Tuesday, February 7, 2012

ACTA, SOPA,PIPA...A threat or not?

As a blogger, I can not support the mentioned laws (ACTA,SOPA,PIPA). And while I understand the arguments that support this idea, the property rights and loss of revenue of the creators, I fear the way it could transform the internet and how we use it.


The reality is that once we set those new rules up, inevitably there will be many loopholes that we haven’t explored. Then there will be always people that will find a way around them,or ways to break the rules. Then we will have to apply new laws, to regulate the regulations. Then more regulations to regulate the regulations of the regulations…

So can we eventually find ourselves having a total censorship on what goes on line, published, shared or even said? Can those laws and regulations be the first step of internet censorship, starting from the obvious and righteous and then moving further?

The Americans want to protect their intellectual properties, but then why are we developing technology that can copy and share music, videos  either privately or on-line? What is the difference of someone buying a CD of an artist or a film DVD, then make a copy of it and share it with his/her friends, than someone downloading legally a tune on-line and then share it with his/her friends?

What if this law is expanded further, to include magazines and articles from the press, what is being published on-line and how it is shared? Freedom of information and freedom of expression is one of the advantages of the internet revolution. Why halt it? Besides, if you do not want people to copy your work, do not upload it on-line!

We have invested and we continue to invest hugely on technology associated with the internet. I-Pods, I-Pads, I-Phones and so on. Why allow people to have all those, if you do not allow them to freely buy, share, comment, copy and write stuff on-line? And if they can not do that freely, then why invest in a technology that must be used in a limited way? Never mind the limitless websites that will have no purpose of existing anymore, or the companies that provide fast speed internet services; why have it if you can't up-load or down-load stuff freely?

So what if these laws continue to evolve and include not only what is being copied and up-loaded, but what will be written on-line too? As a blogger I dread the fact that one day I won't be able to reach people in all corners of the earth and stimulate their brains with an alternative point of view, that is not being given on the mainstream media. That one day there will be so many regulations that my blog or my articles will be found unsuitable for the general public to read or copy.

We criticize Hungary for the recent legislation (I do not agree with most of them either) or China for having an internet policy and censorship, but are they trying to set up a legislation to control what is being said on-line in the West too?

If we think that our national media are not national at all ( there are about 6 multinational companies that own and control the bulk of newspapers, magazines and TV channels in the whole world) then how free our media are anyway? We did have the scandal in the UK with Rupert Murdoch’s tactics, then who tells us that our media are accurately giving us the news as they happen?

Why not allow everyone to write, read and share news and articles of whatever they want on-line, free and without borders, as an alternative source of information that is banned or classified by our mainstream media, that God knows to whom they answer to? Perhaps people like Murdoch or our Governments? Will we have only the Murdochs of this world shaping our reality?

It is double standards. We criticize Hungary and China only because they put their hand to the main stream media and those people with money that own them are annoyed. Yet we do not seem to be as bothered about the other media (blogs) that have something to say but get no recognition simply because they are challenging the status quo of this system we live in.

Yet Europe was not reacting in such way about Italy and Berlusconi all those years, not "until the knife hit the bone" as we say in Greece. He was corrupt, everybody knew that, and he owned nearly all media in his country. That puts in question on how free was Italy's media all those years. But when in comes to Hungary everybody is pontificating about the "freedom of the press."

To conclude, I totally understand that American artists want their work safeguarded and raise more revenue. They put pressure on the American Government to pass those laws and pressure their allies in Europe to do the same. But aren't they making enough money already? They dominate the music charts and the blockbuster movies. The biggest celebrities and stars are from America.

So I wonder if the American Government is taking the rest of the world in ransom, in order to secure their dominance in the entertainment industry? And for that, they are happy to limit even more what we can and we can't do online? I do not care if I won't be able to download stuff from the internet, I never had and I never will.

But if one day a law is passed that stops people from visiting this blog, or any blog or website that allows people to share ideas, information, news, things they love and their creativity, then I will have a problem with that and I believe everyone should.

So what safeguards our right to have a free internet, if we allow some governments to limit what we do online bit by bit? What will come next then? Think about it.


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