Terminally Incoherent

Utterly random, incoherent and disjointed rants and ramblings...

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

What if the bad guys win?

Ever wondered how would world be like if RIAA and MPAA had their way? Tarmle has posted a scary dystopian vision of the future, in which the world is controlled by the big content providers.

Since the ISPs were made responsible for the content they deliver their filtering has become neurotic. Anti-terror, piracy, plagiarism and libel filters search every request and response for signs of illegal activity, always erring on the side of caution. Wikipedia's index has been decimated. Popular blogs like Boing Boing now have more lawyers involved than contributors (the one's that have survived that is). Even if you managed to get something illegal through the filters your operating system's regularly updated self-check mechanisms would eventually root it out, or report you to the authorities, usually both.

Next time some jackass wants to legislate the internet think about this little paragraph. The day when ISP's become responsible for the content they host, is the last day freedom of speech exists online.

And let's not forget the looming shadow of tcpa, palladium, trusted computing or whatever they want to call it this week. And the analog hole bill... And plethora of other things I don't even want to mention here.

I'm seriously thinking about showing this text to my 109 class. Someone has to tell these poor souls abut this stuff. This seems like a great way to start the discussion of DRM, copyright issues.


  • At Wed Jan 25, 06:26:00 AM, Anonymous Jonathan said…

    Actually, I feel the need to correct one minor issue. WHile I don't know about anti-terror or piracy filters, I know that hosts are not filtering for plagiarism or other copyright infringement. They don't have to.

    The DMCA grants them all immunity from copyright infringement claims so long as they meet certain criteria and work to take infringing material down when they get notice. It was a major win for both hosts and the RIAA, just not the rest of us.

    Still though, no filtering is required or going on. Otherwise, I'd probably have a lot fewer incidents of plagiarism to worry about.

  • At Wed Jan 25, 12:20:00 PM, Blogger Luke said…

    Thanks for the comment :)

    The passage I was quoting is just a work of speculative fiction. As of today, DMCA soft of protects the ISP's but who knows what kind of laws are we going to have tomorrow?

    Every day I read about some new proposed law intended to "stop the piracy" or "protect children online" or both. Better yet, they tend to sneak these things into some of those "must pass" federal spending bills. So I think it is reasonable to assume that one day ISP's and hosting providers might be expected to premptively filter and censor their content to avoid lawsuits.


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