The Fight Against Copyright Enforcement and The Fight For Civil Liberties Are The Same

April 9th, 2012

Published on Torrent Freak, by Rick Falkvinge, April 4, 2012.

With the ongoing success of the world’s Pirate parties, I’ve seen the copyright industry start to push back, claiming that copyright enforcement can’t be tied to civil liberties; that they are two separate issues. That’s not a true statement from the copyright industry. The whole point of the fight for net liberties is that the copyright monopoly cannot be enforced without cutting down civil liberties. Here’s why.  

Before the net, if you wanted to send a copy of something that was protected under the copyright monopoly, it was an absolute given that you could do so. You would send that copy in the mail without a single thought of repercussions. You could send copies of drawings, you could send mixtapes of music, you could send copied movies. The reason for this was simple: the right to communicate in private is a fundamental human right, and the copyright monopoly is a commercial distribution monopoly that carries significantly less weight.

The problem recently is that civil servants, not politicians, have been tasked with upholding the copyright monopoly. These people are not only unaccountable, but also easily accessible to copyright industry lobbyists, and these civil servants provide background material to the actual decision-making politicians. And if you control the background material, you also control the decision’s outcome. Long story short, these civil servants don’t care about the costs to society of enforcing the copyright monopoly in a changed communications environment: it’s literally not their job.

If the issue had been properly politicized, then politicians would be forced to look at more than just the necessary methods for enforcing today’s monopoly laws – they would also have to look at the overall cost of society to using those methods, and simply question if those laws are really worth the sacrifices required to uphold them. This is the discussion that needs to happen on the political level, and which the Pirate parties are trying to make happen … //

… The bottom line is that the fight for basic civil liberties and the fight against the copyright monopoly are one and the same. They are not two identical fights; they are one and the same fight.

When our parents sent a letter in the mail, they alone determined whether they wanted to be identified as sender, and nobody had the right to open the letter in transit just to check that the contents were legal. When our parents sent a letter in the mail or placed a phone call, they had an expectation of privacy – considered a fundamental human right. It is entirely reasonable that our children get the same rights – completely regardless of whether that means that an obsolete distribution industry will go out of business or not.

Perhaps the policy of FreeNet, the darknet project, worded most clearly how a copyright monopoly on today’s level simply cannot coexist with freedom of speech (my highlights):

“You cannot guarantee free speech and enforce the copyright monopoly. Therefore, any technology designed to guarantee freedom of speech must also prevent enforcement of the copyright monopoly.” (full text).

Links:

Poll: Germany’s upstart Pirates on a roll, April 3, 2012;

Germany’s Pirate Party come of age after second triumph, March 26, 2012;

Pirate Party of Russia Holds Congress for $50, April 1, 2012; and The Pirate Party: reasons for coming into being, April 1, 2012;

PP International; about PPI;

Pirate Party.org.uk, and Pirate Party’s Blog;

Pirate Party on en.wikipedia;

Eine Partei im Aufwind: Entern oder kentern? – Piraten und die Politik, auf Deppendorfs Woche, 28. März 2012;

Warum eigentlich Piraten wählen? auf blog.tagesschau.de, von Jörg Schönenborn, 4. April 2012;

Piratenpartei auf de.wikipedia;

Le Parti Pirate.org: en France; en Bélgique pirateparty.be (nl, fr, en);

Pirate Party Switzerland PPS on en.wikipedia:
(German: Piratenpartei Schweiz, French: Parti Pirate Suisse, Italian: Partito Pirata Svizzera, Romansh: Partida da Pirats Svizra) is a political party in Switzerland, based on the model of the Swedish Piratpartiet.[2] The party was founded on July 12, 2009 in Zürich by about 150 people.[3][4] By t.he end of February 2012, the PPS had around about 1800 members … (see their website: pirateparty (fr, de, it, en);

Guest editorial: The IFPI in charge of EU-copyright, on pirateparty.ch, April 10, 2011.

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