A Cynical Look On The Death of the Internet

This might be it, the internet may be about to end as we know it.
Things like this picture you love may all be gone...
The internet chapter of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, a secret copyright treaty whose text Obama's administration refused to disclose due to "national security" concerns, has leaked. It could destroy the fabric of the internet as we know it. In summary, it says:

* That ISPs have to proactively police copyright on user-contributed material. In other words sites like Youtube, or Blogger, or Flicker, or Facebook, or any website that material can be uploaded onto would be practically impossible to run. They would have to hire mountains of lawyers to watch and read every second and letter of all material uploaded before it could actually be posted. These sites have enough trouble as it is with profitability, and under these circumstances making a profit would be absolutely impossible. On a site like youtube, over 28,800 hours of video are uploaded every single day. They would have to hire roughly 3550 people, probably closer to 5000 if they need to report on them, in order to do nothing but watch videos 8 hours a day for seven days a week.

* That ISPs have to cut off the Internet access of accused copyright infringers or face liability. This means that your entire family could be denied to the internet -- and hence to civic participation, health information, education, communications, and their means of earning a living -- if one member is accused of copyright infringement, without access to a trial or counsel.
There is no habeas corpus here, all that has to happen is that someone ACCUSES you of copyright infringement. As others have noted, this could easily be abused into a form a censorship.

* That the whole world must adopt US-style "notice-and-takedown" rules that require ISPs to remove any material that is accused -- again, without evidence or trial -- of infringing copyright. This has proved a disaster in the US and other countries, where it provides an easy means of censoring material, just by accusing it of infringing copyright. Sites like google and yahoo could be easily locked down because someone accused them of copyright infringement, even if they had done no such thing.

* Mandatory prohibitions on breaking DRM, even if doing so for a lawful purpose (e.g., to make a work available to disabled people; for archival preservation; because you own the copyrighted work that is locked up with DRM)
That's right, you can buy something, and if the DRM doesn't work properly, you will not be allowed to fix it. Leaving you in the unfortunate position of having spent money using up file space on your hard drive.

Right now, our only hope is that all of this negative attention gets picked up by the main stream press.
Until then, I hope you don't post something that some random person on the internet wouldn't like, because you could find yourself banned from the internet for copyright infringement.

If you want to read more about it go to http://www.michaelgeist.ca/content/view/4510/125/ who writes from Canada.

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