Tuesday, February 28, 2006


An interesting new article has been published at openDemocracy, which explores the ongoing controversy over political and corporate attempts to crack down on internet activities, and to enforce intellectual property rights especially. This should be of particular concern at the present time, considering the recent example of "Don't be evil" Google's blatant collaboration with the Chinese government.
The movement to keep the internet free will be the defining fight in the information age, just as the environmental movement is the defining fight of the industrial age. As our physical make-up is reduced to a string of ones and zeros, and knowledge replaces property and labour as the means of production, democratic access to information becomes a basic civil right.

The copyfight has many parallels with the early environmental movement. Valid interest in access to information unhindered by intellectual property law is diverse – from librarians to scientists to developing world campaigners fighting for the right to distribute lifesaving generic antiretrovirals in Africa.

These parties are beginning to organise together, as shown by Consumers International's recent condemnation of the UN World Intellectual Property Organisation's pursuit of tighter intellectual property controls. Just as peace campaigners joined with conservationists, animal rights activists with anti-nuclear protesters, so will the people who fight on the fringes of the information war join forces.

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