[pp.int.general] Christian Engstrom on FT on July 7

Alex Foti alex.foti at gmail.com
Sun Jul 19 13:35:49 CEST 2009

without the ad.

On Sun, Jul 19, 2009 at 1:35 PM, Alex Foti<alex.foti at gmail.com> wrote:
> for archive-minded pirates. ciao, lx
> Copyright laws threaten our online freedom
> By Christian Engström
> Published: July 7 2009 18:10 | Last updated: July 7 2009 18:10
> If you search for Elvis Presley in Wikipedia, you will find a lot of
> text and a few pictures that have been cleared for distribution. But
> you will find no music and no film clips, due to copyright
> restrictions. What we think of as our common cultural heritage is not
> “ours” at all.
> On MySpace and YouTube, creative people post audio and video remixes
> for others to enjoy, until they are replaced by take-down notices
> handed out by big film and record companies. Technology opens up
> possibilities; copyright law shuts them down.
> File-sharing occurs whenever one individual sends a file to another.
> The only way to even try to limit this process is to monitor all
> communication between ordinary people. Despite the crackdown on
> Napster, Kazaa and other peer-to-peer services over the past decade,
> the volume of file-sharing has grown exponentially. Even if the
> authorities closed down all other possibilities, people could still
> send copyrighted files as attachments to e-mails or through private
> networks. If people start doing that, should we give the government
> the right to monitor all mail and all encrypted networks? Whenever
> there are ways of communicating in private, they will be used to share
> copyrighted material. If you want to stop people doing this, you must
> remove the right to communicate in private. There is no other option.
> Society has to make a choice.
> The world is at a crossroads. The internet and new information
> technologies are so powerful that no matter what we do, society will
> change. But the direction has not been decided.
> The technology could be used to create a Big Brother society beyond
> our nightmares, where governments and corporations monitor every
> detail of our lives. In the former East Germany, the government needed
> tens of thousands of employees to keep track of the citizens using
> typewriters, pencils and index cards. Today a computer can do the same
> thing a million times faster, at the push of a button. There are many
> politicians who want to push that button.
> The same technology could instead be used to create a society that
> embraces spontaneity, collaboration and diversity. Where the citizens
> are no longer passive consumers being fed information and culture
> through one-way media, but are instead active participants
> collaborating on a journey into the future.
> The internet it still in its infancy, but already we see fantastic
> things appearing as if by magic. Take Linux, the free computer
> operating system, or Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Witness the
> participatory culture of MySpace and YouTube, or the growth of the
> Pirate Bay, which makes the world’s culture easily available to
> anybody with an internet connection. But where technology opens up new
> possibilities, our intellectual property laws do their best to
> restrict them. Linux is held back by patents, the rest of the examples
> by copyright.
> The public increasingly recognises the need for reform. That was why
> Piratpartiet – the Pirate party – won 7.1 per cent of the popular vote
> in Sweden in the European Union elections. This gave us a seat in the
> European parliament for the first time.
> Our manifesto is to reform copyright laws and gradually abolish the
> patent system. We oppose mass surveillance and censorship on the net,
> as in the rest of society. We want to make the EU more democratic and
> transparent. This is our entire platform.
> We intend to devote all our time and energy to protecting the
> fundamental civil liberties on the net and elsewhere. Seven per cent
> of Swedish voters agreed with us that it makes sense to put other
> political differences aside in order to ensure this.
> Political decisions taken over the next five years are likely to set
> the course we take into the information society, and will affect the
> lives of millions for many years into the future. Will we let our
> fears lead us towards a dystopian Big Brother state, or will we have
> the courage and wisdom to choose an exciting future in a free and open
> society?
> The information revolution is happening here and now. It is up to us
> to decide what future we want.
> The writer is the Pirate party’s member of the European parliament

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