What with the DMCA, Sklyarov, and recently reading "The Right to Read" by RMS, a thought occured to me. There are quite a few ways to disseminate ideas and information. The corporations and therefore their lackey the government would like to see them all restricted. They shutdown Napster, pass the DMCA, make it illegal to break encryption, throw Dmitry in jail as an example, want to get rid of free libraries1 and probably would love if books only existed as rented digital copies. A few years back, the dystopia described in "The Right to Read" would seem very extreme, but now it looks quite possible. The Man would love to see the populace receiving their only information as filtered corporate propaganda.

What exists to fight this? One thing is the seamy underside of the Internet. With a little searching one can find metric buttloads of music, movies, tv, and yes, even a few books through IRC, Gnutella, Morpheus, Direct Connect, and all the other filesharing networks. One day, will we go onto IRC and join #bookzleecherz as well as #mp3z and #latest-moviez? Will we start up our favorite filesharing program and do a search for "Original US Constitution UNREVISED.txt"? At this point it seems quite possible to me.

Of course "They" will fight back.. But how successful have they been so far? They killed Napster, but that was only because Napster got so much media attention that even the suits way up in their offices heard about it, and all the servers were run by one organization. IRC is a chat network - we have a while before chat is outlawed. Direct Connect runs on dozens of independently run "hubs". Good luck even trying to take out Gnutella.

The revolution will not be televised. It will be fserved with a 1:2 ratio and leech if you upload 3 MB of an encyclopedia.
1. See this slashdot article: http://www.slashdot.org/yro/01/02/07/1145228.shtml
Request for feedback on downvotes removed by request: a god whose name I have removed says You've been around here long enough to know better than putting "downvote disclaimers" in w/us, haven't you? That sets a very bad precedent for new users, don't you think? Mind removing it? "warez..." Thanks for listening to me bitch.

It certainly seems possible. If this is to be avoided, a balance must be struck between the rights of content producers and the rights of content users (I loathe using the C word in debates of this nature), but neither side wants to give an angstrom, despite both trying to take a parsec.

There are arguments to support each side, but not enoughto push solely either agenda. Yes, content producers deserve to be compensated for their work. Yes, content users deserve to timeshift and spaceshift. No, The Man does not deserve to be compensated for sitting on his ass intimidating both content producers and users. No, not all of the 260 million CD-Rs sold in the past year are being used for audio, but, yes, some are, and some of that audio was downloaded, through both more and less authorized means.

The RIAA and MPAA are cartels, and should be dealt with as such. The only differences between them and the stereotypical drug cartel is, to our knowledge, they don't kill people, but the ability to buy anything with enough money is a very sharp double-edged sword....

I would like to think that warez (or rather OSS, as it's inherently harder to kill, and (currently, at least) perfectly legal) and filesharing will keep freedom alive under the corporatocracy that may arise, but with such things a Palladium and its ilk on the way, even that may not be possible. If you've read 1984, you know the implications of this already. Barring nuclear war or a sufficiently powerful and high EMP detonation, we may be the freeest we'll ever be.

Pick a regime:

Let the downvotes begin!

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