Over at BoingBoing, we read about the leaked version of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, a copyright treaty (so much for the Obama Administration’s commitment to transparency. Maybe it’s something in the White House water?). Two items caught my eye:
•That ISPs have to cut off the Internet access of accused copyright infringers or face liability. This means that your entire family could be denied to the internet — and hence to civic participation, health information, education, communications, and their means of earning a living — if one member is accused of copyright infringement, without access to a trial or counsel.
•That the whole world must adopt US-style “notice-and-takedown” rules that require ISPs to remove any material that is accused — again, without evidence or trial — of infringing copyright. This has proved a disaster in the US and other countries, where it provides an easy means of censoring material, just by accusing it of infringing copyright.
This shows a complete lack of understanding of the internetz.
What this will do is not preserve news organizations’ profits. What it will do is make people ignore their material. Why would I discuss an AP story if I’m worried about getting accused of copyright violation (and having my entire family blocked from the internet)?
That strategy might work back in the days of xeroxing. Publishers always used to get upset when professors would include xeroxed book chapters and articles in a course packet (and given that the copying stores make money from this, there is an argument against this). But either people will just summarize news stories and blog that, or, if news agencies are too strict, ignore what they’re reporting and discuss something else. Meanwhile, news organizations won’t get the links.
Stupid. And not hopey or changey.