Is it The Pirate Party, or The Pirate Lobby?

It’s endlessly fascinating to witness the double standard of the internet companies and pirate communities. The conversation is, was and will always be about money. So much so, that the tech industry has created yet another lobby to prop up it’s interests to exploit artists and creators in the aptly named, Internet Association. This in addition to the record breaking lobby spends by just Google. At least this time the shills are out in the open. Author Scott Cleland posts, The Top False Claims of the New Internet Association to add some balance (and transparency) to the conversation.

Let’s be clear about this, the conversation is not, nor has it ever been about free speech as IP scholar Adam Mosoff writes in The Statesman,

“The right to free speech is the right to express one’s thoughts without censorship by the government. Copyright does not prohibit anyone from creating their own original novels, songs or artworks. Importantly, copyright does not stop people from thinking, talking or writing about copyrighted works.”

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8 thoughts on “Is it The Pirate Party, or The Pirate Lobby?

  1. A thief is a thief. Don’t they know that a pirate is not a good thing? A pirate is a thief. A thief is one who steals. A lowlife, a parasite who exists simply because of the work of others.

  2. Their response is to redefine thievery. By applying the notion that a copy does not deprive the owner of the original, they assert that copying does not constitute thievery. It is a transaction loss. This turns the argument into attempts to collect more money instead of defending a right. It is a transparent attempt to relieve the server farm owners of the obligation to track the theft. The justification is that copyright infringement and theft are different kinds of crimes, adjudicated differently, in different courts with different applicable laws and punishments.

    This semantic judo is used by some of the sharpest people I know from years of working with them on various projects. Communities such as XML-Dev became livid for posts making reference to this site. References to the “politics of IP” are to be shunned in these communities while they go about their way making it possible. Eventually it becomes self-evident that these communities however functional they are or laudable their history of accomplishments are also to be shunned.

    This wrinkle in the Internet cultures began a long time ago. It has insinuated itself into the fiber of thought and will not be easily untangled. It reaches into some of the most prestigious circles of standards committees, open source communities and small start-ups. The challenge is these are people who after many years of online presence have become very adept at the kinds of arguing made in legal circles and social causes.

    Demagoguery requires that the assertion have a little truth to be accepted by the audience to promote behaviors which they would otherwise not commit. See George Wallace, former Governor of Alabama. Eventually the little truths must be acknowledged and the greater good made self-evident. Otherwise, there is a lot to be said for digital forensics and proceedings that focus on the points of law instead of the laudable need to build a better world perverted into the blind support of a growing society of shiny criminals.

  3. We may appreciate the message, but let’s just be sure we understand who the messenger here is. Scott Cleland is a Washington insider who has made much hay as a paid shill for major ISPs and (to a lesser degree) media companies. He was, for example, the big ISPs’ main Beltway mouthpiece against Net Neutrality legislation.

  4. Just wanted to note that Scott Cleland is one of the bigger shills I’ve encountered. Over the years, Mr. Cleland has established a long history of championing policies that would reward large telecommunications incumbents and disadvantage entrepreneurial activity on the internet. He’s like that one scientist global warming deniers trot out in sad attempts to invalidate climate change. Cite him at your own peril.

    Not that this invalidates the secondary argument about copyright and free speech.

    Can we have licensing reform now, please? Some licenses are simply easier to enforce. Let’s stop the escalation and get to real solutions.

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