Friday, 27 January 2012

The beginning of the cyber war: SOPA and ACTA

I guess you have all heard about ACTA and SOPA? And if you haven't; what rock have you been living under for the last week? A war has just been declared. It all started with a bill in the American Senate. Basically this is what will happen if it passes:
The bill has not yet been passed, but on January 19th the US government shut down MegaUpload. I noticed only because I was trying to download some subtitles for a Japanese film, and the site suddenly didn't work. The day after Anonymous answered this declaration of war by disabling the websites of the American Justice Department, the FBI, Universal Music Group, the RIAA, the MPAA and Broadcast Music Inc. If SOPA passes it will give the American government the right to shut down major websites like Facebook, Google, Tumblr, Wikipedia (who shut down their English part themselves as a protest against SOPA), YouTube... Basically it would take away the Internet as we know it. However the American government has only access to servers on American soil. Google (along with YouTube) has already set up backup servers outside the US, Facebook is working on the same thing. This is what we have already seen in the Pirate Bay Case. Pirate Bay is still working and their servers are moved. The Senate's vote on SOPA was postponed due to Anonymous actions. But we're not safe yet.

For a moment there SOPA was what everyone talked about. Then the older, but less official, case of ACTA surged up to the surface. ACTA would not only harm the Americans but it would efficiantly go against the Human Rights and several countries' constitutions, by going against the Freedom of Press, Freedom of Speech etc. These videos explains ACTA:
Since I am European, this is what worries me the most and probably what would effect me the most if it would pass. This bill is not yet passed, but several countries (among them 22 of the members of the EU and Sweden is one of them) have signed it already.

In the wake of the shutdown of MegaUpload loads of protest and predictions of the future have been made online. This prediction almost had me cry as well as this protest. Tumblr has seen an up-surge of portesting gifs like these: 

What these people that suggest these laws don't understand is what the Internet really is. It's not a place for criminals to get away with their petty crimes. No. It's a place of understanding, of sharing, of peace, sometimes of silly arguments. But it's a place of friends, a place of discovery and a place of learning. This is a continuation of the Copyright lawsuit against Pirate Bay. I've read a lot about this and most of the research shows that musical artists don't earn less money because of file sharing and downloading, quite on the contrary. The ones who do earn less money are the copyrighters, the record labels, and they are getting scared. The artists make more money, because suddenly more people know about them, more people have the opportunity to discover them. More people go to concerts and buy their merchandise. It's getting more and more usual that artists create their own labels. Many Japanese groups have started touring Europe and the US, because suddenly they have fans there as well. All thanks to the Internet. All-American artists like Stephen Lynch have YouTube and downloading to thank for their European fans. The Internet is a large kind of Cricle of Life and everything that goes around comes around. You're not anonymous and yet you are. Everything you say is official but everything you say may not be heard. You make friends in other parts of the world, other parts of the country. And you get to talk about things that are difficult when you need to, to people who will listen to you. Me downloading a CD isn't worse than going over to a friend's and borrowing it. So to protect a very dear part of my world I have signed every goddamn petition anti-SOPA and anti-ACTA that I will recommend to you. The Internet is the forum of the new generation, it's not that different from the forums in Ancient Greece. The Internet could be likened to a great big square with lots of people meeting, talking, sharing, shopping, coming and going. So I guess what I'm trying to say here is:

There are several online petitions that you can sign to help stop ACTA and SOPA. Sign them, share them and try to make as many as you can to sign them as well. Because if you don't, this may very well be the beginning of a cyber dictatorship. An autocracy where a small group of people will decide everything you do. If the Internet means anything to you, anything at all, an entire generation is begging you to sign the petitions and protest:

1 comment:

  1. Verkligen? Jag älskar tv-serien, är totalt nerkärad i den. Men jag har låtit bli att läsa böckerna på grund av rädslan för att ogilla tv-serien sen... men jag har förstått att de ändå är ganska olika så det borde gå bra. Jag ska försöka se dem som två åtskilda saker.


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