Last week, the Internet community lost a member in the on going war against the copyright industry. While I’ve never met the deceased, or even heard of the deceased before his suicide, I’m horrified. I’m horrified that the government we are asked to put so much faith in, would give someone, not that different from myself, such a ridiculous sentence. That I could be thrown away, locked away from the things that I love for 35 years, for freeing information that should have been free, and was later made free.
That my government would strike such fear into someone’s life that they would prefer death by their own hands to punishment. Why do we put up with this?
The Internet, and the technology sector evolves so quickly. It’s amazing that the law the deceased was being prosecuted under, pertaining to computers, is from 1986. Can you even remember what computers were like in 1986? I didn’t even exist! My first family computer ran Windows 95. I can only imagine how archaic laws would be that were based on such rapidly evolving tech.
The limiting of information is problematic to me. How do the people of China, Iran, and others feel about their government? I assume they are aware that the government is limiting their body of knowledge. Even the US television news agencies can’t get the story straight. It reminds me of George Orwell’s 1984, where the language is limited to curtail expression. If the free world uses the Internet as Transactive Memory, does the oppressed world know what they’re missing? Can you know what you’re missing, before you’ve lost it?
The media and copyright lobby disgust me. I’m disgusted that my former state senator is now the Chairman and CEO of the MPAA. Remember learning in high school civics the term “Revolving Door”? Case in point.
America was constitutionalized as a republic, but through amendment has evolved into a democratic republic. The idea of a republic was important to an agrarian society, and we still feel the effects every first Tuesday in November; the least convenient day of the week. Voting for someone just to represent you was convenient when your form of long-range communication was a man on a pony. With the rise of the Internet, and representatives who work for their lobbies and not the people, why do we still elect officials? Why are we a republic? Why not just a democracy? Allow voters to authenticate and cast their vote online. Everyone. No computer or internet? I’m sure your local library offers both free for public use. “But people don’t always know what’s right.” Sure, I think some people aren’t too bright. But then I see the deadlock in congress, fiscal cliff after fiscal cliff, and I can’t help but think we could do better if we just fired all of these assholes.
Why can’t the difference in viewpoints be celebrated? A good leader recognizes both sides of the coin. I love having a diverse team of people with varying backgrounds, because they come up with solutions I never could have. And if you want to beat your enemy, you have to know your enemy. That means empathizing, understanding where they come from.
If you give orders and explain nothing, you might get obedience, but you’ll get no creativity. If you tell them your purpose, then when your original plan is shown to be faulty, they’ll find another way to achieve your goal. Explaining to your men doesn’t weaken their respect for you, it proves your respect for them.
I don’t hate anyone for what they believe, nor do I try to persuade them otherwise. I just feel like the technologically minded are under represented in Washington. I wish we had a technological party. We need a party that strives to protect the internet, the ideals behind the freedom and preservation of information, the technical investment in sovereign energy and our failing infrastructure, and internet access speeds that are unrivaled in the world, not stagnated by corporations who are relatively regional monopolies. One where social issues are open to debate, but also where protecting our greatest asset and achievement is top priority. One where the media industry is invited to the table, unlike the back door policies they would try to slip in under our noses. My dad advocated a turn the other cheek policy. That’s called acting like an adult.
My belief of good vs. evil is that there is no good or evil, but that people are inherently selfish. They do things that are perceived by others as evil. But they don’t do things because those actions are evil, they do them because they gain some form of personal utility from the action; they perceive the action as good. And it is good…to them. It’s easy to be evil. It’s the easy way out. It’s harder to think about other people. It’s tougher to do the right thing. Being good is so recognizably hard; it’s impressive.
The president of MIT, L. Rafael Reif, had this to say regarding the deceased: “It pains me to think that MIT played any role in a series of events that have ended in tragedy…” Fuck you. Maybe if MIT’s bottom line wasn’t their acceptance rate, they might be able to look out for more than just their own.
All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.
Suicide is never the answer. No matter how shitty your current situation is, no matter if things will never go back to the way they were, you will always be able to change your situation. Maybe not immediately, but that’s what goals are for. Anyone who ever committed suicide to prove a point could have done more for their cause dedicating the rest of their life to it. If you’re feeling depressed, talk to someone. It will make you feel so much better to talk to someone about what’s upsetting you. As much as people like to shit on the Catholic Church, I feel like the Catholic practice of penance (confession), provides a cathartic placebo effect. If you are depressed or hurting, and you need someone to talk to, even a complete stranger, feel free to contact me. I will always provide an ear and a shoulder.
It seems strange that my life should end in such a terrible place, but for three years I had roses and apologized to no one. I shall die here. Every inch of me shall perish. Every inch, but one. An inch. It is small and it is fragile and it is the only thing in the world worth having. We must never lose it or give it away. We must NEVER let them take it from us. I hope that whoever you are, you escape this place. I hope that the world turns, and that things get better. But what I hope most of all is that you understand what I mean when I tell you that, even though I do not know you, and even though I may never meet you, laugh with you, cry with you, or kiss you, I love you. With all my heart, I love you.
The next time the media industry tries to limit what you have access to on the Internet, make a big ruckus. Inform everyone you know about the facts. Pushing for an increase in media piracy activities is not the right answer. Instead we should push to boycott working for organizations like the RIAA and MPAA and their ilk. Think about how much better off we would be in the United States if teachers were paid like rock stars and rock stars were paid like teachers? Instead, everyone in the media industry needs a fat paycheck. Celebrity is the case in point of the blind leading the blind. Did you know that EMI owns the copyright to the footage of Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” speech? If you can find it, I bet it wont be up long. Frankly, I’m surprised EMI doesn’t also own the Declaration of Independence and Constitution, charging admission.
Revolutions are a continuation of the battle between sword and shield. Something new is created and shows potential, then doubters pop up seeking to curtail that which upsets their competitive edge. In the case of information, many make money and become powerful off limiting the access to knowledge. I think all knowledge that is beneficial to mankind should be open, and that the Internet is the ultimate utility for the sharing of our collective knowledge. Where do you draw the line, you might ask? I think the knowledge required to make atomic weapons and 3D-print receivers is decidedly unbefitting of society, for instance. And in the end, you can’t take any of the knowledge you protect with you. If everyone shared what they knew, then you’d have a more improved life, since then the right people would be in the know to advance our being. Technology would advance even faster than it does currently if we weren’t limited to tick-tock product cycles and business secrets.
So what does a rant about government, antiquated laws, corrupt representatives, celebrating diversity, hypothetical political parties, inaction, and established industries have to do with anything? They’re all anchored to a suicide. They’re all that’s been running through my mind lately. What I see in the deceased, I see in myself. Standing amongst my peers, celebrating Internet Freedom Day , listening to Peter Eckersley of the EFF talk, I realized ‘The power is yours!’. So now I add my voice to the or so 20 Internet activists that will continue to spring up as one falls.
What will you do to shape the world you live in? What are you going to do to fix it? If you don’t, I will. Because if you want something done right, you have to do it yourself.
It has to start somewhere It has to start sometime
What better place than here, what better time than now?