Yesterday, WalMart wouldn’t let me in. I had my computer, which was in a backpack, so I must be a thief. I can’t leave my computer in the car because it’s a Jeep: even if I lock it, someone can reach in and take it; even if I put the top on, all someone has to do is pull a zipper and they can get to my computer.
This is a growing trend. It has become okay in our society for people to treat honest people as thieves, before they’ve thieved, before they’ve been tried, before they’ve been found guilty.
It has become okay in our society to disregard the first amendment:
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech or of the press; or the right of the people to peaceably assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”
Making the rounds of the writing community is a petition to protect copyright. The letter sounds great. The intent sounds great. It’s making the rounds quickly because we all want to protect against piracy. But if you dig deeper into their site, the Copyright Alliance are proponents of internet regulation.
Internet regulation means that the United States government can put “nanny controls” on every U.S. citizen and decide what is and what is not good for them. The most common justification for
unconstitutional telephone tapping regulating the internet by Bush by the government is terrorism child pornography.
For us writers, the fear we’re fed to motivate us to give up our freedom of the press is piracy, losing royalties, etc.
Fear has been used too long to take away our freedoms. I don’t know what is happening to our country, but every time I turn around, the people and the government seems to have forgotten the first amendment.
There are already laws which prohibit people from posting your work on the internet and giving it out for free. If the publishers found it more profitable to protect copyright, they would file charges. You could sue. Unless it’s in a different country, you can even have the site taken down by contacting their host provider, something that is not difficult at all.
We’ve seen how regulation of the internet in Iran and China work. We all duly act appalled, but somehow we campaign for regulation of the internet in the United States because the politicians just keep yelling “child pornography!” and “piracy!”
“Regulation” of free press is not okay. It’s a contradiction in terms.
If you read child pornography sites, you will be trapped. They can track ISPs. They can prosecute you. When you break a law, you should be caught.
BUT, this is not martial law. In this country, locking people up BEFORE they commit a crime, just to be sure they don’t commit a crime, is not okay. Yes, it is harder to wait for people to break the law and then try them before putting them behind bars, but that does not mean that the alternative, putting them behind bars before trial, is okay.
In this country, you cannot treat people like thieves before they thieve.
“Wherever there is a loophole in the existing laws protecting traditional American liberties, the opponents of these freedoms try to squeeze in. Whenever legislators create the slightest opening to allow some kind of censorship, the censors will be born and will march again.” ~Mieczyslaw Maneli
Please don’t sign this letter. Yes, artists need to band together to protect copyright, but the regulation of the internet is not the answer. How many artists’ works have been censored against? Artists NEED freedom of expression, and censorship—which is what internet regulation is—is not the answer.
And may I remind that internet regulation is often packaged with anti-p0rn? Do you think a computer program can tell the difference between romantica, erotica and pr0n, which use the same words? What about nudes in photography? Sculpture? How quickly can internet regulation turn against us?
Fast. As long as it takes to sign a bill.