Photo by Kashmera
Summary: As Hollywood’s fight to subvert Canadian copyright law rages on, those who help Hollywood get named after they compare concerned citizens to terrorists (and then hide the evidence)
Techrights rarely covers copyright matters (due to lack of time, not lack of familiarity), but this time there is a good reason to make the exception. The parallel debates over software/software patents and copyrights also show similar tactics from those who play ball for the oligarchs, conglomerates, monopolists or whatever one wishes to call those who use copyright/patent law against the population. In both cases there is digital colonisation, usually benefiting north America (but not always). In the case of patents, far east Asia uses them extensively too.
“They are self-serving mediators/middlemen and other types (mostly lawyers) who don’t mind if they ruin Canada’s creativity.”Bad policies involve not only patenting of software (Bilski decision will be released on Monday by the way) but also DMCA/ACTA/three strikes. Last year we argued that those who wish to daemonise their opposition just compare them to terrorists and that’s the type of behaviour we find even among Canadian politicians, backed by that Old Guard of lawyers and lobbyists like Barry Sookman. They are self-serving mediators/middlemen and other types (mostly lawyers) who don’t mind if they ruin Canada’s creativity. But watch how one politician, James Moore, responds to critics:
Canada’s Heritage Minister caught covering up ‘radical extremists’ slur
Michael Geist sez, “Yesterday there was a firestorm of discussion over Canadian Heritage Minister James Moore’s speech (which was promoted by his department in advance) in which he labeled critics of Bill C-32 [ed: the Canadian version of the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act] ‘radical extremists’ and urged confrontation against those who argue for fair copyright, which he said is really an attempt to mislead and oppose the bill. Almost lost amidst the considerable outrage from many people over Moore’s comments, was the possibility that there was an attempt to bury the ‘radical extremist’ comment. Moore himself denied making the comment in direct messages with several people on Twitter who expressed concern about it.
“By mid-morning yesterday, attendees were not confirming the comment, Moore was denying it, and the event video did not include it. That might have been the end of the story, but IT World Canada reporter Brian Jackson compiled his own video of the event and posted it online. The Jackson video included the reference and made it clear that Moore was not being forthright in his private claims (the event organizer site later added the same video). The lack of candor is rather rich given that Moore’s comments tried to paint critics of the bill as misleading the public.”
As Glyn Moody put it (regarding Moore), “so shouldn’t he resign now?” Here is the original message from Professor Michael Geist, who also happens to be fighting against the ACTA. The corrupt politicians wish to characterise him as the fringe, even though he actually represents the interests of the majority.
There are many lawyers and Hollywood lobbyists in this debate which also involves AstroTurfing (they got caught). One of them who writes at “musictechpolicy.com” (revealing name) is conveniently calling Hollywood’s side ‘the norm’ and not liking it when people speak out their minds about those who stab them in the back. “Geist Flips the Mob Switch,” the author titled this long rant and then referred to the origin of this term — the Internet-allergic sociopath, Lanier (we wrote about him before).
Recently I was discussing the effect of the Internet on Chinese dissidents with a friend from a world that concerns itself with that kind of thing. He told me that what bothered the Chinese was not so much that dissidents had access to any particular information which bothers them, and it wasn’t so much that dissidents were able to post particular information which bothers them a bit more—what really bothered them a lot was that dissidents were able to use the social media tools to organize.
Although the tools were quite different, what is happening today in reaction to the onslaught against artists from the consumer electronics industries and their fellow travelers is not that different from the organizing efforts of the labor movement against other unfair labor practices in the past. Instead of anonymous goons with baseball bats, organizers are met with anonymous hoards “commenting” online in something very similar to what George Orwell called the “Two Minutes Hate” and what Jaron Lanier calls “the mob switch”.
It is no surprise that Geist and his mob demonize anyone supporting compliance with international norms for creators.
So here we have the author using one of Lanier’s many freedom-hostile and culture-bashing rants. Those who are familiar with Lanier’s repertoire will probably know that he is exceptionally hostile towards software freedom and a culture of sharing. Here is a new critical review of his new book:
The main problem with “You Are Not a Gadget” is that Lanier seems determined to paint an idyllic picture of the early days of the Internet, and then contrasts current developments to that almost entirely mythical ideal that he has stored in his memory. This reminded me of Mircea Eliade and the mythological construction of in illo tempore, the long-gone times at the beginning of everything where things were perfect. In illo tempore is the period before the fall, everything was better in the past before the corrupting forces tainted the perfection. Lanier seems stuck in those mythical times where men were men, bots were bots, and small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri were small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri. The problem with this, as with most mystifications of the past, is that it is a fictitious account. When the Internet was smaller, everyone knew each other, all of the developers were probably working within walking distance of one another, and therefore there was a strong sense of community. The early Internet was quirky and small because it was a tiny boys club where the geeks could make decisions that were disproportionately important to future developments. Nowadays development is widespread and, dare I say, more democratic. Lanier seems to resent that.
Lanier is an example of people who consistently write books to complain because people disagree with them. Those at the top of society (AI is often attributed to Lanier) don’t like the freedom of the Web as they prefer to hold cocktail parties that weed out the ‘little people’, taking away their voice in the process (so that only the affluent and powerful need apply for journals, conferences, publishers, and appointments with legislators). If those people — who happen to include rude politicians like James Moore — are left to do as they wish, how will voters know who to get rid of?
Private businessmen like lawyers needn’t and can’t be elected, but those who sign documents into law are politicians; if they are not on the population’s side (like Peter Mandelson in the UK [1, 2]), then voters ought to be told about this so that the culprits lose popular support. Remember: governments are not put in place to decide for their people; governments are elected by the people to serve the people’s will. █