Stop ACTA Now!

I’m not one to spam my friends with a lot of email for a cause so I will blog about it instead. The large content holders such as the movie industry and the music industry don’t seem to care for the Internet much. They know some of their material is being stolen and even where they are making money it’s not the type of controlled channel they are used to. Instead of shelling out for a whole CD or album to get the one or two good tracks, people can buy a single track for $1.99 or so. Instead of spending upwards of $7 a ticket to see a movie, we can rent it through iTunes or even pay Netflix a monthly subscription and watch as we want.

They’ve lost control and they don’t like it. They would like this whole Internet thing to go away. For the past few years there have been repeated attempts to get legislation created that would allow them to remove Internet access for anyone accused of downloading copyrighted material illegally. That’s accused, not found guilty. No due process, just an accusation. Shades of witch trials in the middle ages!

Most the arguments are couched in terms of how the poor content creators are being harmed by pirating. Really, the people losing the most money (if indeed it really is that much) are the content holders. By that I mean the recording and film industry. The content creators don’t make most of the profits from music or film sales. So this is largely a smokescreen argument. They quote losses based on the number of downloads. This assumes that everyone who downloads would have bought a copy otherwise or that they didn’t later go and buy a copy.

The real way to battle piracy is to make content available easily, such as iTunes, Amazon or Netflix, and at a good price. Those methods have been proven to work. There are existing laws and means to deal with cases of continuing piracy. Witness the recent arrest and charging of the owners of the site Megaupload. Even in that case, not all of the material on the site was copyrighted, people were storing and exchanging their own personal data which they have now lost.

So what can you do? Glad you asked. You can start by going to the OpenMedia site and adding your name to the email petition. Let our politicians know that we don’t support these measures.

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