Commentary

The Revolution Will Not Be Properly Licensed

We see it everywhere. Corporations are trying to take control over our communications tools, citing copyright concerns. Frequently, they are assisted by hapless politicians, who are also aspiring for the same control, citing terrorist concerns or some other McCarthyist scareword of the day. We should see this in perspective of the revolts happening right now in the Arab world.

We have SonyBMG taking administrator-level control of several million customers’ computers to prevent copying of mere music. European authorities mandating wiretapping capabilities of all telecom equipment. Car manufacturers installing remote kill switches in cars. Microsoft embedding the same type of kill switches in their software, along with Apple and Google doing the same to our phones. Intel embedding the same kill switches in processors. Amazon deleting books off our bookshelves.

There is a blind trust in authority here that is alarming. The ever-increasing desire to know what we talk about and to whom is cause for more than concern, and that desire is displayed openly by corporations and politicians alike. To make matters worse, it is not just a matter of eavesdropping: corporations and politicians openly want – and get – the right to silence us.

The copyright industry is demanding the right to kill switches of our very communications. If we talk about matters disruptive enough, disruptive according to authorities or to the copyright industry, the line goes silent. Just twenty years ago, this would have been an absolutely horrifying prospect; today, it is reality. Don’t believe me? Try talking about a link to The Pirate Bay on MSN or on Facebook and watch as silence comes through. The copyright industry is fighting for this to become more pervasive. So are some politicians with agendas of their own. Continue reading…

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