With the upcoming conference ‘The Media’s Right to Offend: Exploring Legal and Ethical Limits on Free Speech’ in Halifax (Yes, Ezra will be speaking), I cannot but make the connections between the limitations on the freedom of speech the government on one hand and corporate interests on the other.
This is not meant to distract from the one – rather, it is to call attention to the connections between the two, and to make sure we don’t get side-swiped by corporate censorship just as we will have won the legal battle against the government. And, it seems clear to me that corporate censorship is as much of a threat to our freedoms as government censorship is.
While I have too much respect for the rule of law to advocate piracy, I do think that we need change bad laws. And laws which turn the majority of the population into criminals (even without their knowledge) are bad laws – in my never-humble-opinion.
If you want more info on this – and missed my earlier rant on this, please, watch ‘Steal This Film’! It is important that we understand how these laws can affect us….and what USED to be perceived as ‘piracy’:
- in the 1970’s, network TV fought against Cable, saying putting their content onto a cable that ran to people’s home was ‘piracy’
- when the VCR was invented, Hollywood movie studios predicted that this would be the end of them, as this ‘piracy’ would rob them of revenue.
- the ‘sheet music’ people – as well as many musician unions – resisted ‘recorded music’, because they perceived it as ‘piracy’
- the 1st mp3-player out there (long before ipod) was met with lawsuits for ‘facilitatin piracy’
Traditionally, copyright violation was a matter for civil courts. In order for a criminal prosecution to occurr, there had to be more than just simple copyright violation. But that is no longer the case, as corporations are forcing criminal charges to be laid agains simple, non-commercial copyright violation….that is something we need to pay attention to!