Content creators, specifically the MPAA and RIAA, have been engaged in a battle of wills with legislature in every major country in the world. At the heart of this fight was the attempt to get a 3-strikes law enacted. In short, you get accused of pirating a song or movie three separate times by one of these companies and not only would an ISP be forced to cut you off from the internet, but also add your name to a blacklist that would be circulated to every ISP who in turn is not allowed to give you internet access. In effect, a permanent internet ban.
Now think about this closely – you get this punishment from accusation only. There is no due process. There is no review or jury by one’s peers. The accuser has to provide no proof.
This push to turn this concept into legislation has fallen on its face almost everywhere once the general public found out about it (except for France who passed a slightly modified version of it into law). So since these companies can’t do it one way, they’ve gone and tried another.
Welcome to ACTA, the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement. Stuffed into this treaty that is supposed to help countries control the counterfeit of money across borders, is a handy section that would also bring to life this 3-strike laws for content piracy. Michael Geist has a fantastic breakdown of what the treaty entails on his blog.
What is so immensely infuriating about all of this is:
A) This treaty was supposed to be done in secret (no public knowledge to get outraged over).
B) The secret meetings were kept under wraps by our own administration (transparency in government, my fat ass).
C) Because it is a treaty, all it takes is a quick ratification from our own Congress and viola, the MPAA and RIAA have their wetdream come true without any vetting or voting by the general public.
This is first class horse shit shenanigans!
Now, let’s be clear, pirating movies or music is theft. So-called internet pirates are parasites. There is no excuse for it. However the punishment does not fit the crime. When’s the last time you heard electricity or water being cutoff from someone who broke the law? This is just plain stupid, yet our elected leaders are seemingly happy to play along with a very undemocratic, unAmerican process.
The internet is no longer an oddity or luxury. It’s a major source of commerce, education, entertainment, and communication. It is, for all intents and purposes, a utility.
No one would be the wiser right now if this treaty hadn’t been leaked. Worse, our own government was keeping this under wraps placing it under the over-used “national security” concerns. At the black-hearted center of it all are greedy, outmoded corporations that are too lazy to upgrade their business mode.
The plain truth is that these companies would bog down customs agents and border guards to check your electronics for possible pirated copies of their movies and their music instead of checking for something that could actually hurt us.
MPAA, RIAA – FUCK YOU.