What is mightier?

If you have read my last few posts and listened to the videos contained in yesterday’s post it is safe to say the governments of the world have known problems with file sharing.

From Anonyops

Yesterday – in grand US government fashion – the website Megaupload was shutdown. According to the article by Matthew Barakat, “One of the world’s most popular file-sharing sites was shut down Thursday, and its founder and several company officials were accused of facilitating millions of illegal downloads of films, music and other content. A federal indictment accused Megaupload.com of costing copyright holders at least $500 million in lost revenue.”

Here is my view on copyright violation…if you’re not making money off of it – use it.

Now I do not know how Megaupload works, to be honest I didn’t even know the site existed until about 10pm last night. They may be making money off it, they may not…if someone reading this knows how they work please share :).

The internet wide protests against SOPA and PIPA on Wednesday make the shutting down of Megaupload a little funny. These bills haven’t passed yet and already the government is finding loopholes in other laws to be able to shut down websites that they determine are doing something illegal. Whether they are or aren’t I do not know….too much time to figure that one out.

I wonder who is to say that if you purchase a CD, download a song to your computer, you send that song to a friend that DIDN’T purchase the CD, that you aren’t committing a crime. Is this copyright infringement? Did you just facilitate an illegal act? If you do it repeatedly does that mean that the government has the right to come into your home and take away your computer?

I suggest that they will try. The Patriot act made it legal for them to monitor our every move online. To quote the video I watched before Christmas, “If you think you have to be a terrorist or doing anything wrong to be directly impacted by [the Patriot act] think again!”

In one of the videos I posted yesterday the speaker talked about how the entertainment industry filed lawsuits against the first makers of VCRs and MP3 players.

Do you remember recording to your VCR on tapes? Apparently it was a horrible atrocity for the entertainment industry. It meant that you were willing to watch something more than one time and you weren’t going to be compensating them for it. I remember being a kid on a little island in the mid-Atlantic with no American television shows, but my grandmother would send us tapes. Tapes with cartoons in English that we could understand. We watched those tapes until they wore out…was that illegal? Should she have gone to jail for distribution?

We praise our DVR’s but isn’t that just another method the cable/satellite providers are using to control how you view your television? If you have the “right” cell phone provider you can share the files to your phone and watch it anywhere, but if you don’t have the “right” provider than you don’t have that ability. You pay the cable company, you pay the cell phone provider, they bombard us with ads and we can’t share a video or movie?

They have fought the VCR in court, they have worked with the electronics companies to make sure the DVD’s we view and buy are not able to be copied. The VCR/DVD combo disappeared fast once they realized you could copy a DVD on to tape and share it with a friend. The internet is a place to share. It is a place that in the hands of anyone could shut the entertainment industry down.

I love my movies. If I know someone who wants a copy one that I have I SHOULD be able to give it to them. I can not tolerate the idea that I am not going to face going to jail because I didn’t pony up more money to the industry by sharing. That by sharing something I purchased and own is illegal.

Also, if my son is hilarious and sings along to a song from the radio. I share it on Facebook with my friends. I can now be charged with copyright infringement. How freaking stupid.

I don’t think these guys are hurting for cash. (Which is why they can fight us)

In response to the shutdown of Megaupload, last night a group of anonymous hackers shutdown the FBI’s website. I did not say it was “Anonymous” simply a group of individuals who realize the banality of the entertainment industries actions and their puppet agency known as the FBI. I am not saying this out of sedition or revolt, but out of a love for my civil liberties that apparently I haven’t had since 2001.

There was a speech by President Bush, in 2001, when the Patriot Act was rushed through Congress and signed into law that went something like this…

“An evil exists that threatens every man, woman, and child of this great nation. We must take steps to ensure out domestic security and protect our homeland.”

That is a great line. You believe it, right? You think woo hoo America!

As is often the case online these words have been attributed to Hitler…however in fact checking this blog for you I have learned that someone didn’t check THEIR facts before posting the video online. (so not going to hunt down that video)

As Hitler announced the Gestapo a memo was released and posted throughout Germany and the totalitarian German state was born.

Does this sound familiar?

             “The burning of the Reichstag was intended to be the signal for a bloody uprising and civil war. Large-scale pillaging in Berlin was planned for as early as four o’clock in the morning on Tuesday. It has been determined that starting today throughout Germany acts of terrorism were to begin against prominent individuals, against private property, against the lives and safety of the peaceful population, and general civil war was to be unleashed…[1]

What about their response?

Ordnung des Reichspräsidenten zum Schutz von Volk und Staat Order of the Reich President for the Protection of People and State
Auf Grund des Artikels 48 Abs. 2 der Reichsverfassung wird zur Abwehr kommunistischer staatsgefährdender Gewaltakte folgendes verordnet: On the basis of Article 48 paragraph 2 of the Constitution of the German Reich, the following is ordered in defense against Communist state-endangering acts of violence:
§ 1. Die Artikel 114, 115, 117, 118, 123, 124 und 153 der Verfassung des Deutschen Reichs werden bis auf weiteres außer Kraft gesetzt. Es sind daher Beschränkungen der persönlichen Freiheit, des Rechts der freien Meinungsäußerung, einschließlich der Pressefreiheit, des Vereins- und Versammlungsrechts, Eingriffe in das Brief-, Post-, Telegraphen- und Fernsprechgeheimnis, Anordnungen von Haussuchungen und von Beschlagnahmen sowie Beschränkungen des Eigentums auch außerhalb der sonst hierfür bestimmten gesetzlichen Grenzen zulässig. § 1. Articles 114, 115, 117, 118, 123, 124 and 153 of the Constitution of the German Reich are suspended until further notice. It is therefore permissible to restrict the rights of personal freedom [habeas corpus], freedom of opinion, including the freedom of the press, the freedom to organize and assemble, the privacy of postal, telegraphic and telephonic communications. Warrants for House searches, orders for confiscations as well as restrictions on property, are also permissible beyond the legal limits otherwise prescribed.

Now we all know the tragedy that befell us on September 11, 2001. I do not deny that tragedy, and I felt such sorrow for the condition of the world and the people who lost their lives. However…the reaction of the US government hasn’t been the best and we have all (myself included here) allowed the passage of such knee jerk bills.

In true internet user fashion I refer to Wikipedia for the information about the Patriot Act. I hope it is accurate…I know they try.

The Patriot Act is our “Order…for the Protection of the People”

“The act, a response to the terrorist attacks of September 11th, dramatically reduced restrictions on law enforcement agencies’ ability to search telephone, e-mail communications, medical, financial, and other records; eased restrictions on foreign intelligence gathering within the United States; expanded the Secretary of the Treasury’s authority to regulate financial transactions, particularly those involving foreign individuals and entities; and broadened the discretion of law enforcement and immigration authorities in detaining and deporting immigrants suspected of terrorism-related acts. The act also expanded the definition of terrorism to include domestic terrorism, thus enlarging the number of activities to which the USA PATRIOT Act’s expanded law enforcement powers can be applied.”

“The Act was passed in the House by 357 to 66 (of 435) and in the Senate by 98 to 1 and was supported by members of both the Republican and Democratic parties. Opponents of the law have criticized its authorization of indefinite detentions of immigrants; searches through which law enforcement officers search a home or business without the owner’s or the occupant’s permission or knowledge; the expanded use of National Security Letters, which allows the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to search telephone, e-mail, and financial records without a court order, and the expanded access of law enforcement agencies to business records, including library and financial records.”

As citizens we have been fighting it though.

“Since its passage, several legal challenges have been brought against the act, and Federal courts have ruled that a number of provisions are unconstitutional.”

Here is another problem I have with it…the bill implies that indefinite detention only relates to foreigners on American soil, not Americans…but it gives the provision for Domestic Terrorism.

What is domestic terrorism?

“According to a memo produced by the FBI’s Terrorist Research and Analytical Center in 1994, domestic terrorism was defined as “the unlawful use of force or violence, committed by a group(s) of two or more individuals, against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives.”[2]

Another problem I see is that some of the provisions in the Patriot Act were set to go away in 2006, and the legality of the act was set to end in 2011. But Congress quietly passed it through and our “President for Change” signed it back into law last year. Yay us. (And I realize I have shared that with you all before.)

In our ever-changing, evolving, connected world, are the actions of either the US government or the anonymous hackers appropriate? Was taking down the Megaupload website an act of retribution for the internet-wide blackouts Wednesday? Was the response from the hackers an attack in a “Cyber War”?

I stand with my comments to the Anonyops website last night. If progress is what we are hoping to accomplish with the occupy movement and the enlightenment of society than what we need is a coordinated effort that involves the education of all people. Most “normal” people will not stand with the occupiers or Anonymous because they don’t understand what is going on, they don’t see that shutting down a government website was a good thing, all they see is the attack. I still believe that occupy needs leadership (although I have been told that idea is arcaic.)

I have so much more to say with regards to the current state of the search for a Republican Presidential candidate and Ron Paul and international relations and the military, but that will have to be another time…we are nearing 2000 words here.

I  hope you all think about the world we are living. I hope you consider the fact that “things” aren’t going to get better until we are all able to work together to educate and inform and maintain progress. Stay informed.

Don’t get your news from the national media because they aren’t talking about ANY of this. I tried to find information on this last night as I flipped from CNN to HLN to MSNBC to Fox.

It’s not there. Use your tools. Use the internet. Stand together.

From Anonyops

Have a blessed weekend!

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3 thoughts on “What is mightier?

  1. That one girl says:

    tl;dr

    I’m just kidding. I read it. Now, riddle me this Miss Megan. How should those who don’t have access to the internet ‘inform themselves’ if they don’t have access to it? We take for granted the access we have to gather information from a multitude of sources. For some, their only source is the main stream media and whatever local and national newspapers and magazines they subscribe to. How do you propose those people ‘educate themselves’ when they don’t even have access to this blog?

    OH, and Megaupload is essentially ‘non profit’. There are portions of it that work like youtube where you can stream content, and they allow you to do so for free for a few hours at a time, but if you want unlimited streaming you have to pay. They are not charging for the content – they are charging for the bandwidth (because that’s expensive to host). Like it’s free to upload some things on the internet but if you want to upload it faster you have to pay — you’re paying for the bandwidth, not the content.

    • Megan D. says:

      I am not exactly sure…I know that RT is available on some cable and satellite providers, but if they continue broadcasting what’s going on they will not survive. My suggestion is that as we learn we share. We bring up the subject with random folks and keep them informed. If someone is really that disconnected from what is going on to begin with they may not care what is happening. A lot of people like to live like ostriches. What? Conflict!? Duck and cover!

      Such as my fill in sitter this week. She had no idea what was going on. She doesn’t watch the news she doesn’t care what is happening outside of her little life. But by talking to her about it she is asking questions, thinking about it. She is in her 50’s and we need the older generations to understand. I know that is a big thing for you being in the area you are in. Lotsa older folks. Talk to them. Ask them about their times in the 60’s. Ask them about what they fought for in WWII or Vietnam or China or Korea.

      Explain to them what all these protesters mean to them and they will understand.

  2. Andra Watkins says:

    I don’t have a television or watch main stream news. I get all of my information from reputable sources on the internet. It sickens me that the entertainment industry now sees how late they jumped the gun to try to wrest control away from the people. Essentially, I view the internet as my primary source of entertainment, and I see what they’re trying to do as turning it into cable television or something. Not to mention all the simple things that would be deemed illegal. I am so glad SOPA and PIPA got dropped today, though one congressman’s comparison with what happened in Egypt is a bit ridiculous.

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