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<nettime-ann> artist's letter opposing new bill to censor the Internet
Geert Lovink on Wed, 5 Oct 2011 21:13:02 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime-ann> artist's letter opposing new bill to censor the Internet

From: Holmes Wilson <hwilson {AT} gmail.com>

I'm working on a new activism campaign around changing copyright and protecting the open internet.  Would you or others you know be interested in signing?  

http://bit.ly/artist-letter  (and some more info in the email below)



Hi friends--

Please take a minute to read this and forward to all the best possible people:  

Congress is considering a law that could be used to censor the net, in the name of protecting "creativity" (read: copyright).  The law would let the government or corporations censor entire sites-- they just have to convince a judge that the site is "dedicated to copyright infringement".

The law could definitely pass, but it's close.  If notable artists (musicians, actors, writers, media-makers, etc) speak out against the law, it will be a powerful statement, since the corporate music and film lobbies push these laws in your name.   

To that end, I've drafted a letter to Congress: 

I'm sending this to friends who make amazing art, and friends who have friends that make amazing art.   Can you take 2 minutes to do the same?  And if you make art in any form, can you sign it?  (But don't post it publicly yet.  We'd like to have a solid list of signers before we go public).

The law is a bad idea for a number of reasons, but the most dangerous part is the potential for censorship.  Any new social media website (Ustream, Soundcloud, or Youtube in its early days) could look like a piracy haven to the wrong judge.  So corporations or the government could abuse the law to shut down social media or social networking sites at critical moments.  If other countries follow our lead and pass similar laws, the results will be even worse.

Even for those of you that feel strongly about using copyright to control your work, I think you'll feel that in the balance, it's more important to maintain an internet that can be a global force for free speech.   Also, I should say that the letter attempts to address Congress in their own terms, which tend to value art in mostly economic terms.  I know this might repel some of you, I hope you understand, and I'm open to making edits (which can then be reviewed by the group).  

Finally, this is related to a new organization I'm starting.  It's called "Fight for the Future", it's going to rule, we're hiring (activists), and I'd love to discuss sometime.


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