A pedant that hangs out in the dark corner-cases of the web.

Friday, January 06, 2012

Some quick thoughts prompted by SOPA/PIPA

Neither side has agreed on the first principals, and both are trying to control the framing of the discussion.

For example, starting by dismissing those that do not agree there is a legitimate “intellectual property” (artificial scarcity) issue in the first place.

Personally, I don’t think there’s any possibility of compromise on the atomic issue of whether to regulate speech. Enforcing personal, not-for-profit copyright infringement will always conflict with freedom of speech. We’ve seen it in Russia silencing dissidents under the cover of piracy raids, and we’ve seen enemies and competitors trying to put each other on child porn filter lists for spite or market advantage in Scandinavia, and we’ve seen it with Universal vs. Megaupload here. Once the infrastructure is built, for whatever noble reasons, it will invariably be abused.

(I come from a time when copyright was a civil matter between companies, and comedians made fun of the FBI warnings at the beginning of video tapes.)

And, really, does a busker chasing down each and every sidewalk pedestrian make sense anyway? Artists will eventually adjust to the fact that they are buskers again. It seems to have worked for Cory Doctorow, Jonathan Coulton, and Louis CK.

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