Globalizing Permission Culture

Since last week, the leaked provisions of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement reveal that the agreement is more about creating a global Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA, USA).

Under the agreement, if moves on as leaked, Internet Service Providers, will be required “to cut off the Internet access of accused copyright infringers” or face liability themselves. In the spirit of the DMCA, the accused infringer will in no way have access to a trial or counsel through which he or she can prove innocence or fair use.

Similarly, social media sites that rely on user generated content (e.g. YouTube) will have to actively make sure that the user generated content do not “infringe” copyrights.  Putting aside the ridiculous amount of resources that would a company like YouTube would need to accomplish this deed, the active checking of user generated content will lead to “preemptive censorship” within which the service provider will both be the police and the judge and try to minimize its own risk by eliminating content that may be on that increasingly thinning fair use area.

And again, in the spirit of the DMCA, any development, sharing, publication of means through which digital rights management systems can be bypassed–even for legal purposes such as putting your device to a new use, or taking a back-up, or finding a way to skip through the copyright notice to show a short scene in a class—will be prohibited.

For details about the ACTA and taking action:

http://boingboing.net/2009/11/03/secret-copyright-tre.html

http://arst.ch/9re

http://www.eff.org/issues/acta