Six Strikes: Don’t Let the Content Industry Tighten Their Chokehold on the Internet

[Copyright Scofflaws Beware: ISPs to Begin Monitoring Illicit File Sharing](

This is the so-called “six strikes” rule, where you lose your internet access after being accused of infringing. It’s not a law, it’s an “initiative”. It’s “voluntary” for ISPs. The chair of the group behind the program (does anyone believe this isn’t just a front for the Big Content industry?) says the program is intended to be “educational, not punitive”. “You won’t get in trouble unless you’re downloading hundreds of songs”. So say the PR people.

Yeah, right.

Why should we believe any of those promises? We scared the crap out of them with the fact that we raised our voices and put a stop to SOPA and PIPA, so now they’re trying a more conciliatory approach. “We learned from SOPA” they said. “We’re not going to try that again” they said. And yet, here they are, under the guise of an “educational”, “voluntary” program for ISPs (read: additional legal and support and infrastructure costs to solve someone else’s problems and treat their customers like criminals, and for what benefit?). Sounds like a great plan.

Ask yourself this question. What problem does this solve for ISPs? What benefit do they get? I don’t see any. The content industry is the only one with something at stake here. They want to continue to coast along on their ancient business models, and fight like the devil against anything that would change them (too late!). And they want ISPs to do this “voluntarily”. You can bet the ISPs will pass these costs along to you, so it’ll be your dime paying for all of this.

So why would they do it? They’re being bullied.

To quote Cory Doctorow in the preface to his new (and highly relevant) novel [Pirate Cinema](, “betting against the Internet in the 21st century is felony stupidity.”

Cory has long been warning us about the dangers of “n strikes and we cut your Internet connection” laws. Pirate Cinema is a stark and 100% plausible example of what could happen if these laws are enacted.

Think about this: How much of your livelihood (and the livelihood of everyone with whom you share your Internet connection at home – family, roommates, etc.) depends on Internet access? More than you probably realize. Telecommuting, studying, and even looking for work all depend heavily on the Internet. The TV you watch, the music you listen to, the games you play, and the books you read. Good luck doing any of those things if you get rack up enough accusations (not convictions; accusations) to get your connection yanked.

I buy all of my music, movies, apps, games, and books. I want to support their creators, so I don’t download them illegally. Theoretically, I wouldn’t be affected in the least by this program. But it’s still a terrible idea, and the way things are going, how long will it be until they find a way to make me a criminal, too? What about you? If this works, all they learn is that being a bully gets good results.

I want everyone to read [Pirate Cinema]( Buy it, or [get it for free directly from Cory]( Just read it. Think hard about what will happen if we continue to let the content industry have more and more control over something so important to the livelihood and well being of so many people – the Internet. Please, download and read this book. Get your friends, parents, teachers, and everyone else to read it and think about it. Not everyone will agree, but if more of us just start thinking about the issue, we can start to have a better conversation about it. Remember what happened with SOPA/PIPA.

SOPA/PIPA showed us that we have a voice, and we can make a difference. Don’t let the content industry get a stranglehold on the greatest invention and resource of our time just so they can try to protect and drag out their ancient business model a little longer. What good reason is there, besides their desire to preserve an outdated business model, their feeling that they’re entitled to keep making money from that model forever, to give them such control? The net is ours. They want to take it. Don’t let them.


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