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Censorship Your Rights Online

Sir Tim Berners-Lee Speaks Out On SOPA 188

natecochrane writes "Father of the web Sir Tim Berners-Lee called for Americans to protest SOPA and PIPA, laws he says violate human rights and are unfit for a democratic country. Sir Tim's condemnation came on the day an editorial in Australia's leading broadsheet newspapers pointed out that although the laws ostensibly applied to U.S. interests they could overreach to impact those in other countries."
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Sir Tim Berners-Lee Speaks Out On SOPA

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  • Lobying money (Score:5, Interesting)

    by future assassin (639396) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @02:32PM (#38751812) Homepage

    All that money spent on paying of politicians says one thing to me. We don't want to give people access to movies and music. If this wasn't the case the movie studios and music companies would have used that money to develop online distribution websites. How hard would it have been to take all the works you have copyrights to and set up a site where people can buy them and download them.

  • Re:And yet... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by rmstar (114746) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @02:47PM (#38752002)

    They do "have a shot". We the people get no real say in what bills get passed or not. Best we can do is vote the current person out of office, at which point they get a cushy job in the industry they represented and a new industry spokesperson takes their place.

    I do not think that is correct. We the people do get a say in what bills get passed or not. Please do not underestimate it. Defeatism and apathy are the best allies of those that want to take away our freedoms.

    We the people do have power. Not absolute, but we have it, and when we use it we end up having an influence. Voting is one part of exercising power, and protest (like the blackouts) another. Raising consciousness of the issues and our power is another.

  • by Nadaka (224565) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @02:54PM (#38752096)

    Freedom of the press is specified in the first amendment specifically because it was the method of exercising free speech beyond the reach of your voice. It specifically refers to the device, the printing press, and in concept all devices and methods of spreading speech. That concept of freedom of the press would equally apply to internet access as it is the modern medium of mass communication.

  • by ledow (319597) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @02:55PM (#38752102) Homepage

    It doesn't apply to me. If the US block access to my site from the US, it doesn't affect me in the slightest. They could block access from the US to every site in my country as far as I'm concerned. Now, maybe it affects *someone* (I'm sure some companies would lose US import monies, but I'm equally sure the US would lose just as much in reverse), but until the EU even begin to consider similar laws that I get a say in, there's nothing I can do for you at all. I can agree with you or not. It makes no difference. Holding your service/data to ransom until you've rammed it down my throat doesn't help your cause.

    So that's why *I've* complained about sites doing stupid SOPA blackouts - they've denied me access to content I want to see because of some political motive that I have no control over at all, and that I have to find ways to bypass. Sound much like SOPA itself?

    Just because your country are doing something stupid doesn't mean that somehow involving me or assuming I'll just agree with you will make me feel strongly enough to take up your cause. SOPA is a stupid idea. But it's not MY stupid idea. And it won't affect me or my sites or my use of the Internet or my income in any way whatsoever.

    In actual fact, the SOPA blackouts just made me find alternate sites and avenues to the content I would normally use. They actually *helped* me not be reliant on people who think their service is there to push their own political agenda instead of being a service. As soon as you "personalise" the service that much, I lose interest in it because it's more about personality and your beliefs than anything to do with the service they are providing.

    Also, I don't need politics (especially foreign politics) spoon-fed to me by websites who assume I don't understand and that I'll just agree with them because they have inconvenienced me. Whether or not I do understand or even sympathise, that's one way to royally piss me off.

    I equate the SOPA blackouts with the London Tube strikes - I may or may not agree with the underlying cause, but inconveniencing me and holding me to blackmail until I agree with you will make me NOT agree with you just out of principle. The DMCA was similarly fucking stupid, but nobody protested then and if you had, I'd have had the same opinion - I don't care because it doesn't affect me or my country, and I can't affect a foreign political system in any way (Fuck, I can barely affect my own!).

    Sure, we have our own versions of some laws and THAT'S worth my interest but even people/sites/organisations in my own country trying to enforce their opinion on me through such actions is extremely counter-productive. I'm not stupid and, I'm afraid, I knew of ten times more important laws that got passed silently without any protest but I knew about them and they didn't get made public. Even those where people tried to make them public, the general populous had no concept of them and they were hidden in the news under celebrities being pregnant and politicians revealing details of their sex lives.

    Publicity stunts to raise awareness are one thing but this is no more worth it than, say, the fact the US is still keeping prisoners in captivity without charge a decade after their arrest, in inhumane conditions and subjecting them to torture. SOPA, in comparison, is like preaching to a heart surgeon in the middle of an operation that hospital waiting rooms sometimes have chewing gum stuck to the bottom of their seats.

    Don't shove your politics down my throat. And don't interrupt my productivity for the sake of "awareness" when I was aware of it before and am more concerned about a lot more important things than whether the US turns itself into a country like China. In some ways, it may do us all a favour if the US just forces itself off the net entirely by misusing these powers and making other countries build replacement, non-US, infrastructure.

  • by MrEricSir (398214) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @02:55PM (#38752104) Homepage

    Why *shouldn't* the internet be a right? Is there some compelling reason we should restrict our civil liberties instead of expanding them to meet the reality of today's world?

  • Re:Lobying money (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anrego (830717) * on Thursday January 19, 2012 @02:57PM (#38752120)


    But that's how it goes with dinosaurs. They are way too big and have way too much invested in the way they've always done things, that when times change their first instinct isn't to adapt, but instead to send out the lawyers and lobbyists and stop it.

    Rather than find new ways to profit in the new reality of media and data, they've stuck with their mindset of media as a physical thing that one person at a time owns.

    Most importantly, I think there is a lack of rational viewpoints and thinking. No one is trying to come up with a solution that accomodates all needs. Both sides are full of extremists and it's getting us nowhere.

    Personally I think people have the right to make money off their product. The fact that a copy of something "costs nothing" doesn't mean anything if the first copy cost several million dollars and you are "sharing" it with several thousand strangers. I also tend to disagree with this entitled "if I can't have it the way I want at a price I want, I'll steal it" attitude.

    That said, I think the media industry goes way too far. They want to control what you view, how you view it, what you view it on... and they abuse the law as a standard practice. They want to inhibit all progress in how we use media because the old way is so damn profitable. They want to sell us something and include a list of unreasonable restrictions. If I buy something, I should own it and be allowed to do whatever I want with it.

If we could sell our experiences for what they cost us, we would all be millionaires. -- Abigail Van Buren