Posts Tagged ‘politics’

John Perry Barlow At The eG8

Friday, May 27th, 2011


John Perry Barlow, the author of the Declaration Of Independence Of Cyberspace, was at the recent eG8 conference where he spoke very eloquently about the bullshit efforts of governments and corporations to own and control the internet. French President Sarkozy bluntly described the internet as “a new territory waiting to be conquered”.

Yeah – you little weasel – that worked out real well for you and yours in Africa, didn’t it? Fucker.

It’s worth listening through the over-chewed garbage coming out of the mouths of the other participants as they spew nonsensical propaganda about the “creation industry” for Barlow’s response, where he cuts them off at the knees.

Listen to Barlow and learn – because the internet, the technological extension of your nervous system that connects you with other human beings around the world, is under siege by the corrupt powers who believe they are entitled to own and control you.

Have a nice day.


P.S. I found this stuff over at Roger Davies excellent blog.

P.P.S. Also scrounged from Davies’ blog is this short interview with Jeff Jarvis on his reaction to the eG8. Jarvis is always worth reading and listening to – like this excellent write up of the eG8 from his own blog.

eG8 – Jeff Jarvis – CUNY Professor in Journalism from OWNI on Vimeo.

P.P.S.S.-etc. And from Susan Crawford, via her Twitter feed, comes this excellent post by Alex Howard which pretty much sums up the whole eG8 clusterfuck.


Keynote – e-G8 from lessig on Vimeo.

Thanksgiving Prayer – William S. Burroughs

Friday, November 26th, 2010

I post this every year to mark the American Thanksgiving celebrations – it never gets tired:


P.S. Yeah – it’s a day late – I was busy. Sue me.

The Power Of The Mash-Up

Thursday, July 1st, 2010

I present this as an example of the power of the mash-up to comment, contrast, parody, satirize and otherwise take the piss out of anyone or anything which affects us all.

Removing the power of the people to speak back through culture only serves to give power to assholes like this funky jerk with a great set of pipes. Support fair copyright reform, like Net Neutrality it is a vital component of Free Speech.


P.S. In Finland Broadband Is A Legal Right – tell your phone & cable companies and their big media lobbyists to fuck off.

Canadian DMCA In 6 Weeks

Wednesday, May 5th, 2010

The Harper government is, once again, marching in lock-step with the US media lobby and will attempt to pass a copyright reform bill that echoes the worst parts of the failed US DMCA.

They held a public copyright consultation that garnered a lot of attention and a lot of input – which they have promptly ignored.

The consultations were obviously nothing more than an attempt at pacifying an obviously outraged public who howled in reaction to Harper’s blatant kowtowing to US big media lobby lies and deceit.

Combined with the ongoing ACTA negotiations this bill will put Canada on a path of locked down information and corporate controls over your free speech rights. It’s a fucking drag to have to go through all this again but I hope the anger that will erupt from this becomes an election triggering issue that finally provides the shot in those tiny Harper nads that sends him squealing from any position of public influence.

From Michael Geist’s blog:

PMO Issues The Order: Canadian DMCA Within Six Weeks

Months of public debate over the future of Canadian copyright law were quietly decided earlier this week, when sources say the Prime Minister’s Office reached a verdict over the direction of the next copyright bill. The PMO was forced to make the call after Canadian Heritage Minister James Moore and Industry Minister Tony Clement were unable to reach consensus on the broad framework of a new bill. As I reported last week, Moore has argued for a virtual repeat of Bill C-61, with strong digital locks provisions similar to those found in the U.S. Digital Millennium Copyright Act and a rejection of a flexible fair dealing approach. Consistent with earlier comments on the need for a forward-looking, flexible approach, Clement argued for changes from C-61.

With mounting pressure from the U.S. – there have repeated meetings with senior U.S. officials in recent weeks – the PMO sided squarely with Moore’s vision of a U.S.-style copyright law. The detailed provisions will be negotiated over the coming weeks by the respective departments, but they now have their marching orders of completing a bill that will satisfy the U.S. that comes complete with tough anti-circumvention rules and no flexible fair dealing provision.

The bill is not expected until June, but it will have dramatic repurcussions once introduced. First, the bill represents a stunning reversal from the government’s seeming shift away from C-61 and its commitment to a bill based on the national copyright consultation. Instead, the consultation appears to have been little more than theatre, with the PMO and Moore choosing to dismiss public opinion. Second, after adopting distinctly pro-consumer positions on other issues, Moore has abandoned that approach with support for what may become the most anti-consumer copyright bill in Canadian history. Third, the bill will immediately impact the Canadian position at the ACTA and CETA negotiations, where the bill’s provisions on anti-circumvention and ISP liability will effectively become the Canadian delegation position.

For those wondering what can be done, my only answer is to speak out now. Write a paper letter to your Member of Parliament and send copies to the Prime Minister, Moore, Clement and Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff. No stamp is required – be sure to include your home address and send it to the House of Commons, Ottawa, ON, K1A 0A6. Once that is done, join the Facebook group and the Facebook page and be sure to ask others do the same. You may spoken out before, but your voice is needed yet again.

Time to kick this arrogant dead-eyed fuck and his brown-lipstick cronies out of office.

Make a noise. Tell your friends. Shut them down.

I’d like to add the words of Cory Doctorow about this news from his BoingBoing post:

What a goddamned disaster. The Tories have shown — yet again — their utter contempt for public opinion and Canadian culture and small business when these present an inconvenience to more windfall profits for offshore entertainment giants.

Remember: thousands of us responded to the Tory inquiry on copyright law, and overwhelmingly, we said we did not want a US-style copyright disaster at home. Remember: hundreds of thousands of us wrote and called our MPs. Remember: Canadian artists’ coalitions fought against the imposition of a DMCA in Canada. Remember: America’s copyright war has been an absolute trainwreck, with tens of thousands facing lawsuits, competition and innovation eroded by DRM, free speech challenged by copyright takedowns, and no improvements for creators or creativity.

There’s only one thing stupider than being the first country to enact the DMCA, in spite of its obvious shortcomings: enacting the DMCA after the first country has spent a decade showing how rotten and backwards this approach to copyright is.

Amen to that.

Time to get loud and nasty, folks.


Canada – E.U. Trade Agreement Seeks To Fuck Canadian Democracy

Monday, January 18th, 2010

Yeah – you read that headline correctly. Cory Doctorow posted an item on BoingBoing about Michael Geist’s reaction to a leaked negotiating document for CETA, the Canada – E.U. Trade Agreement.

Similar to the still “secret” negotiations of ACTA, the E.U. is seeking to impose copyright reforms that include term extension, DMCA legislation, resale rights, and ISP liability.

Geist writes:

Having viewed the document, I can report that it goes downhill from there, promoting the key message that Canadian laws are inadequate, while liberally quoting a report from the Canadian IP Council and discredited counterfeiting data.

The document states that the trade negotiations are a “unique opportunity [for Canada] to upgrade its IPR regime despite local anti-IPR lobbying.” It includes an assessment of recent copyright reform efforts, noting that two bills have died due to “political instability.” The document adds that the copyright reform process was revived in 2009 with the national copyright consultation, but notes dismissively it may have been a “tactic to confuse.”

I am so fucking sick of this trade negotiation bullshit where corporations bypass the will of citizens, dictating social policy outside of any legislative process and shitting down our throats. It’s not just business and it’s not just Canada. This kind of crap is going on all over the place.

In Italy the Berlusconi government is proposing a mandatory license for the right to upload video to the internet. As it says in the Standard:

“The decree subjects the transmission of images on the Web to rules typical of television and requires prior ministerial authorization, with an incredible limitation on the way the Internet currently functions,” opposition Democratic Party lawmaker Paolo Gentiloni told the press conference.

Article 4 of the decree specifies that the dissemination over the Internet “of moving pictures, whether or not accompanied by sound,” requires ministerial authorization. Critics say it will therefore apply to the Web sites of newspapers, to IPTV and to mobile TV, obliging them to take on the same status as television broadcasters.

“Italy joins the club of the censors, together with China, Iran and North Korea,” said Gentiloni’s party colleague Vincenzo Vita…

“It’s the Berlusconi method: Kill your potential enemies while they are small. That’s why anyone doing Web TV — even from their attic at home — must get ministerial approval and fulfill a host of other bureaucratic obligations,” Gilioli wrote. He said the government was also keen to restrict the uncontrollable circulation of information over the Internet to preserve its monopoly over television news.

Business and government don’t like it when the citizens can speak to each other and hear other voices than those which have been approved.

Fuck them.

Internet Growth Chart

I can only hope the net is growing fast enough and becoming pervasive enough that it will be impossible to regulate like this without causing massive unrest and the public dismemberment of the greedy cretins responsible. But that doesn’t mean they won’t stop trying.

In the early days of radio the airwaves were public. Supposedly they still are but they are held in trust by governments who auction off the rights to the highest bidders. They call it spectrum management – also known as theft and control. In the very early days of radio anybody could be a broadcaster if they could get their hands on the gear. It was chaotic and anarchic and a shit load of fun. Imagine what the world would be like today if those airwaves hadn’t been hijacked by government and big business. It’s too easy to say it needed regulation or (with the benefit of hindsight) that the cultural treasures from those days (including news, music, comedies, dramas and their attendant advertising and propoganda) would have been lost. I’d like to think the airwaves would have evolved in a manner similar to the growth of the web – with innovations being introduced to help manage the chaos and new economic opportunities arising from it all. We’ll never know.

The web benefits from the rapid and ongoing acceleration of technological development. It is self-healing and does not require regulation to control it – it needs regulation to keep it free. If we’re lucky the web will grow in size and ubiquity to such a scale that it is no longer feasible – technically, culturally and politically – to wrestle it into a locked box.

Of course, stranger shit has happened in this world – if we let it happen.

No matter what kind of fancy sauce the politicians and lobbyists smear all over their pious reasons for wanting to control the net – and you – it will always smell and taste like bullshit. Trust your senses.

2010 marks the beginning of a crusade against the public use of the net. This decade will define what the net becomes – or is allowed to become. The outcome of these forces which seek to control your eyes, ears and minds will define how free you will be. This is no exaggeration.

Get angry. Get loud. Tell everybody. Be heard.

The net doesn’t just belong to you – it is you.

Defend yourself.


Mapping The Future

Tuesday, September 29th, 2009

The title of this post is deceptive because I’m in a rush to get the fuck out of here and I couldn’t think of anything else to call it.

My son is working on a project for school – he has to give a presentation on a country and his assigned country was France. First thing we do is haul out the globe and see where France is in relation to where we are on this ball in space. Start big – work inward toward the details.

Parag Khanna gave a talk at TED about maps and borders and how we should observe the past while planning for the future. He used a favourite quote of mine from Mark Twain:

History doesn’t repeat itself but it does rhyme.

Khanna shows how maps are not just a product of where politicians and armies decide to draw lines in the sand. The influences that carved the myriad of coloured patches on our globe – always shifting – can be observed and predicted.

Apropos of nothing to do with this post really, other than the title, is a book by Michael Chabon Maps & Legends. It’s about entertaining storytelling. It is fucking brilliant. Read it.

We tell stories about ourselves all the time. That’s how define who we are. Our maps upon the globe and tucked within the pages of countless dusty and outdated atlases are a vestigial layer of our story. Who we are or were. Where we are or were. How and why is also concealed within those geopolitical quilts – if we know how to look.

The stories we tell to our children and to each other are maps of our journey through life. The borders shift and change. The colours alter their hue or fade with time. Fact or fiction they are all stories, they are all maps and they all change.

The project on France is doing very nicely, thank you. By the time my son makes his presentation in class he will know as much as he can about the history of France, the culture, the language, the food, and the geography of that sectioned off surface chunk of this spinning globe in the black of our solar system. I’m already very proud of him because when we first looked at the globe he said:

The world isn’t really like this – we could draw lines anywhere we want – and you still can’t see them from space. I think we just decide to make them because we want to be different.

Smart kid.

I have no idea where my future map will take me or what the lay of the land may be – but I do know I my borders have been expanded because my story now includes my son and his view of the world.

I’m out of here.


Declaration Of Independence Of Cyberspace

Thursday, June 25th, 2009

It seems apropos of current events to re-post this remarkable piece of writing, originally composed back in 1996 by John Perry Barlow.

The Declaration Of Independence Of Cyberspace, crafted as a response to America’s Telecommunications Act of 1996, still resonates very strongly today as we see corrupt governments and grasping corporate authority from all around the world attempt to assume ownership and control of cyberspace. As various laws are passed at the behest and urging of dying media monopolies, designed to shape and constrain the flow of information throughout the internet, depriving citizens in the real world of their basic rights and freedoms, we also see an increasing outrage and awareness on the part of the citizens who inhabit both the real world and cyberspace.

If you are reading these words you are a citizen of cyberspace.

Keep reading.

Three strikes laws that would give corporations the governance under law to decide who is allowed to have access, punitive lawsuits to enforce proscribed consumer behaviour, control of information access through filters and firewalls, disabling entire systems to prevent free speech and informed discourse, unwarranted and unlimited spying on all communications – all these affronts to the democratic rule of law are happening right now and they affect you directly.

There are numerous groups and individuals working on your behalf and you should certainly support their efforts but it also helps when you yourself know what the hell is going on and why these issues are so important.

Read this declaration with a mind to our current events. Maybe even print out a copy and stick it on your wall. Slap your favourite passage on a t-shirt. Share it with friends. Help in whatever way you can to ensure the continued evolution of Cyberspace, the new home of Mind.

A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace

by John Perry Barlow

Governments of the Industrial World, you weary giants of flesh and steel, I come from Cyberspace, the new home of Mind. On behalf of the future, I ask you of the past to leave us alone. You are not welcome among us. You have no sovereignty where we gather.

We have no elected government, nor are we likely to have one, so I address you with no greater authority than that with which liberty itself always speaks. I declare the global social space we are building to be naturally independent of the tyrannies you seek to impose on us. You have no moral right to rule us nor do you possess any methods of enforcement we have true reason to fear.

Governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed. You have neither solicited nor received ours. We did not invite you. You do not know us, nor do you know our world. Cyberspace does not lie within your borders. Do not think that you can build it, as though it were a public construction project. You cannot. It is an act of nature and it grows itself through our collective actions.

You have not engaged in our great and gathering conversation, nor did you create the wealth of our marketplaces. You do not know our culture, our ethics, or the unwritten codes that already provide our society more order than could be obtained by any of your impositions.

You claim there are problems among us that you need to solve. You use this claim as an excuse to invade our precincts. Many of these problems don’t exist. Where there are real conflicts, where there are wrongs, we will identify them and address them by our means. We are forming our own Social Contract . This governance will arise according to the conditions of our world, not yours. Our world is different.

Cyberspace consists of transactions, relationships, and thought itself, arrayed like a standing wave in the web of our communications. Ours is a world that is both everywhere and nowhere, but it is not where bodies live.

We are creating a world that all may enter without privilege or prejudice accorded by race, economic power, military force, or station of birth.

We are creating a world where anyone, anywhere may express his or her beliefs, no matter how singular, without fear of being coerced into silence or conformity.

Your legal concepts of property, expression, identity, movement, and context do not apply to us. They are all based on matter, and there is no matter here.

Our identities have no bodies, so, unlike you, we cannot obtain order by physical coercion. We believe that from ethics, enlightened self-interest, and the commonweal, our governance will emerge . Our identities may be distributed across many of your jurisdictions. The only law that all our constituent cultures would generally recognize is the Golden Rule. We hope we will be able to build our particular solutions on that basis. But we cannot accept the solutions you are attempting to impose.

In the United States, you have today created a law, the Telecommunications Reform Act, which repudiates your own Constitution and insults the dreams of Jefferson, Washington, Mill, Madison, DeToqueville, and Brandeis. These dreams must now be born anew in us.

You are terrified of your own children, since they are natives in a world where you will always be immigrants. Because you fear them, you entrust your bureaucracies with the parental responsibilities you are too cowardly to confront yourselves. In our world, all the sentiments and expressions of humanity, from the debasing to the angelic, are parts of a seamless whole, the global conversation of bits. We cannot separate the air that chokes from the air upon which wings beat.

In China, Germany, France, Russia, Singapore, Italy and the United States, you are trying to ward off the virus of liberty by erecting guard posts at the frontiers of Cyberspace. These may keep out the contagion for a small time, but they will not work in a world that will soon be blanketed in bit-bearing media.

Your increasingly obsolete information industries would perpetuate themselves by proposing laws, in America and elsewhere, that claim to own speech itself throughout the world. These laws would declare ideas to be another industrial product, no more noble than pig iron. In our world, whatever the human mind may create can be reproduced and distributed infinitely at no cost. The global conveyance of thought no longer requires your factories to accomplish.

These increasingly hostile and colonial measures place us in the same position as those previous lovers of freedom and self-determination who had to reject the authorities of distant, uninformed powers. We must declare our virtual selves immune to your sovereignty, even as we continue to consent to your rule over our bodies. We will spread ourselves across the Planet so that no one can arrest our thoughts.

We will create a civilization of the Mind in Cyberspace. May it be more humane and fair than the world your governments have made before.

Davos, Switzerland

February 8, 1996

It’s a beautifully written document, isn’t it?