Thursday, 19 January 2012

War On Your Internet Use Rages On

"Get back on the sofa!"
President Obama may have thrown his weight against the latest attempts by the traditional media to outlaw individual people sharing content - the "Stop Online Piracy Act" and "Protect IP Act" (beware moral panic). But history tells us the war ain't over yet. 

As Clay Shirky eloquently explains below, the latest so-called anti-'piracy' bills in the US are Big Media's attempt at a nuclear strike on content sharing after last year's bills misfired and a previous surgical strike missed the target (the Digital Millennium Copyright Act). In short, Big Media won't give up until our computers are as interactive as an analogue TV - "Get back on the sofa!"

We need to care about such US legislation, because it targets US internet services and features that make the internet useful for individual people all over the planet. But this is not just a US problem. In the UK, for instance, we are blessed with our very own Digital Economy Act [crowd cheers]. 

The war on content sharing comes down to two things: political donations and votes. Currently, it's billed as a struggle between internet companies and entertainment businesses. But that analysis ignores the giant individual in the room: a few carefully directed £/$'s and a vote from each of us should ensure that our politicians work hard to protect our right to share. 

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