Freedom of Speech 2.0

us-governmentThe internet was invented in America – the land of the free and home of the brave; It seems like with every evolution of the global internet and every alleged infringement of intellectual property and/or copyrighted information our freedoms of speech are becoming more and more limited and [virtually] no longer apply to the internet?!

Background

Yes, a million years ago Napster was the original offender which began the snow storm of how people use bits and bytes of digital information and the ways we exchange it (either between other devices we own or with friends/colleagues).  While Apple and Microsoft have made attempts to secure said information by creating their own digital rights management (DRM) platforms, their attempts have been mediocre at best and [honestly] people are smart enough to get around it.

The RIAA and MPAA have taken some extraordinary steps to curb the proliferation of music and movies, starting with their involvement and push to eliminate Napster’s easy to use, free peer-to-peer platform for sharing of files (be it copyrighted/intellectual property/original uncopyrighted works) through civil proceedings.

Fast forward to today’s globally connected internet, where bandwidth is plentiful and streaming services are common-place; the RIAA and MPAA have government lobbyists, special interest groups and well connected government officials “in their pocket” to enable the US government to [essentially] police the internet and administratively deny access to sites which may/may not have intellectual property/copyrighted items on them.  Yes, sharing of copyrighted and/or intellectual permission is illegal and [mostly] immoral, but should be dealt with through civil proceedings as demonstrated with the take-down of Napster, not a government-managed process.

Too much power

Let’s face it, the USA is a GREAT place to live, but our government is not exactly the most efficient and the term “well oiled machine” isn’t in any citizen’s vocabulary when describing it.  Lobbyists and special interest groups are always tugging on the ears of our government’s most powerful people, which end up giving in and lobbyists/special interest groups get their way (cough, Obama care).  As I see things, the RIAA and MPAA want a more streamlined [and quicker] way to address infringing content, however making this a government-managed process is a slippery slope which will only end with a mis-managed, poorly implemented attempt at government controlled access to content.  Isn’t this a violation of our freedom of speech albeit either spoken or digitally communicated?

Where will this end?  There have been suggestions made  to implement a psuedo-firewall for the USA and essentially having a government-controlled method of easily limiting the internet solely to protect copyrighted information and its intellectual property…  Seeing as the driving force for this comes down to digital rights management and the ability for the RIAA and MPAA (two private, non-government organizations) to produce and protect revenues, where does the US Government fit in to this, and how have we been able to travel down this road SO FAR when this can be (and has been) handled through civil proceedings?

A suggestion: The RIAA and MPAA are a little “big for their britches” – They are attempting to threaten/sue just about any user (knowledgeable or not) for their actions (intentional or not) for one reason… Money…  Yes, the RIAA and MPAA have been “burned” in the past with the ease of sharing music/movies, but the RIAA and MPAA are (indirectly) responsible for this, allowing digitization and distribution of a non-unified, non-DRM piece of data.  Both organizations should be intimately involved with Microsoft and Apple and any of the other DRM start-ups out there and the RIAA and MPAA should be driving the development of a platform consistent with protecting their content.  You don’t have to engineer a impenetrable protect, you just need to stay a few steps ahead of everyone else.

In today’s inter-connected world, everyone should realize that [some] people WILL get around your methods of protection and WILL [attempt to] copy your work, but this is what civil proceedings are designed for – NOT a government run, government control attempt at fixing this.  I find it scary that the power of the US Government can be influenced so heavily by special interest groups and lobbyists.  I feel that we should take take a MUCH more active role in who we elect and be vocal about things we’re opposed it – it’s our constitutional right as citizens; if we don’t our country will [eventually] be controlled by the people who have the most money and most well-connected contacts.