonymity is still preserved.

Also really classy move there, you say he’s not being respectful to your privacy, then you flat out tell him to “FUCK OFF”, call him a “TOTAL FUCKER” and make an ad hom about his weight.

Yeah, you’re totally deserving of any respect from Mike or anyone else on here. /s

If you promised to leave, why don’t you?

If you don’t like this site, why visit it daily?

Etc etc etc.

Shoo troll, shoo. The adults are trying to have reasonable discussions. Without being condescending, dismissive or outright rude. If you can’t play nice… don’t get bent out of shape when others play by your rules.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

“He merely said something about you promising to leave.”

In doing so, he pretty much took away any reason to post anonymously. He put a bright light on my post and addressed me as an individual, not an anonymous poster.

It’s typical of the ratshit moves that Mike makes. He claims to be morally higher than the people he writes about, but is more than willing to break his own rules just to out someone who rattles his cage.

Basically, Mike doesn’t want me here, and will out me every time I post. He should respect the concept of anonymous, not abuse it. Clearly, if he is unable to do this, why should he be claiming that it should be respected anywhere else online?

Two faced piece of shit, really – making money off of the fringes of piracy. Step 2 is a roaring success, proof that the prophet has no fucking idea what the creative world really wants.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

He didn’t take away any reason to post anonymous. But think of it like I already pointed out, show respect, get respect.

You keep acting like a douche, Mike isn’t going to take it. Nor does he have any reason to. This is HIS site. He obliges all of us by letting us post freely, under a name or without one (as an AC).

There is nothing wrong with having a differing opinion on a given subject. By all means, do so. But when you start acting like an ass, and continue acting like one, don’t expect people to show you the courtesy and respect they show others.

I’ve yet to see Mike make any ratshit move of any kind. He put a bright light on your post. So what? Do we all know who you are now? Has he revealed EXACTLY who you are? Given us all the info on you he has, as I originally stated?

No, he hasn’t. Not even remotely. As I said, there have been numerous trolls who’ve made claims to leave permanently. You fall into that group. So you can still be any one of multiple people.

The truth is, maybe Mike doesn’t want you here. But have you given him reason to feel that way? I’m sure there’s plenty who don’t agree with Mike, but they’re free to post. Not all people act like jerks. Can you claim to be guilt free and take any sort of moral high ground? Or should we just let the evidence speak for itself? Ad homs and vulgarity don’t endear you to anyone.

And really? Do you have proof Mike is making money off of piracy? If so, present it. Otherwise, you are aware that you could face charge of libel. You know, written slander. If I were Mike and I had your information and I felt like being a d*ck, I’d just take you to court. Print out all your post and f*ck you over. Or at least ruin your day and make you spend money defending yourself.

Step 2 is just one of many possible ideas at a new business model. Your idea of success I’m sure is some f*cking retardedly high standard that no one could ever meet, and if they did you’d still shoot them down, because that’s just the kind of person you are and how you come off.

So please, by all means, if you’ve threatened to leave permanently, why not do so?

Otherwise, get the f*ck over it. Show respect, get respect. You can still jump into another thread and post anonymously (as I’m sure you do) and have a different icon next to your name, none of us will know. Til you act like a d*ck and piss off Mike that is with your comments that would be better off kept to yourself. Like I said, if you can’t say anything nice…

Also, if you’re not too busy, can you get off your cross already? Maybe use the wood to build a bridge and get over it. So you’ve been “outed”. Oh nooooo! Whatever shall you do Anonymous Coward? Geez man. And you call some of the people here whiny. The irony of that is lost on you I’m sure.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

>In doing so, he pretty much took away any reason to post anonymously. He put a bright light on my post and addressed me as an individual, not an anonymous poster.

Considering that you consistently call him things like “chubby” it’s useless bemoaning your lack of anonymity when you do little to maintain your cover.

>It’s typical of the ratshit moves that Mike makes. He claims to be morally higher than the people he writes about, but is more than willing to break his own rules just to out someone who rattles his cage.

Nobody claims to be morally higher than the RIAA/MPAA; conversely it’s those organisations who insist that their words be followed because their perspective is of a higher moral standard. He hasn’t outed you as an individual; I’m over on the other side of the Pacific Ocean and I am no closer to finding out who you are. (Although, piss off a few more random readers and I think some will be interested in checking Google to see who else you’re affectionately referring to as “chubby”.)

>Basically, Mike doesn’t want me here, and will out me every time I post. He should respect the concept of anonymous, not abuse it. Clearly, if he is unable to do this, why should he be claiming that it should be respected anywhere else online?

You wanted to leave a month ago. Clearly you don’t have the balls to follow through with that decision. What’s wrong with a little help, eh?

Jay (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

How the hell does that make sense? What is with this ad hoc troll logic that the internet shouts people down? A LOT of people agreed that censorship is bad from laws that don’t reflect what they would want. People were at the town hall meetings with their concerns in tow. There was a lot of effort for this movement against bills that effectively censored the web. And yet all you could say is that they shout down the people? Do you know what democracy looks like?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Well its shouts down morons by exposing their fallacies. Therefore its harder for the old guard to lie to people and manipulate with out the millions of voices seeking truth and justice shouting down their lies. So he is kinda right but he is also a grumpy old curmudgeon with little to no actual knowledge of what he is talking about.

rubberpants says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

You I will answer, because you are being a troll.

It isn’t that they shouldn’t have a say about their future. Rather, it’s a question of the old buys club. A small group of people made a huge amount of campaign contributions, and got a bill introduced. But as always, it’s 1-2% telling the rest of us what to do, because they are the richest, not because they are right.

Look at the numbers:

The media industry is about the size of the pet-supply industry. But because of their lobbying efforts and their position as the gate-keepers of information they have a disproportionate influence on lawmakers.

The real power of the MPAA is to outspend everyone else. Most of the members however are just interested in furthering their own business interests at the expense of everyone else.

So they have a say in our future, but their say shouldn’t be more than anyone else’s.

Machin Shin (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Lets stop and think about this. You say only about 50% under 30 bother to vote. Well did you ever bother to stop and think about why that is? I’m willing to bet you haven’t so maybe I can shed some light on this for you. (as I am over your terrible 25s yet under 30)

I in the past did not bother voting because honestly I had no interest in the system. Most of what they were doing did not directly affect me or at least I did not know about the things that affected me. There was no issue I felt overly strong about and so I just let it go. No point in me betting on a race I had no horse in.

NOW these idiots have set their sites on something that I care about. They want to grab hold of the internet and take control of something they cannot hope to understand. Suddenly I have something I care about and I will stand for. So while yes, before I was one of the silent I am not going to be silent any longer.

I am willing to bet there are many more out there like me. We were willing to let things go and stay out of the system. Now though I am looking around and I see more things that I feel strongly about. I am not some “squeaky wheel” that is going to go away now that SOPA is gone.

I put my trust in the “older” generation and now that I have woken up I am sickened by what you have done. I will not be silent any longer. I will scream and yell about the destruction you have caused and maybe just maybe I will be able to get enough to stand with me to fix some of these things.

It is past time for those in power who “are not nerdy enough” to step down and let us “nerds” fix this mess you old farts have made.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

>You I will answer, because you are being a jerk.

Being sarcastic is being a jerk?

>It isn’t that they shouldn’t have a say about their future. Rather, it’s a question of the old squeaky wheel. A small group of people made a huge amount of noise, and got attention. But as always, it’s 1-2% telling the rest of us what to do, because they are the loudest, not because they are right.

“As always”? Exactly what percentage of the American population is the RIAA and MPAA? Isn’t that 1-2%? If you have a problem with 1-2% telling everyone else what they should be doing shouldn’t you be starting with them? (They’re bloody loud, and they’re definitely not “right” – see RIAA’s admitted driftnet enforcement tactics, and the MPAA admitting their figures were overblown.)

>24% of the overall population is under 18. But they also represent an even larger percentage of the internet population. So you don’t have to go far to find out where the noise is coming from.

I thought they were the 1-2%? Which is it? Or are you simply unwilling to listen to this particular demographic regardless of how many people are a part of it?

>The real power of the internet is to shout people down. Most of the shouters however either don’t vote (only about 50% of under 30s bother to vote) or are under 18 and cannot vote.
So they have a say in their future, but their say isn’t more than anyone elses.

So why should it be less than anyone else’s?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Totally missing a segment of the older population that use the Internet to get away from all the crazy people that are in the flesh world. Politicians, Sales People, Shysters…etc.

All we wanted was just a place to go to relax for a while, without having to leave home.

You stirred the hornets nest by trying to dip your toes in to try to regulate where it doesn’t belong.

This has nothing to do with wanting something for nothing. This has everything to do with not having to hear the bitching, moaning, pissing, whinefest that Big Content, Big Media, Big Politicians have become.

All we wanted was a place that would fill our wants/needs without having to jump through hoops and what not.

That’s what the Internet is for.

Get off my lawn.

Anonymous Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

What makes you think the next person will be better?

Obama has made a number of errors. He is the current Chief Executive and is therefore responsible for much of the Executive departments current behavior. Think TSA, ICE, DHS, and DOJ.

What about the intransigence of congress? Won’t confirm new department heads or judges. Won’t pass a decent budget. Won’t do anything without extreme partisanship, though they cry “this is bi-partisan” while siding with their fellow party members and corporate funders, rather than listening to their constituency.

I have no expectations that the next president will have any better results, no matter what party they belong to.

Anonymous Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Isn’t that a bit late?

How about we force congress to change the election system? Dump the electoral college, and finance the entire election process. No corporate or group or for that matter party speech. That way, even you could have the resources to get elected. Of course, you would need to bring SOMETHING to the table.

Michael says:

“The fact that lots of people are chiming in and sharing their thoughts may seem chaotic to an outside world, but out of it, I expect to see some amazing things come together. That, by itself, really is part of the power of the internet — the fact that this doesn’t need to be top-down and organized, but can build itself organically. It may be messy, but I expect we’ll see some impressive things come out of it.”

The internet has become what it is only because of that “messy factor,” that is, allowing the people to create, spread information and put forth new ideas. If not for the openness which the internet provides, the things we take for granted would simply not exist.

“The evidence used to support copyright expansionism for centuries has been suspect. Yet, when one industry makes claims, politicians seem to take them at face value. That needs to stop.”

So long as they keep sending their lobbyists with fat checks to Washington, there’s little chance that they’ll cease to conjure up newfangled methods to putting a muzzle over the internet.

“People who live online recognize the inherent conflict between today’s copyright laws and free speech — and recognize the risks of harming free speech through copyright expansionism. But because the two laws barely conflicted for quite some time, those who don’t understand the internet pretend that there’s no conflict at all.”

Since a lot of people still rely on big media to interpret these things for them, obfuscating their intentional power grab as some sort of moral quagmire, there will continue to be a segment of society dissonant with the reality of how the internet works. It’s fully possible for both free speech and copyright to co-exist, but not when the latter is being abused in an effort to squash the former.

“For folks backing this fight, you need to recognize that it won’t always be successful. Hell, even with everything that happened, most people still don’t recognize just how close a battle this was, and just how likely it was that PIPA was going to pass this week until the very last second.”

If we take the internet for granted, we’ll all regret it in the end. SOPA/PIPA are just the latest attempts to hijack the internet. The other side has already won one important victory: they’ve managed to create a chilling effect which impacted many data-storage service providers. Until we can prevent the blatant corporate bribery full-stop, this war against the internet is going to continue.

Gwiz (profile) says:

I’ve been doing some out-of-the-box thinking myself lately.

I’ve wondered about electing a truly representative Congressman.

How hard would it be to setup a webpage for constituents to vote on upcoming legislation. Put the text of the bill and congressman’s opinion of the bill and let the people he represents vote on how he should vote. Put yea or nay buttons and you would get a consensus of your voters including those who choose to abstain by not voting. I understand that there would be plenty of bugs to work out like limiting voting to your actual constituents and such. Also getting elected in the first place would be pretty difficult since the candidate wouldn’t be able to promise anything to those with the money.

Anonymous Anonymous Coward says:

Focus on Cause rather than Symptom

I am truly glad to see this energizing of the populace. I am concerned that by focusing on the limited symptom of copyright that we will miss the point. Copyright is not the root issue, corruption is. Corruption of the current election process by allowing corporations to be ‘persons’ and to have free speech rights. Corruption by allowing the rich to unduly influence the rights of the people by spending their own money or collected monies to get elected, and then not representing their constituency.

The focus should be (at least) two fold initially. Force congress to correct the Supreme Courts egregious error in allowing corporations free speech. Force congress to remove money from politics by entirely funding all election processes, and quieting group think interference.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Focus on Cause rather than Symptom

> I am concerned that by focusing on the limited symptom of copyright that we will miss the point.

I disagree. We should focus deeply into a single point, steamroll it, and quickly switch to the next one. Being too diffuse disperses the energy.

Given how deeply interconnected everything is, no matter which single points you focus on first, you will soon end up attacking the core issues (which might even not be what you thought they were initially). But you would be doing so from a stronger position than if you decided to attack them first with no previous victories behind you.

You can see that kind of strategy happening in the current events even. First was the GoDaddy boycott. After that one was won (by GoDaddy publicly and quickly backpedaling), the community quickly switched to a more general blackout day, which seems it also won (we’ll see when today ends). The victory with GoDaddy showed people that attempting the blackout was not futile and could work.

Anonymous Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Focus on Cause rather than Symptom

In business I have made the mistake of trying to fix a problem by attacking symptoms. It did not work. Fortunately I learned this lesson early in my career. After I learned to look for root causes, I was much more successful in problem solving, and in my career.

You may be right, that I have not identified the correct root causes, that remains to be seen. Attacking symptoms first will lead to (possibly) many wrong paths and waste a whole lot of time and resources.

Think about it this way. Lets say you have the symptoms of a cold or flue. You go to the doctor and the doctor gives you cough medicine and an antihistamine. Then, when the cold or flue does not go away, you find out that you actually have something much worse. Did the exercise of treating symptoms actually help? Is that they way you want to fix these issues? Would you trust that doctor as much in the future?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Focus on Cause rather than Symptom

That works when you can attack the root causes directly. But when you cannot, you have to attack intermediate causes first, to lessen the effects and strengthen your side, before going for the root cause.

Be careful with your analogies: what we are going against are not mere symptoms, they are part of the problem, even if they are not the root causes. For instance, SOPA/PIPA are much more than mere symptoms – they by itself would do a lot of damage (the damage, itself, would then be the symptoms). In your doctor example, if one root cause (say a big wound) caused another intermediate problem (say an infection), both causing the symptoms, I hope the doctor would treat both the root cause (the wound) and the intermediate problem (the infection)! And perhaps he could not treat the wound properly while it was still infected.

As for the root causes here, I also do not know whether you have identified the correct root causes. I do not pretend to know enough of the complex interactions of the chaotic system we live in to know whether they are some of the root causes, some intermediate cause, or even a symptom which would go away once the real causes are solved.

Capt ICE Enforcer says:

How about this, Government by the People.

Capt ICE Enforcer here, with a completely out of the box idea, which may actually get me fired.

Government by the People… All major decisions involving how our government is run, must go thru an internet vote. Based upon that vote is what happens. It will create a more transparent government. By holding our representatives to being representatives of us the people. Topics could include.

1) Should we increase educational funding for public schools, or spend the money bring democracy to other countries like we did with Iraq and Afghanistan.

2) Should the DOJ be allowed to use tax payer money to go after websites, or should they be using the money for actual DOJ work.

3) Should TSA be allowed to see people naked, or do we accept a possible risk to keep our children from being groped.

4) Do we want people (Americans and Others) to be detained indefinetly without trial for accusations brought by someone.

5) Economy is crap, people are hungry and homeless. Do we want to spend trillians on the next war plane. Or take care of our own.

Imagine it, a truly democratic government where each voice has an equal vote. All those millions being invested into lobbying could be used for innovation. The people would have the power of voice, not the hired person. And change would most definetely be for the better, as younger generations become the majority of voice for change. And get rid of the its always been done that way. Instead of all the extra priveledges that our government officals have, they would be held accountable just like the rest of us. And if they failed to do their job of listening to those on the internet, they would be given a 2 week notice to find another job.

This is Capt ICE Enforcer, Hopefull not to get a pink slip.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: How about this, Government by the People.

I think this is great! And I have been working on a concept, for a social site, which would be absolutely perfect for this purpose. It breaks away from the traditional linear thread format of today’s sites and forums.
Problem is, the idea will never see the light of day.
1. I do not have the resources to do a thorough patent search, or reach licensing agreements. And I certainly do not have the time to fight a costly court battle over copyrights after the fact.
2. In voicing their opposition or support for a position, a person might find it necessary to use words or images that may be objectionable, copyrighted, or even obscene. Which of course would open the site to immediate legal action and most likely shut down under current laws.
Guess my point is this. It may be a movement or organization by the people, but, in the end, the people are going to have to rely on a power or profit driven entity to provide the tools for it all to come together.

Ninja (profile) says:

Messy lot indeed. All of us. But I think there’s a more fundamental win in the recent development and I believe it’s some sort of seed for the future: it rose a lot of awareness. Much more than I ever anticipated. While I agree with the opinions in this article I don’t think it’s gonna stop that easily. If the dam is broken (awareness is risen) you probably won’t be able to contain the water (activism, opposition).

It’s interesting. I’ll be following what happens. And sticking my nose along with all the millions that will follow with this newly found awareness.

Anonymous Coward says:

I love the messy thing.
Simply because it throws everything onto the wall and you end up seeing patterns that you couldn’t have imagined alone, it is great, although 99% is just garbage, but the 1% of ideas that rises to the top just gets better and better.

Is like natural selection but with ideas, people start with silly ones and they start to evolve, people make fun of the ideas and the mocked ones find new routes or die and let it go.

PW (profile) says:

All things connected

“We need to recognize that the internet, free speech and copyright are all connected.”

I would actually go further than that Mike. As a result of the digitization of information the drastic reduction in cost and friction around creating, distributing, aggregating and combining content (whether this be copyrighted material, personally identifiable information, software code, etc…), has thrown most of our economic, regulatory, social, and legal constructs into disarray. The oft used “paradigm shift” has never been more evident than in these past 7 yrs. We keep trying to describe what’s happening online to physical world metaphors, but these are no longer working hence it’s getting more and more difficult to understand what’s happening.

Whether it be copyright and patent issues, privacy issues, secrecy issues, funding issues, all of these are no longer what they once were and indeed we need to rethink the structures of the various systems for how we move ahead. I find it tough to discuss copyright issues in a bubble that doesn’t include a discussion on the free-flow of private info (or for that matter, what the heck does “private info” mean?).

Just some additional thoughts to include in your mix.

Robert (profile) says:

I have an idea that could help, though I’m certain its been floating around for decades. We, the internet, should push for a new US law or constitutional amendment that would set term limits on both the house of representatives and the senate. Say, 3 terms in the house (6 years) and 2 in the senate (12 years) tops. This would help rotate out the entrenched politicians and bring in fresh blood and ideas regularly.


Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

My only issue with terms is the fact that politicians no longer set long-term goals, plans or objectives. If it can’t be achieved in a couple of years, they ignore it, since they want to put their stamp in history right now. And the People are the same way in wanting instantaneous results.

I admire Kennedy regarding the moon-landing for the reason that he set a 10 year goal, despite knowing that’d he could only be in office for no more than 8.

Zangetsu (profile) says:

Old Politicians ... Old Methods

Unfortunately, with many of the current politicians being grandfathers by the time the Internet really started taking off, they are rather set in their ways. Even many of the “younger” politicians are hobbled by what they learned from their peers. As a result, a multi-pronged approach, the Internet for those that understand what it is, and a traditionalist lobbyist group (that understands the issues) is probably going to be the most effective approach. During this transition phase between the Physical Economy and the Digital Economy (no we haven’t really reached the Digital Economy, yet) we need to accommodate both sides of the fence.

The RIAA/MPAA and others are only concentrating on the old gang and that is where the new Internet Liberation Front (ILF) comes in. By understanding that there is a need to listen to both sides and come up with a compromise that is reasonable to both parties, the ILF can gather bipartisan support from both new and old politicians.

It’s not one or the other, it’s both.

Anonymous Coward says:

Occupy Movement

Mike, for as much as you disliked some of the motivations of the Occupy movement, the fundamental decentralized structure of political involvement is pretty much exactly the same as what you’re describing here. While some of your ideals may be different than some of those discussed by many people within the Occupy movement, the ideas of using multiple approaches, staying largely outside the establishment, and allowing the good ideas to bubble up from the noise are all fundamental principles of that movement.

Its an interesting case of multiple discovery in the development of political movements. Hopefully, no one patents it.

Heretictus (profile) says:

Data Driven Regulation

This is perhaps the most important point in the article. The old adage “bad data in, bad data out” seems to apply here.

There are numerous examples of MPAA/RIAA loss estimates being legitimately debunked by learned individuals and prestigious institutions. The bad (overblown) MPAA/RIAA estimates resulted in bad (overreaching) bills. This isn’t unique to just SOPA/PIPA or the MPAA/RIAA industries. It seems to be business as usual in Washington, where any industry who contributes a lot of money to a campaign fund can get any legislation passed using false information.

We have a lot of work ahead of us to try to change this behavior. See the petition a requesting validation of the MPAA/RIAA industry loss estimates, and please sign it if you agree!

Zol says:

The Super PAC idea feels dirty. I think the larger issue here is the political system as a whole. There needs to be big changes when it comes to transparency, corruption, and incompetence in the government. Feeding into the sliminess of it by joining right in doesnt seem like the right move.

I’d like to see a continued focus and an increasingly organized effort to call politicians and companies out on their BS that won’t hit the major media. Putting pressure on these people with the internet community and information tools feels like the only way to really make a real change.

Anonymous Coward says:

My plan for when I turn 36 and am able to run for President (as a nobody, mind you) was to fully utilize the internet for the power it holds. The internet is full of valuable data that can be referenced by politicians- especially a president. Not only data but also the power to get the public involved. Here are some of my out of the box ideas.

1) Politician checks – Use the internet, user state registration (checked against an individual’s personal records in govt holding) to reach out to states for congressmen that are causing trouble in a bad way. For example, during the SOPA/PIPA debacle, reach out to the people of states whose congressmen support that legislation and ask them to weigh in through polls and votes that only their state can participate in. Not 100% accurate (VPN services, identify theft, etc), but accurate enough. Then you can go back to the congressman, in public, and say “Hey, your constituents do not want this” or “Hey, your contituents do want this” and publically show they are not representing their people.

2) Take on the media – The media in incredibly biased and the internet allows for politicians to take on that bias with a huge force. Imagine if the President kept a blog. The media would be all over that. Now imagine if in the blog the president said “The text of the law I’m asking for says this. Anyone who says otherwise is misinterpretting or misrepresenting my words” and then not only do media really need to follow that as fact, but if they don’t (hi fox news!) then the public- who has access to the SAME EXACT SOURCE INFO- will know where the truth lies. The internet has the power to keep politicians and media honest.

3a) Using the internet as a means of negotiating with big content – When was the last time anyone asked the RIAA/MPAA in public why they cannot move to a different business model that leverages the internet? I would totally show, in public, how the internet could be used for newage business models with streaming music and movies AT A FAIR PRICE and how it cuts back on piracy. The end result will be either they don’t participate (they look bad), they said it’s a good idea and they actually try it (praise jebus), or they admit that profits would not be high enough….. and thus it’s about the benjamins, not the people.

3b) Establish a “society for the arts”-like foundation/scholarship where, say, $10 million a year could be given to new and upcoming young artists of all varieties in all categories with the express purpose of creating content and getting known. Promotion of the arts by giving grants to artists to get their names out there through the internet. The through the internet piece is key because we’re trying to promote bands or movie makers or painters or whomever to as large an audience as possible. Content created through this program would be subject to a MUCH shorter copyright term (since it was govt funded), but 10 or even 20 years is plenty long to establish or fade away.

4) Create a resource for tracking all lobbying/donations made to any public figure. We have something like this already, but it’s lame and needs to be redone with more readily accessible info. Sometimes that way the info is presented and the ease which it’s able to be accessed is just as important as the info itself.

5) Anything that reminds people that the internet is about free speech and expression. For the first time in history, the world is at everyone’s fingertips. It calls for a new age of diplomacy, a new recognition that we are the human race and not just a selection of nations. We are all connected and there is beauty/magic is being able to see live video of a wife/child/etc from the other side of the planet.

And that’s just a start. The internet gives us so much potential for change and progress. Who knows what will happen in the next 4 years before I can become president? 🙂

Violated (profile) says:

Re: Re:

The problem with the MPAA and RIAA is that they ignore us. We are just sheeple to be goaded into buying their products and if we somehow avoid this purchasing ideal then that only needs more laws to plug the hole.

Even now they totally ignore what happened in this SOPA/PIPA failure and why. Instead of recognizing the public mass revolt they put this blackout day and boycotting down to “dirty tricks” from leaders like Google. They directly say “please don’t do this again when it is unreasonable to the Internet and negotiations”

It may be a nice idea to sit down to tea and cakes with the MPAA and RIAA but this is physically impossible. Our core values are in total opposites. Black and white. Ying and Yang. Heads and tails.

So the only place to meet them is on the battlefield in open Warfare. It due to all the shit they give us in corruption, bullying, lies and nasty laws which explains why we now mobilize against them.

Negotiation is simply not possible. These are the people who believe that the copyright term should be eternal but then add on eternity minus one day when the US Constitution bans eternity when that allows no Public Domain. Yes right before the Universe ends they will give you one day.

You may have noticed from this SOPA/PIPA debate that none of them understood the Internet and they freely stated that. If the MPAA wanted to compromise they would fire Chris Dodd and put in charge someone who understood the Internet.

So how does this all play out against Mega? The MPAA/RIAA are arrogant people who value total enforcement and do not understand technology. That offers a lot of ground for mistakes to be made in the law.

Flix (profile) says:

Mike and/or one of these initiatives should team up with JACK ABRAMOFF and see if there’s any hope to at least start changing things. I, for one, do buy Abramoff’s newfound righteousness and his experience could prove invaluable in an effort like this.

Abramoff is a rare opportunity now – unique, in fact – and not taking advantage of it would be a shame.

Christian says:

I think that emphasizing the free speech issues is absolutely critical. As long as popular perception of bills like this consists of a battle between Hollywood and Napster, Hollywood will always win. What really gains traction, and what I suspect most of us are really concerned about, is how copyright can be abused to stifle free speech or new creative endeavors.

This is one area where public awareness is far too low. Too many people think that copyright still only applies to registered works and fail to realize that viewing something on-line implicates that reproduction right. Among those that do understand that, many may believe that the First Amendment would bar any use of copyright for censorship.

That’s part of what made the SOPA/PIPA debate so interesting. There was much more widespread discussion about the censorship and free speech implications than you usually see in any popular discussion of copyright. I would suggest that the next logical move is to draw awareness to the dangers of copyright creating a private right of censorship. If we can get people to understand that free speech does not begin and end with the First Amendment, then maybe we can encourage some more critical analysis of new copyright law.

TDR says:

The Internet Begins Discussing What To Do With Its New Found Powers

The internet has become a superhero! Look out, legacy media industries, it’s Digital Man! Digital Man has powers of mass communication and instant replication, as well as a utility belt full of awareness increasers, shillbusters, netarangs, anti-FUD mines, data packets, and discussion facilitators! Trolls beware! Digital Man is here!

Anonymous Coward says:

This is our voice

47 years old and work 70 hours a week on network TV show (union). My livelihood depends on the existing economic models which in turn depend on copyright. My livelihood is threatened by piracy. Here’s what I say: SOPA/PIPA are terrible laws, totally against them. The groundswell of public demonstration last Wednesday is a beautiful thing, let’s keep it up. Copyright laws need reformed, rolled back and more fair use in general, maybe a new form of compulsory licensing as suggested above. My employers are greedy millionaires who screw their employees while making billions and whining about how rough they have it. MPAA lies like a rug and it was a terrible mistake for my union to support them. Maybe it’s time for someone else to go back to school and learn about the real world, cause I think I already understand it pretty well.

Violated (profile) says:

Re: This is our voice

It is nice to see such awareness.

I myself come from a different focus when I welcome people’x freedom from the controls and abuse of copyright. I hate zoning and artificial delays aimed to boost profit. I hate the monopolies they form and the lack of free market and competition.

I want people to live free in their homes to do as they please. I want them not to be censored or restricted. I want them to have choice over when how and where they consume media and in what format.

I know that public demand forms the market that shapes the world and the MPAA and RIAA have no one but themselves to blame for piracy. The innovators outstripped them by miles and instead of catching up they fought against progress and fought against what the public wanted. A plan they would lose.

I myself a UK citizen discovered file-sharing due to becoming a fan of a TV series. When I interacted with other fans I noticed a problem when fans in the US were seeing these episodes months before I did. It helps little to join a popular topic if you have not seen what they refer to. It only took about 6 months to see how I could readdress this balance through the download of rather poor quality copies which much improved over time.

I long resisted music and movie downloads but my enjoyment of TV episodes did expand into other series. Then I played a hand in distribution on IRC when they had problems and needed extra volunteers. I learned a lot then and soon became leader of this small group which would have served a few million TV episodes. After 2 years I gave up when I was always left doing the work when with people who are not paid you just cannot count on them to do regular work.

A rare encounter with a bigger distribution network looking for couriers during those 2 years did make me download my first ever movie. Unfortunately for the MPAA my random download of a mystery title turned out to be a movie I totally loved. I was hooked and this well demonstrated to me how through sharing I can encounter much more media which both increases my enjoyment and my desire to buy.

So here I am years later well knowing that the general public are not corrupt immoral thieves (another MPAA/RIAA major flaw). They still buy what is worthy and that is why this fight is not one of profit but one of control.

I have no malice towards content creation. Indeed if serious damage was being done then regulation is correct. However since the market is very healthy then the public gain from file-sharing outweighs the MPAA and RIAA’s demand for absolute control and maximum profit.

During all this I do not believe I did anything wrong even if I did infringe shit loads of copyright.

BR2 says:

The Core Problem

First of all, excuse me for my english.

In the last year I’ve spent quite a lot of time analizing the current political situation in the occidental world. I’ve come to the conclusion that we are living in some sort of new “enlightened despotism” (everything for the people but without the people).

Politicians have become a “caste” and that only because we and our parents have let them. Our actual politic system can’t be called democracy anymore, what we have now is the option to give blank cheque (a so called vote) every 4-5 years to a bunch of politicians who make promisses and only keep half of them. There is no real way to punish them for not keeping their promisses other than not giving them a blank cheque again. THAT is no democracy.

But the real problem is that most people keep thinking this is democracy (mostly older people). Or they don’t but do nothing about it (mostly the younger ones), giving the usual conformist/lazy excuses. And on the top of that 90% of the people don’t care about politics at all until the consecuences of political decisions affect them directly, and then it is too late.

For God’s sake! Let’s grab some balls and get to the core! The core problem is the people itself and our conformism, egoism and lazyness. What needs to be done is to encourage the people to get polical awarness and the best way to do this is talking WITH them, getting them to THINK on their own again and getting them to CARE about what’s really happening around them. After that, when they have political awarness, encourage them to get proactive.

It isn’t really a hard task, but a long-term one and it requires a lot of patience, perseverance and willpower. Try it out while you keep thinking about patches to fix this sad world.

Violated (profile) says:

Re: The Core Problem

Asking people to get political awareness?

You are really asking the impossible. Why should people switch from their jobs, friends, paying the bills, feeding to kids to study up on extremely boring politics and laws?

A related example is with my Pinay partner. I am someone who loves space, science and technology. Part of that interest is exoplanets in other star systems. The interesting part is topics of possible alien life. Now my partner cares zero for exoplanets and aliens when this topic would bore her to death. So I always say the only time she would get interested is when an alien spacecraft lands in front of her house!

Just like major politics this plays no part of her daily life and there is just no way to convince her.

Even in politics they fair little better and their eyes gloss over so quickly at pages and pages of insane law text.

Then they cannot even organize their way out of a hole. Like everyone knows that the corruption/lobbying in Congress needs to be reformed but the truth is Congress is too corrupt to do it themselves and in all the years since the United States first formed the individual States themselves have never once successfully called a Convention to fix corruption and other government problems when they don’t know their ass from their elbow and can’t organize the two into the right place.

Yes the people are exactly the problem but you can’t genocide us all to replace us with super humans who actually care enough to get the job done.

BR2 says:

Re: Re: The Core Problem

“You are really asking the impossible.”

Thats exactly the kind of excuses I was referring. Have you really tried it? I have. With some it’s easy, with others it’s nearly impossible, the key point is finding some recent political decision that affects them directly and with a lot of patience: explain them why it is bad or good for them (presenting it as news) and then hear their concerns about it. Then slowly start talking about political issues that affect them less directly. Humans are social beings and we all have a little politician in ourselves (who hasn’t imagined how he would “rule the world”?), all you have to do is finding that little politician (that has shrunk with years of being told “you can do nothing, so don’t even bother interesting”) and make him grow.

“Why should people switch from their jobs, friends, paying the bills, feeding to kids to study up on extremely boring politics and laws?”

You don’t need to study anything to have political awareness. All you have to do is to look around, see what happens, what decisions are taken and, instead of only thinking for yourself how you would do it, express yourself about it.

“A related example…”

I don’t think it’s a valid example as those are interests, and vary from person to person. Politics is inherent to the human being as it is nothing else than the way you try to make your principles coexist with the world you are living in. Politics is your point of wiev.

“Just like major politics this plays no part of her daily life and there is just no way to convince her.”

You have to make her see that major politics, to a greater or lesser extent, do influence her daily life in many aspects. Some are little things, like the unskippable comercial you see everytime you watch a dvd, others are big things, like healthcare systems or money from taxes she pays given to banks so they don’t collapse because of their own faults. Just don’t show her these things as politics.

I’m sorry but I don’t live in the USA, so I cannot respond coherently to the next paragraph.

“… you can’t genocide us all to replace us with super humans who actually care enough to get the job done.”

I don’t want you to become superhumans, I only want you to try and don’t throw in the towel so fast. I As I said, it’s a long-term strategy.

I just want to live among humans and not among “sheeps” who only obey without any questioning.

Thx for reading.

Violated (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: The Core Problem

The only politics most people care about are the social values of wages, benefits, taxes, schools, transport, hospitals and wars.

The average person does not even care enough to add “environmental protection” to that list. They may one day when they choke on the smog and their kids get cancer.

Now this SOPA/PIPA debate is an interesting one when what people also hate is losing their “freedom”. This is also not a big one though when many of their freedoms slip away each month with not many knowing or caring.

However in this case people love the Internet and the freedom it offers and an attack on the infrastructure is an attack on them.

Well if you want people to fight copyright then politics is not the way to go. To fight copyright we only need to give them file sharing when what with millions enjoying and very happy then to take this away is another loss of “freedom”

Copyright cannot win there until they match the quality when then people will be consigned to the fact that a subscription is not unlike Government tax and a fact of life.

This all goes to explain why politics can play the dirty game of lying to the public with terms like “we must protect the children” to trigger an emotional response. This is the same reason why the MPAA and RIAA always call us “thieves”

Educational programmes have little value. If some political matter becomes important then people will hear, get concerned and tell their friends. Word of mouth is the best method. This explains why over only a short space of time hundreds turned to thousands that then goaded millions.

While it is true those same millions can be goaded for election purposes we usually don’t have the need. I doubt though that Lamar Smith will last long.

Last of all I find it ironic you could not understand my comments about US Politics. Since most of the World’s big issues start in Congress then why are you asking people to learn about politics but you are not? I am also not a US citizen but I read up on this subject because I found it important.

BR2 says:

Re: Re: Re:2 The Core Problem

As I mentioned before, my english skills are far from being the best, so I have some trouble understanding quite a few “set phrases”, “expressions” or how you want to call them. I will try to get the points but please don’t blame me if I fail 🙂

“The only politics most people care about are the social values of wages, benefits, taxes, schools, transport, hospitals and wars. The average person does not even care enough to add “environmental protection” to that list.”

At least it is a start, and a wide one. The major problem is that they only care about two days after reading/wieving/hearing some news about this issues. It’s normal that someone looses interest past some time, but it’s frightening to see people get angry and talk about sport events (football matches, etc.) for a week but have interest for something that is actually “ruling” their future live for no more than two or three days. That must be changed, it’s a key element and the more we wait until trying to change it, the harder it will get.

Going to the SOPA/PIPA (and MegaUpload) issue. I see it mostly the way you do. But I’m really concerned this “hype” will (again) only last a few days. Plus, I’m really concerned that people (again) get stuck at the “they’re touching my internet” point, not even seeing the copyright problem and ignoring the whole political incompetence/irresponsibility/corruption that lies behind it.

And that’s the point, I (and I think WE) don’t want to stop at the copyright issues. I think it’s time to be ambitious, to think big and wide, and to stop only thinking short-termed. Of course short-termed goals must be set, but when the whole core is rotten, only patching cannot be the solution.

Politicians have always used lies, fallacies and everything they could to gain votes. During the “broadcast” or “mass media” era this was (is) easy because they are all “bought”. You don’t get any minimally objective news: either you get the governant party fallacies or the opposition fallacies. And there was nowhere else you could inform yourself, so you choosed one side and slowly questioned less and less. That’s one reason because people nowadays aren’t critic and barely have a self formed opinion about what happens in the world. And that is why they don’t care about politics at all.

But, today we have the magnificent “tool” that is internet. You can choose between hundreds of thousands of blogs and forums to get informed and combine them how you want. One mid-term goal should be to show people how much more honest news are on the internet (if you know how to search a little bit), as you see diferent opinions with them, than in “mass media”. The internet is the new word of mouth, but to be really effective first we have to get anyone on the internet.

For the last paragraph: I find it quite lame to use a fallacy only to provoke. Be more constructive 🙂 The fact that I don’t know exactly how the US chambers, state-countrywide politics work doesn’t mean that I’m not learning about politics (add to this the fakt that I didn’t understand some set phrases and expressions), that’s why I think it is better not to answer.

Violated (profile) says:


I see that there are problems to address.

1. Our end immediate goal should be to write a new law to pass through Congress that should allow some more gentle copyright reforms. One point could be to have them agree to only handle copyright law changes based on factual data when that would allow us some breathing space to organize a bigger attack.

2. We do need a leader. We need someone who knows what they are doing when most of us are clueless. This is only to spearhead our fightback when each sub-group can organize their own ideas. Getting into Congress to draft up a new proposed law seems a key point. The MPAA and RIAA can do this while getting zero people elected and so can we.

3. The Internet cannot keep organizing mass protests with blackouts and boycotts every time we need to fight. Sure we can do that for critical issues but the general public do not like losing their services and this can be counter-productive in the long term.

4. All the time Congress is lawfully corrupt then we do need to play that game as well to balance the fight with the Entertainment Industry. For this reason a partnership with the Tech Industry is critical and to always promote a free, fair and uncensored Internet. Our goal should never be just about copyright reform but to reform many areas where the public have lost their freedoms.

The Tech Industry does gain one extra advantage when we can also rally all the businesses who have good reason to hate copyright enforcement. The many victims who have been hurt and abused by the monopoly. This means we can increase the lobbying power of the Tech Industry to a new higher level which benefits their own needs to be met.

5. To achieve a major copyright reform will certainly need to be a massive international undertaking. Much of copyright has been set through international treaties. There is no way we can reduce the copyright span to 30 or so years unless every other country who signed the original treaties agrees to do likewise.

The best we can currently achieve in the US alone is to reduce the copyright span from life plus 70 years to life plus 50 years. This is obviously no where near good enough but it is a start.

This blackout day was a very good thing but always keep in mind one thing about the public. These 99% just want to get on with their lives and not to have to worry about politics. They want politicians to do their job and simply not to mess everything up. So the public tend to only scream out when they have done big mistakes that harm their lives.

So what does that say for the longer term of needing to rally them to convince politicians to pass our laws and to fight laws we do not like? This is why we certainly need lobbying power as a backup when the public lack the interest.

Blackout day worked when we were all sick and tired of what they were doing and we simply said enough is enough you shall not cross this line. Hundreds turned to thousands who rallied the millions.

Not An Expert (profile) says:

Fact Based Policy Building Website

“Any regulation that impacts the internet needs to be data driven rather than faith-based.”

We need to start here. See the link to Scott Adams’ random-idea-vomit below. Not the ‘constitutional convention’ bit, but the expert information website.

I’d do it myself if I had the slightest idea how to start.

Stanisław says:

another propostion create a cyber culture to be a wall against corporate greed

SOPA, PIPA and ACTAA these words are known to anyone that surfs the net, these laws abused could allow companies and institutions to censor the web. That’s why its a good thing people didn’t lay arms and are prepaired to fight this war..Two laws SOPA AND PIPA apear to be dead but the remaining one may still do damage…First of all Goverments and companies do not have any right to block everythi…ng blindly to censor the internet according to theire ambitions both sides should be treaten equal…ly they should create a list of multimedia content that may be distributed legally like older movies, or music this list should be updated every year allowing people to share stuff freely without imposing restrictions on our freedoms. This anti piracy campaign might actually be targeted not to thes……e that steal theire stuff but to these that share stuff lke anime or movies from different countries. Closing our worlds and views in hermetic structure we will not go back to middle ages to be lured into wars based on racism ideologie. IF AACTA means we will not be able to share any anime’s because I live in Poland and not in USA than that means AACTA will have to go down in the same way SOPA AND PIPA DID. The Copy right holders must understand the dynamics of this new society we create, Goverments and capital institutions cannot deprive our means especially if its not even economically justified because most companies make money only on new things or some works are meant to be borrow and uploaded on different sites because thats the best marketing stategy and the most easier way to open new markets without engading in a costly and usseless marketing campaigns that wouldn’t be able to lure people to which this work is adressed. Therefore Prohibition is a stupid law,by creating open indexes with multimedia works which are allowed to be distributed online by people law enforcment would act more effeciently targeting only these that hit the media corporations financially….Finally there should be emphatism made by the copy holders and creators to help people create theire own multimedia content that could be distributed by these means giving both suides reasons to joy, mutual resopect and even co-operation in creating multimedia content (anime for example) which could even promote buisness or institutions or comrcial movies.
See for yourself that we the users of the net are able to create content that can even rival official releases and by sharing these with each other freely we may prevent piracy that hurts big media corporations and having them give some of theire material freely to us, while not encuring financial loss this agrement would curb piracy more effectivelly than any legislation
Any global legislation targeted at protecting copy rights in the web should understand the dynamics of this media tools. Creators and authors should divide theire works in few categories:
1) Works that are meant for commercial use (Movies,Exclusive programing, shows , etc)
2) Works that are meant for public use (Movies that are adaptations of books for example or documents)
3) Works that are meant… to be catered to fans (anime,shows specific shows like small vile or startrek…Babylon, mini historical dramas)
4) Works of trash category (everything that is older than 6 years for example which cannot produce profit)
5) Works in public domain
All categories except the first one should be allowed for sharing on the net and upload on video storing sides where authors could add ads to these uploads and profit from such releases …The first category should neverheless be protected ruthlessly. Of course these categories don’t have to be exactly the way I described as some Historical drama’s or fan material , anime might be considered belonging to the first category it depends on the author of the work ^^
Zobacz więcej
Blaze Master Mysterium of the Universe (2010) Audio-book
Blaze Master Mysterium of the Universe created in 2010 you can download the audio version on (in a far better quality) :
42 minut(y) temu ? Lubię to!Nie lubię ? ? Udostęp

John Lenihan (profile) says:

Making Hollywood disappear.

From comment to Y Combiner re “How to kill Hollywood”

You ask “How do you kill the movie and TV industries?” Not easily, but as you point out, they are showing many of the signs of dementia and decrepitude typical of dying businesses.

To prevent their taking the whole Internet down with them, consider some important points:

1. The enemy of my enemy is my friend! A famous economist, Mr. Galbraith, wrote a famous book “Countervailing Power.” The upshot was that when the plutocrats are straining hard to kill each other, customers and the public always benefit.

2. In that vein, content is king, and the cable companies are now rather desperately looking for worthwhile content to escape the chains of the media monopoly and the pap it sells; Netflix and many others can’t easily get what they need. To get an idea of why, just look at the recent film “Planet of the A’s” (substitute your own noun!); the thirty-year old original was watchable, if rather silly, but the remake was dreadful, despite the gushing of the NYTimes about the film’s special-effects. Point out that Hollywood and TV are more moronic every day; the public has already received that message; emphasizing it will only help.

Push hard to show that a very large amount of Internet-available, independently produced content is good and getting much better. PBS has generally converted much of its content to an online format. I watch all PBS stuff online, even if it is a day or two late. The more that cable and Netflix, eventually all online, get away from TV and Hollywood dreck, the more important and essential the Internet.

3. Try hard to accelerate the demise of broadcast TV, happening, but too slowly, and really important for only a small minority. The government and its friends in high-tech development want this, but cannot impose a sudden free TV blackout with nothing to replace it. These frequencies are vital for next generation wireless Internet, and quite importantly, for other kinds of business and personal communication.

4. This will also compel the telco/cable duopoly to vastly improve their very costly and incredibly decrepit “barf-bag” networks for low-cost IP TV/telephone everywhere. Cellphone technology, while useful and important, cannot substitute for pervasive IP. Emphasize that the duopoly cannot just continue to gouge the maximum, while giving and investing very little in return. Otherwise, they will disappear, and their IP future with it.

5. Mention that successful “middle-mile” fiber networks built by private companies are becoming the powerful muscles and nerves of the Internet, providing access to many small and medium sized ISPs; phone companies have some of this business, but less and less at time goes on. They do not seem to be much interested. Fine, others will do it cheaper and better.

6. Celebrate the offbeat Internet applications, which will surpass TV and telephone in importance eventually; music lessons by Skype is one. Another was the Internet reorganization of the lunch take-out trade in San Francisco. Congress cannot kill music lessons, or full bellies after a good lunch from happy chefs making a good living.

Best regards,
John Lenihan

Anonymous Coward says:

“When you strip all of this back and it turns out to be a bunch of under 25s, with no skin in the game, mostly upset because they can’t get what they want right now for nothing, it becomes hard to take them seriously.”

Over generalizing much! Ok, by your logic. I think you either work, run, or are getting payed to write these comments on behalf of the content providers, but at the same time im open minded enough to just think that you might be a dumbass politician or disgruntled citizen drunk on the Koolade.


Piracy – the business model the content prividers want to shut down,

Free stuff, or a low monthly subcription for a all you could eat type deal, and wholy molly, artists gettin paid for them
You’d call that propaganda,

Claiming jobs and profit lost and using buzzwords like Piracy
I call that propaganda
Piracy does’nt lose companies a sale, if a pirate is unwilling to pay in the first place, i dont condone it, but at the same time i dont care, why should i, when the technology is there, to offer free or cheap monthly subcription, and providers unwilling to embrace it

This was never about infringement, this was about keeping an outdated business model alive, and keep its grip on their current customers, and destroying anyone else who might steal their influence and power, pure and simple, anti competitiveness, all wrapped up with a little bow tie

anyone who uses the internet on a regular basis, realises the potential for an the internet company to provide free content to its customers AND pay the artist for their work, cutting out the middle man

Megaupload – what could have been
-Free content, paid by adds or a low monthly subcription
-No middle man: read content provider
-Instant access to content, when and how you like it i.e phone, computer, tv, tablets….
-Stands to reason that the bigger it got, chances are, even more artists signing on, or migrating: read content providers, that would have been a kick in the balls, huh

-Assuming all the above happened
Free or low monthly bill (better be low)
Instant access
Varied ways of accessing
The potential to have ALL media, in one spot, is whats realllly giving Mr Hollywood Mr Mickey Mouse a headache :assumption

Its entirely possible with the technology we have today, hell, it was probably possible years ago. (assumption now, dont wanna be accused of propagandarism)
Let me ask you, if a “legit” site was on its way to providing these things, who do you think stands to lose the most, oh right, the people

Rainkitten (profile) says:

internet party

I would like an internet party that dealt most strictly with things that are pertaining to the internet and it’s myriad of cultures, businesses,and social applications. What has happened in this country is that two ideologies have stalled us in a never ending game of Twister.
Take out all the emotional stuff and work towards the rational. On the tech biz side, we need to evolve where Hollywood and RIAA won’t. Create and support high profile avenues for artists to self publish and collect the money that they are actually due. Rather than force artists to get rations at the whim of a super pac. Revise how content is primarily delivered. This is the instant age. Make first run content instant. Yeah that might kill movie theatres, or not. A lot of people might still enjoy going to a theatre for a premiere. I however, after the last movie I went to with the 12 year old kicking my seat and talking all night would rather not. Make new content easy to find and reasonable to buy. Clean up copyright laws in a way that does not send every 13 year old to jail for 5 years as a felon.
On the activist side, balance the needs of all parties to achieve a working model that NEVER infringes on free speech or rights to privacy. We have seen how vital it is to keep the web open for everyone without intereference from a government. Governments are unconcerned about gamers, bloggers, 9 gaggers or non profit encylopedias. We are. Lets protect the users first.Then lets evolve the web to it’s actual potential.

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