Will litigation neuter the internet?

16 12 2009

A free internet is under threat on several fronts, several proposed laws may severely limit the internet and cripple innovation. Large corporations and organizations would like to control the internet and they may well do so if the following laws come to pass.

ACTA (Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement).

Anti-counterfeiting, who could be against that? This proposed treaty may get international ratification, we could have our freedoms encroached without a US law ever having to be passed! See this webpage.

Three strikes is at the core of this agreement. If an internet user is accused three times (note not convicted, just accused by anyone reporting them to their ISP), then the internet user gets booted off the internet by their ISP. No due process, no appeal process. Guilt is assumed not proven. In France they have already passed similar legislation. Bans for life could be dished out, even the infamous hacker Kevin Mitnick got his internet privileges back. You and I may not.

Some of the organizations supporting this treaty are the MPAA and RIAA. They seem to be tiring of suing small time copyright violators, its expensive to litigate, it would be much more convenient to bypass the law. With no congressional oversight or the need to pass any US laws this international agreement could affect internet users worldwide. Tired of playing whack-a-mole trying to prevent music and movies from being copied illegally, the RIAA and MPAA figure that neutering the internet is the answer. The internet is a threat to their cause, so why not just cripple it?

Individual country three strikes laws are becoming more popular.

Countries to recently pass three strikes laws are New Zealand, France and Britain. Wow has the world gone crazy?

Some countries are resisting the compulsion to scratch the itch, Singapore, Germany. have rejected similar legislation. Spreken ze deutsch?

Here is an analogy. If you had three people call the police and say you were speeding, how would you feel if they revoked your driving license without any proof, no radar detector, just three complaints. This is a modern version of witch hunting. No judge, no court, all it takes is three whistle-blowers. Ever see or read the play The Crucible?

I saw Sarah Good with
the Devil! I saw Goody Osburn with the Devil! I saw Bridget Bishop
with the Devil!

McCarthyism is alive and well!!

If these laws hold up, then loss of internet, possibly for life could be dished out, not by the courts. No the ISP’s would have that responsibility. As an ISP faced with either challenging the RIAA or MPAA in court or just cutting off one more customer to appease them, I think we all know which choice they will make.




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