First and Fourth Amendment rights continue to suffer serial battery at the hands of those who are supposed to protect them:
The FBI and Justice Department on their own initiative [this week] shut down Megaupload.com, the biggest of thousands of file-sharing sites online, and arrested four of its top officials. … And what is their grave crime? They are accused of abetting copyright infringement, that is, permitting the creating of copies of ideas expressed in media. No violence, no fraud, no force, no victims (but plenty of corporate moguls who claim without proof that their profits are lower as a result of file sharing). — Jeffrey Tucker, “Power vs. People in the Digital Age”, Daily Reckoning, January 21, 2012
Congressional involvement is really a noisy sideshow — the game’s been rigged:
. . . contrary to what many people believe, the already-existing law permits the government to do pretty much whatever it wants, as this case shows. The government relied on a 2008 law to make criminal instead of civil charges. A newly created IP taskforce is the one that worked with the foreign governments to seal the deal.
In the end, it was a presentation of exactly the nightmare scenario that anti-SOPA protesters said would happen if SOPA [Stop Online Piracy Act] had passed. It turns out, as the deeper realms of the state already knew, that all of this was possible with no Congressional action at all. Congress doesn’t need to do anything. We can watch the debates, go to the polls, elect people to represent us, and perform all the rest of the rituals of the civic religion but none of it matters. Power is here, active, oppressive, in charge, permanent, regardless of what you might believe. — Tucker, ibid.
The wave of the future is also here — and some influential people don’t like it:
What’s this all about? It is some powerful corporate lobbyists trying to prevent the emergence of an alternative system of art and music delivery, one powered by people rather than merely the well-connected.
The Internet’s great glory is its seemingly magical capacity for distributing information of all sorts universally unto infinity. The idea of the state’s regulations on information — instituted by legislators in the 19th century — is that this trait is deeply dangerous and must be stopped. So it is inevitable that the powers that be will try to shut it down; copyright enforcement is only the most convenient Taser of choice.
This is the battle for whether the digital age is permitted to exist in an atmosphere of free speech, free association, free enterprise, and real property rights, or whether it will be controlled by government in conjunction with aging media moguls from monopolistic corporate oligarchies. The lines are clearly drawn, and it is taking place in real time. — Tucker, idid.
And the following comes from a press release issued by The Pirate Bay, touching on the entertainment industry’s altitudinous hypocrisy in this whole affair:
Over a century ago Thomas Edison got the patent for a device which would “do for the eye what the phonograph does for the ear”. He called it the Kinetoscope. He was not only amongst the first to record video, he was also the first person to own the copyright to a motion picture.
Because of Edison’s patents for the motion pictures, it was close to financially impossible to create motion pictures in the North American east coast. The movie studios therefor relocated to California, and founded what we today call Hollywood. The reason was mostly because there was no patent.
There was also no copyright to speak of, so the studios could copy old stories and make movies out of them — like Fantasia, one of Disney’s biggest hits ever.
So, the whole basis of this industry, that today is screaming about losing control over immaterial rights, is that they circumvented immaterial rights. They copied (or put in their terminology: “stole”) other people’s creative works, without paying for it. They did it in order to make a huge profit. Today, they’re all successful and most of the studios are on the Fortune 500 list of the richest companies in the world. Congratulations — it’s all based on being able to re-use other people’s creative works. And today they hold the rights to what other people create.
If you want to get something released, you have to abide [by] their rules. The ones they created after circumventing other people’s rules.
The reason they are always complaining about “pirates” today is simple. We’ve done what they did.
We circumvented the rules they created and created our own. We crushed their monopoly by giving people something more efficient. We allow people to have direct communication between each other, circumventing the profitable middle [men, who] in some cases take over 107% of the profits (yes, you pay to work for them).
It’s all based on the fact that we’re competition. We’ve proven that their existence in their current form is no longer needed. We’re just better than they are.
And the funny part is that our rules are very similar to the founding ideas of the USA. We fight for freedom of speech. We see all people as equal. We believe that the public, not the elite, should rule the nation. We believe that laws should be created to serve the public, not the rich corporations. — The Pirate Bay press release, Daily Reckoning, January 21, 2012