it's war. Maybe not in real life, but there's war on the internet. What started as a minor protest by pro-piracy groups against the actions of the media giants, has turned into a massive exchange of digital attacks, even flowing into the real life world.
Some background information
Conflict has been brewing for more than a decade by now. It started with a protest by the media industry against video and audio casette copying. This copying was made equal to theft. This eventually moved on to the internet, where copying bits of data (which represent Intellectual Property) was made equal to theft by the same organisations.
Before we continue, lets look up theft in the dictionary. In basically all dictionaries, it says something like this: "Theft - Taking away property which belongs to someone.". Do you take something away by copying? No. Do you steal property with copying? You don't too.
Next reason from the media giants to fight piracy: "They would lose profits due to piracy, which they would have made without piracy." Hmmmm, what profits were lost? Got any proof? Ah I see, you haven't. That's with all these things like "we're losing profits". And if it's about movies or music making losses, that's always because of hollywood accounting or similar schemes. These schemes make the real creator (the artist) earn hardly any money from their creations, even if they're highly profitable. Why should we even buy the media then?
To make matters worse, the media industry has been criminalizing the consumers with increasingly aggressivity. And in earlier times (5-15 years ago), that wasn't even without a 'good' reason! Back then, hardly anyone was pirating on a large scale. The anti piracy outfits were starting a massive public campaign back then when the internet started to become very popular among the common people. This lead to alot of people finding out about piracy, and starting to use it.
To tell a funny story: A family member of mine was unreasonable to talk about regarding IP (Intellectual Property) and such things. He regarded any form of open source and piracy as heavy criminals. If you find piracy questionable, ok, I can agree. But Open Source? Just because it's free to share doesn't make it criminal. Proves how old-fashioned some people can think.
Lets go on. Basically, this entire criminalizing of the public has created alot of hate against the media giants by alot of people who check on the independent news sources on the internet (which virtually contains the only independent news sources). This hate led to small protests like propaganda in the past. Also, the media industry has been 'purchasing'/bribing new laws, like 'pornographic internet filters' and heavier IP laws. The latest results of these actions are the ACTA treaty and the Gallo Report. The protests kept going at the steady pace it had always been going in. Still, it was a fire waiting to explode. And explode it did.
Opening of the war
What triggered the so called explosion? Well, that's something which I'm gonna explain now.
In september, several torrent sites (including The Pirate Bay) became victim of DDoS attacks (denial of service). This upset the filesharing and general internet community alot. But, the culprit could only be guessed, until... The indian firm, AiPlex, confessed they were behind the attacks, and that they were paid by the RIAA and MPAA. This infuriated the internet community, especially the younger generations.
Within a matter of days, huge attacks (involving thousands, if not millions, of people) were staged upon several websites, including the AiPlex, RIAA and MPAA. All those websites suffered downtime, as reported by Panda Security.
It didn't stop with this. Several hours later, the digital attacks were being exchanged by hackers from both sides. Both sides suffered damage, but fortunately no one has been killed yet. It isn't possible, since this war isn't going on in real life, or is it?
What's really going on
There's something going on behind the background. This war isn't about piracy, but about power. Modern-day piracy is power of the masses, and the internet currently also is power of the masses. The internet is also a very big communication method, soon to be the biggest (if not the biggest already). Any powerful entity wants to control this. If you look at all the anti-piracy laws being bought/bribed/lobbied (whatever you call it) by the media industry, all of them can also be used at people who just have a non-matching opinion.
Haven't we seen this before? Ah yes, I remember. It were some troubled times in a certain country in Europe in the 1930's. Dangerous it was, and it needed alot of power to be pulled down.
Currently, in all european countries, there's been alot of media coverage of extremist right groups. In The Netherlands, we have our own person for this matter, called Geert Wilders. I think it isn't anything coincidental that people like him get so much media coverage. It's not only because they have radical views, but also because they're likely to grant the large corporations more power. And this is exactly what the media industry wants.
The developments currently happening are leading towards corporate-controlled police states, where any differently-thinking person gets ruined for the rest of his/her life. It's already what we were seeing in the USA, with the anti-piracy lawsuits in the past.
A side note: I don't condemn any corporation. Any corporation which operates within the boundaries of the law has right to exist. Corporations which buy laws by bribing/lobbying operate outside the law in my eyes, and therefore have no right to exist.
But before these police states are a reality, we need to act. The protests, in the form of propaganda and pirate parties, were just the beginning. Now the real war has started, it's not about just piracy. It's about the freedom of speech. Since if the media giants get the internet under their control, they have all media under control. And this is something VERY dangerous. We have seen this before, and we fought it in the past with a huge army. Then right after, we promised it would never happen any more. And now? It's starting to happen again, and the only people acting are far in the minority. The reason? Hardly anyone knows about this war, which is far more dangerous than any muslim or terrorist threat.
I've been gathering links of articles about these issues for some time now. While some are clearly pointing towards one side, I've posted the most neutral ones below here:
http://torrentfreak.com/european-parliament-votes-on-controversial-anti-piracy-report-100921/ (maybe not so neutral, still posting it for you)
http://torrentfreak.com/copyright-trolls-not-just-for-patents-anymore-100920/ (same goes for this)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Njuo1puB1lg (an intresting explaination how you can make profit and have piracy at the same time)
http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2010/04/acta-is-here.ars/ (some insightful information on ACTA)
Just do some searches with your favorite search engines, and you'll find alot of results about these issues.
A few years ago, the copyright issues didn't bother me much. I thought that it wouldn't affect real life, and remain on the internet. That has changed 2 years ago, when more and more information got leaked on ACTA. ACTA has serious impacts on democracy, in a negative way. It might be the beginning of the end of democracy, unless we act. After all, if we act, they're just digging their own grave. And I hope we will act.
What can you do? Firstly, have a look at those links, read them entirely (at least, the english ones) and make up your own mind. If you agree with the tone set in this blog post, feel free to join the fight and vote for the pirate parties (or other parties which are pro-piracy, generally left-wing or liberal parties) and let other people know about what's going on. If you don't agree, that's your own right. It's still a democracy after all.