Sunday, May 27, 2012

What a decent solution means

When I say that the only "decent" solution to the current copyright mess on the internet is the expansion of fair use to cover all non-commercial copying, I mean "decent" in the sense of "conforming to standards of propriety, good taste, or morality <decent behavior>", or "conforming to the recognized standard of propriety, good taste, modesty, etc., as in behavior or speech."  This is as opposed to "suitable; appropriate: She did not have a decent coat for the cold winter" .

So that's what I meant, but in fact I think the "suitable; appropriate" definition is almost as good for my purpose.  As a technician, a part of my personal philosophy on this is that these changes are necessary in order to keep the internet--the ultimate free speech tool--functioning correctly.  Censorship is a malfunction of the internet, and keeps it from working correctly.

The only decent coat for the cold winters of our future is a fully functioning internet.  The greatest communication device ever devised by man will route around damage, in some ways--note how hard it is to actually censor something from the internet.  It's one thing to take down a site, hack it's DNS name, put in firewall blocks--but everyone knows that people can still get the information that is being hidden if they really want to, because it is so easy to copy.

The thing is, it is humiliating to have to go to surreptitious lengths to get censored information.  Imagine you are a Chinese business person in a teleconference with your peers in the U.S.  One of your American friends says, "check out this link so we can talk about it", but it is blocked by the Great Firewall of China.

How would this make you feel?

We cannot be trusted with this information.

It is incredibly undignified, at best.  And certainly not decent.

Any mass censorship regime, for whatever reason, must be destroyed for the future health, happiness, and dignity of our people.  And if there were some theoretical "good reason" to do this, protecting entertainments would not be it.

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