Sharing is Not a Crime: A Battle Plan to Fight Back

December 7, 2012 (LocalOrg) – The Battlefield: Christopher
Dodd was at one point an alleged elected representative of the people.
As a US Senator he was charged with upholding the Constitution and laws
of the people, and representing the interests of voters in his state of
Connecticut – for 30 years. In reality, Dodd didn’t represent the
people, and instead, represents corporate special-interests – and
unfortunately, Dodd is not the exception.

In early 2011, it was announced that Dodd
– after retiring from 30 years in the Senate – would take up a leading
role at the Motion Pictures Association of America (MPAA) for a $1.5
million annual salary. Immediately, the retired Senator would lead the
charge to pass the notorious Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), with his
incestuous business-government ties visibly rippling through the US
House and Senate as well as through the corporate-dominated media.

 

Despite the obvious conflict of interests and dangerous precedent set by
corporations commandeering elected representatives to leverage their
influence and bend the law of the people to the will of big
corporations, Dodd has been allowed to continue on with the charade. It
was recently reported in Wired’s article, “Hollywood’s Total Piracy Awareness Program Set for January Launch,” that: 

Beginning in a few weeks, the nation’s major internet service providers
will roll out an initiative — backed by Obama and pushed by Hollywood
and the record labels – to disrupt and possibly terminate internet access for
online copyright scofflaws without the involvement of cops or courts.
But that doesn’t mean Hollywood is done filing lawsuits or lobbying
Congress.

“It doesn’t mean you give up on litigation,” said Chris Dodd, head of
the Motion Picture Association of America, speaking at an industry
gathering here Thursday. “It doesn’t mean you give up on legislation.”

As stated in “Decentralizing Telecom,”
to constantly fight the interests of mega-corporations, while thus far
successful, is not a sustainable strategy. Reacting to the provocations
of special interests as they relentlessly attempt to expand their
already unwarranted influence and monopolies, must be replaced with a
strategy aimed at the very source of their strength.

File sharing is not wrong, and it most certainly is not theft. One would
not consider sharing a purchased book with a friend, “theft.”
Technology has simply made it possible to share that book with millions
of “friends.” File sharing operations making money off of other people’s
work might constitute a target for industry and government alike, but
file sharing online is also done for absolutely free, through
peer-to-peer software.

The answer to sagging business models effected by file sharing is not
litigation and legislation, but rather to innovate – something
big-industry certainly has the resources to do.

Open-source, crowd-sourced, innovative software, media, and hardware
businesses already exist, and are already turning profits while creating
local jobs. More importantly, they are opening up markets to consumers
who can now become producers, essentially creating “wealth
redistribution through entrepreneurship” rather than government
subsidies.

These emerging business models prove that jobs, profit, and commerce are
not impossible within the new, emerging paradigm people like Dodd work
tirelessly against. It does prove, however, that the days the special
interests Dodd represents can horde for themselves control over human
creativity and the wealth it generates, are coming to an end.

The Battle Plan: By no means should people already engaged in
anti-monopoly campaigning give up. People campaigning against SOPA,
PIPA, ACTA, and many other forms of legislation represent the minefields
upon a battlefield, slowing the advance of the enemy, and denying it
access long enough for a counteroffensive to be mounted – but that
counteroffensive must eventually be planned and executed.

Dodd’s MPAA “Copyright Alert System,” described by Wired as an “ISP search-and-disrupt operation,”
will use the Internet and telecom monopolies to target file sharing.
Previously reported on “mesh networks” would easily complicate the
enforcement of such a measure. Also, as one keen Wired reader noted in
the comment sections:

Too bad the
MPAA/RIA know that more sharing happens from portable hard drives than
through torrents. So this is a lot like closing the barn door as the
horse is leaving… 

He would elaborate in a second comment that: 

Those file come from the same place as torrents, one person buys it,
rips it and shares it. The funny thing is there are less options to get
one file (maybe one person you know has it vs. hundreds of torrents)
but when you borrow a hard drive you can get more files in a couple of
hours than in a year of torrenting.

And indeed, for those looking to get around the corporate-fascist
collaboration between government, big-film & record studios,
big-software, and big-telecom, a portable hard drive network could
easily be organized, expanded and used to sting back even worse than
online file sharing already has.

However, such networks, be they mesh or hard drive sharing, are still
only countermeasures. To go on the offensive against the special
interests behind this campaign, particularly because they still possess
almost unlimited finances and political backing, is to avoid taking them
head-on and instead attack their supply lines.

We need not travel far to reach these supply lines – for we the
consumers of their products and services constitute the sole source of
their wealth, with which they buy their influence across governments and
the media. Cutting ourselves off, thus cutting their supply lines and
leaving them to starve, is as simple as boycotting and replacing them.

We can begin (and in many cases already are) boycotting and replacing
them with superior, and more importantly, open alternatives. All things
being equal, people would rather watch a free movie than pay for one on
Netflix. One rather listen to a free MP3 than pay for one on iTunes.

By crowd-sourcing, crowd-funding, and producing free entertainment
online leveraging improved, and increasingly cheaper hardware and
software, such alternatives are already emerging. Campaigners against
the likes of Dodd, the MPAA, and their SOPA, PIPA, and ACTA travesties,
may also consider going a step beyond merely naming those corporations
involved, and promote a full-spectrum, permanent boycott (and here), while promoting open-source, innovative alternatives.

Websites featuring open-entertainment could be organized by genre, or
contain a variety to choose from. These could be open-versions of
iTunes, Netflix, and Amazon, that run on ads, feature donation and
referral buttons for artists, and more importantly, remain free and open
for all. Live events could be organized and revenue raised for artists
and organizers that way.

Image: Open source (OS) solutions for everything from e-mail
and browsers, to 3D design graphic and vector art. An excellent resource
for finding appropriate OS solutions is OSalt.com.

….

Design houses and studios using open-source software
for commissioned work could augment their income by arranging training
workshops and consulting services for other companies to switch over
from expensive propriety solutions to open-source. The more people
involved in open collaboration, the greater the benefit for all those
involved.  

Artists have and will always ply their trade for passion. Many are
rediscovering the process of working for commissions rather than for
royalties, and are using the open-sharing of their work as an
advertisement for their commissioned services, live performances, and
physical merchandise related to their intellectual efforts.

The arguments of copyrighted industry revolving around the promotion of
innovation, art, and entertainment, as well as the creation of jobs, are
already falling apart in an emerging, open-paradigm. People like
Christopher Dodd whose blatantly compromised agenda makes a mockery of
representative governance, embodies an industry and a paradigm that does
not deserve perpetuation. Through boycotting and replacing it, by us
all becoming open-producers and collaborates instead of consumers
bellied up to the corporate troughs, let us ensure a deep enough hole is
dug for them, so that when they finally are rolled into it, they never
emerge again.

….

Running an open source studio, design house, or other business and want to share your story? Please contact us at LocalOrg or send an e-mail to cartalucci@gmail.com