Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Manifesto in Defense of Fundamental Rights on the Internet

This comes from Spain, a country appalled in its internet rights, and I think it has extension and value worldwide:

A group of journalists, bloggers, professionals and creators want to express their firm opposition to the inclusion in a Draft Law of some changes to Spanish laws restricting the freedoms of expression, information and access to culture on the Internet. They also declare that:

1 .- Copyright should not be placed above citizens’ fundamental rights to privacy, security, presumption of innocence, effective judicial protection and freedom of expression.

2 .- Suspension of fundamental rights is and must remain an exclusive competence of judges. This blueprint, contrary to the provisions of Article 20.5 of the Spanish Constitution, places in the hands of the executive the power to keep Spanish citizens from accessing certain websites.

3 .- The proposed laws would create legal uncertainty across Spanish IT companies, damaging one of the few areas of development and future of our economy, hindering the creation of startups, introducing barriers to competition and slowing down its international projection.

4 .- The proposed laws threaten creativity and hinder cultural development. The Internet and new technologies have democratized the creation and publication of all types of content, which no longer depends on an old small industry but on multiple and different sources.

5 .- Authors, like all workers, are entitled to live out of their creative ideas, business models and activities linked to their creations. Trying to hold an obsolete industry with legislative changes is neither fair nor realistic. If their business model was based on controlling copies of any creation and this is not possible any more on the Internet, they should look for a new business model.

6 .- We believe that cultural industries need modern, effective, credible and affordable alternatives to survive. They also need to adapt to new social practices.

7 .- The Internet should be free and not have any interference from groups that seek to perpetuate obsolete business models and stop the free flow of human knowledge.

8 .- We ask the Government to guarantee net neutrality in Spain, as it will act as a framework in which a sustainable economy may develop.

9 .- We propose a real reform of intellectual property rights in order to ensure a society of knowledge, promote the public domain and limit abuses from copyright organizations.

10 .- In a democracy, laws and their amendments should only be adopted after a timely public debate and consultation with all involved parties. Legislative changes affecting fundamental rights can only be made in a Constitutional law.

Note: This manifesto is the work of several authors, and the property of everyone. Copy it, publish it, pass it on as you will.


Will Doohan said...

Mr Frog,

Perhaps I am misunderstanding this or maybe it lost it's meaning in translation, but I disagree with certain concepts in this 'manifesto'.

Several catch phrases that I have heard before are used in a attempt to justify the taking of an author, artist or musicians Legal Right to their own work such as 'new business model', 'new social practices', and 'free flow of human knowledge'.

I don't think that artists should have to adapt to some unstated and undefined 'new business' model, which in practice would amount to them giving away their work for free and then making money thru unspecified means. I've noticed that the means is usually the undefined part, conveniently left out.

Nor do I believe that they must adapt to 'new social practices', which apparently is another euphemism for using the internet to steal their work.

While the free flow of human knowledge sounds nice, the producers of artistic and technical works SHOULD be able to copyright and patent and make money from their labors. To steal the things they have made, whether thru physical or intellectual exertion, is a form of theft.

The other phrase i object to is - "promot(ing) the public domain and limit abuses from copyright organizations."

Stealing the works of artisans and technicians for the supposed 'public good' is a socialistic/communistic model of socio-economic practice which is unethical and immoral because it is THEFT. It violates the rights of individuals and when instituted stifles progress. Why? Because inventive people are not going to want to put forth the effort to create things if it is only going to be stolen away from them and they get neither credit nor recompense for their efforts.

Older industries that are trying to prevent copyright abuse by 'pirates' who steal the works of the artists they represent are not the abusers but the ones BEING abused. Those who steal music, movies, art and technology (like the Chinese) are not fighting the good fight for the good of mankind, but are simply thieves.
Perhaps I have misunderstood the intent of this document. I don't know what laws in Spain you are referring to or what their effects would be. And taking a quick peek back i see i am mostly criticizing the last half of the document. (And doing so while channeling my inner Ayn Rand :-P )
AND, I'm writing this late at night, so my critique may only be semi-coherent. :-D {and nothing personal, my dear friend}

Well, that's all. I'm out of steam. I need to sleep and then get some more water and coal before i can begin to bloviate some more. :-D

runnerfrog said...

No euphemism for theft here; it's more about a movement to redefine the percentage, big cut, that goes in payments to corporations holding rights over engineers and artists. The goal is to make artists and technicians to get a share more fair, and also allow people to privately share their property, without having to pay each time they do; also to have an option for a direct collaboration to the artist-technicians after sharing, without this act to be intervened by a (non)distributing corporation. A special kind of tax has been thought for this, not like the last time. Copyright is a right, but it has its boundaries. But now corporations are charging us for every purchase as if they distribute every second of music worldwide, and that's laughable; they are not. If they would, I'd easily buy The Arrogants or The Mountain Goats here in Argentina, and that doesn't happens. Who am I paying 25 bucks for an online purchase of the _digital_ music of those artists?... Who am I paying another 25 if I want to share it with my dad?... Indeed the model should change.
Plus, socialistic practices are not immoral, maybe immoral practices are immoral. Also: not sharing with my dad because I can't afford buying twice to a multinational, it's ALSO immoral. "I'm sorry, dad, the other pirates are forcing me to be a turd like them, so you can't pay a tax directly to the artist for being a holder of what I bought, you just have to pay the full blown price of a distribution that doesn't exists to have something that you wouldn't have in any possible anyway except for flying out of the country to buy it, because that's the applied price of the same buy on the internet". Where's the artist on that capitalistic practice? In less than the 6-12% of the price. But!: they get nothing out of iTunes until their sells cover the costs of producers, recording and engineering, which are higher than the imagined. Nice way to buy on the internet nowadays. There's nothing for real to defend these corporations; I'm sorry.