jaromil on Wed, 22 Apr 2009 00:23:01 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> On the Pirate Bay conviction

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re all,

As some  of you  might already  have heard, the  second appeal  to the
Pirate  Bay courtcase  ended up  with  the conviction  of four  people
behind the popular bittorrent tracker  and website, Alan Toner give us
two extensive accounts about the situation on his blog:



Further  below you'll  find the  statement that  the  Internet Society
Philippines  Chapter  released  about  the happenings.   What  I  find
particularly interesting  about the point  of view offered  by ISOC-PH
president Fatima Lasay is the deep awareness of political implications
in  this and  other similar  court cases  also quoted,  for  which the
Pirate Bay case covers a prominent role.

Seen from  an Asian perspective,  the criminalising campaigns  lead by
Western  business  interests  represent   a  worrying  threat  to  the
planetary opening  that "peer to peer" cultures  and practices provide
for developing countries.

Behind the surface of this court  case lies a tension that lasts since
several centuries  in history, as the historical  account of professor
Boron  Ben-Altar outlines  in  his book  "Trade Secrets:  Intellectual
Piracy  and  the  Origins  of American  Industrial  Power"  (obviously
intended as North American here).

Almost 2  years ago  I've done  my best exploring  the topic  from the
perspective of "border economies", as well outlining the complementary
dynamic of loss of privacy for Internet citizens.


Going  further in  connecting  dots,  let me  now  mention that  these
dynamics are evolving  into a worrying threat to  free speech and wide
access to media offered by contemporary participative technologies, as
outlined by the European campaign http://www.blackouteurope.eu

As  Alan  documents  in  his  reports  a  popular  uprise  is  raising
specifically on the PB case, still  as a symptom of the wider concerns
it  raises:  examples  are  the "#fullboycott"  campaign  launched  by
Monochrom  activists http://www.monochrom.at/fullboycott  as  well the
dedication of  the First Internet  Pavilion at the Venice  Biennial to
The Pirate Bay cause noticed by Miltos Manetas on this list.

Obviously the  Pirate Bay  court case  is not just  a concern  for the
Swedish  jurisdiction: it  is configuring  as a  crucial node  for the
evolution  of knowledge  sharing policies  on a  planetary  scale, for
which  it  is  extremely  important  to take  into  account  an  Asian
perspective offered by the document that follows.


ISOC-Philippines statement on the jail sentence for The Pirate Bay
founders and the criminal charges against philosophy professor Horacio
By isoc-ph, on April 20, 2009, 2:05 am

The Internet  Society Philippines' (ISOC-PH)  Public Policy Principles
and activities are based upon  a fundamental belief that "The Internet
is for everyone."  ISOC-PH upholds and defends core  values that allow
people throughout the world to enjoy the benefits of the Internet.

Recent developments, however, demonstrate an alarming growth towards a
"license culture"  on the Internet, imposed by  the criminalization of
those  whose culture  and society  advance creativity,  innovation and
economic  opportunity   through  the  values   of  openness,  sharing,
education and collaboration.

Philosophy professor  Horacio Potel from Argentina  is facing criminal
charges for maintaining a  personal and educational website devoted to
Spanish translations of works by French philosopher Jacques Derrida.

A court  in Sweden has found the  four men behind "The  Pirate Bay", a
file-sharing  website,  guilty  of  breaking copyright  law  and  were
sentenced to a year in jail and ordered to pay $4.5m (Â3m) in damages.

The Ability  to Share is one  of ISOC's core  values. The many-to-many
architecture of  the Internet  makes it a  powerful tool  for sharing,
education, and  collaboration. It has  enabled the global  open source
community to  develop and  enhance many of  the key components  of the
Internet, such as  the Domain Name System and  the World-Wide Web, and
has made the vision of  digital libraries a reality. To preserve these
benefits  we  will  oppose  technologies and  legislation  that  would
inhibit the freedom  to develop and use open  source software or limit
the  well-established  concept of  fair  use,  which  is essential  to
scholarship, education, and collaboration.

We will  also oppose  excessively restrictive governmental  or private
controls   on  computer   hardware  or   software,  telecommunications
infrastructure,  or Internet content.  Such controls  and restrictions
substantially diminish the social, political, and economic benefits of
the Internet.

The  wire-tapping,  searches  and  seizures, the  removal  of  website
content  and  the criminal  charges  against  professor  Potel of  the
University  of  Buenos Aires  is  an  onslaught  on human  rights  and
academic freedom in Argentina and on the Internet.

The police seizures of servers,  the enormous bill for damages and the
jail  sentence  on  Frederik   Neij,  Gottfrid  Svartholm  Warg,  Carl
Lundstrom and  Peter Sunde  is a defiance  of the social  and cultural
institution of file-sharing in Sweden and on the Internet.

ISOC-PH  founding member  and  lawyer Michael  Dizon writes,  "Putting
greater emphasis on  the development of social or  community norms and
how people can actively participate in the creation of these norms may
be more  advantageous in advancing creative culture  than resorting to
contractual agreements.  Ideally, laws (and the licenses  that seek to
enforce rights based on these laws) should embody and uphold the norms
and values of a community, and not the other way around."

As  founding  president  of  the  newly  rejuvenated  ISOC-Philippines
Chapter, I  would like  to dispute some  of the statements  being made
regarding  the Pirate  Bay  trials, in  particular,  by John  Kennedy,
Chairman and  CEO of the International Federation  of the Phonographic
Industry. Mr Kennedy says,

"This is good news for everyone, in Sweden and internationally, who is
making a living or a business  from creative activity and who needs to
know their rights will protected by law."

In  keeping with  the  ISOC-PH mandate,  I  find it  offensive to  the
diversity of cultures on the  Internet the claim that the global model
of copyright protection being imposed upon the developers and users of
the Internet is "good news for everyone."

I also find it hard to  accept the sincerity of Mr Kennedy's statement
about "making a living or  a business from creative activity." In fact
only a handful of media  corporations have effectively taken over what
used to be a very diverse field of creative activity.

Such a  process of consolidation  and privatization has  created gross
inequality between  artists and the big  media corporations: relations
between artists and recording  companies are replete with exploitative
contracts and  bitter legal struggles  for control; and  royalties and
other earnings from copyright constitute only a fraction of the income
of most active professional artists.

The Pirate Bay trials and the criminal charges against professor Potel
are a threat  to academic freedom and free  speech, and they undermine
the Internet  core value  of the  Ability to Share.  If we  envision a
future in which people in all  parts of the world can use the Internet
to improve  their quality  of life, then  freedom, and not  a "license
culture",  must  be  obtained  for  professor Potel,  the  Pirate  Bay
founders and the Internet communities of sharing.

ISOC-PH calls on all Internet citizens to demand freedom.

Fatima Lasay
Internet Society Philippines Chapter

Quezon City, Philippines
April 20, 2009

- -- 

jaromil, dyne.org developer, http://jaromil.dyne.org

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