Yes, this conversation again. I came away feeling like I didn’t get my point across really well so I am picking at this again like the obsessive scab-picker that I am. I was six hundred words into a frothy spiel before I impulsively deleted it and decided to make a few assertions/bullet points instead:
- None of these up and coming copyright treaties and laws will in any way slake the desire for cheap, high-quality copyrighted material.
- None of these up and coming copyright treaties will do more than have a cosmetic effect the rate of dissemination on copyrighted material. In the short-term it will drop, but in the long-term both recover to it’s current levels and grow, as users and technologies adapt.
- Even as old avenues of search and distribution close, new ones will open. The Darknet paper is a great bit of reading on this.
- Developers and users will treat the treaties and their restrictions as damage and accordingly route around them. Distribution technologies will evolve – nay, flourish! If I had to give an example of what might arise from this, I would say maybe a high-capacity TOR network.
- The arms race will continue with advances and setbacks on either side. To come back to Megaupload, it’s worth noting that the shutdown has had chilling effects on other file-locker services. That’s a bigger victory.
- Anonymous. I do support the sentiment behind their activism, even if I think their activities are misguided. Whoop-de-doo, they can DDOS a website for a few hours at a time: A legal takedown is permanent. However, Anonymous is still here is spite of probably quite intense probing by a plethora of public and private investigating agencies. It shows (to me) that Anonymous have some real know-how and a desire to succeed. Today, Anonymous tear down posters and piss on lawns. Tomorrow, they will be physically or electronically attacking on backbone infrastructure and specifically targeted criminal or (domestic) terrorist acts. I’m not trying to fear-monger like some fuddy-duddy idiot who hasn’t a fucking clue about the Internet. Older, monied, people and groups have said “fuck you” to Internet openness and expression time and time again. The latest round of insidious treaties copy-pasted from one country to another shows this in stark clarity. Anonymous and other groups have the potential to act as a polarizing call to arms for the disenfranchised.
- In the end, the more you oppress people (whether it is actual or perceived), the more you foster extreme views and robust workarounds. I mean, fuck, take the Fremen of Arrakis: Ten thousand years of unyielding oppression on one of the most inhospitable planets in the Imperium, and we all know how badly that debacle ended.
- The SOPA/PIPA/ACTA/whatever treaties undoubtedly will change the Internet, but they will not change the Internet’s status quo. This whole fucked up cycle is going to rinse and repeat and around until something breaks.