Internet Service Providers Need To Form A Retaliatory Censorship Alliance
Infrastructure – Rick Falkvinge
News just arrived that movie studios have made yet another court issue a censorship order against an ISP, despite the expected decision from the European Court of Justice that such orders violate Fundamental Rights and are illegal.
This won’t do. We can’t have this kind of censorship and suppression of free speech because a crumbling business likes it that way.
All over the world, the copyright industries are trying to cripple the net. They are trying to kill it outright; anything that doesn’t suit their distribution monopoly is branded “illegal” and fought in every court on the planet. People who distribute information, as the net was made to do, are denied fundamental rights and freedom of speech because an obsolete industry is about to die. Internet Service Providers are forced by courts to censor and filter on the dying industry’s behalf, under threat of multimillion fines.
At the same time, Internet Service Providers are scattered, divided, and easily conquered, and the copyright lobby is smart enough to attack the weaker defenseless service providers to create legal precedents. Us activists have been talking about how the ISPs need to form a legal defense fund. It has not happened; probably because it comes at a very real cost and its efficiency is doubtful. Well, this proposal has neither of those characteristics. It is free, it is efficient, and it is effective.
The copyright industry is entirely dependent on the Internet Service Providers. They are demanding the world and getting away with it, when the people whom they abuse could kill their entire business with a snap of the fingers. It is astounding that the ISP industry hasn’t done so already. The most powerful industry in the world is taking tons of abuse just lying down.
There’s an American saying: what goes around, comes around. And maybe, sometimes, it needs a little organized help in doing so.
The major ISPs need to stand up for their industry, and forge a retaliatory censorship alliance. It is perfectly doable as it means no cost to any partnering provider, only standing up for the ISP industry itself.
This Alliance should extend not just to those who actively partake in it, but to all brother and sister organizations that the ISPs consider one of their own. Anybody trying to force their will on the ISP industry, and force them to erase somebody else from the net, should themselves be erased off the net for some suitable period of time. The statement of the Alliance should be something like this:
“Any party forcing any of our kin anywhere in the world through a court of law to filter or censor any third part, or otherwise interfere with their communications, or threatening to use such force, directly or through an agent or membership alliance, and for whatever reason, shall have its identity and its business kicked off the net on all ports and all services. In transit, and at the end of the line. They shall be denied service and they shall be denied presence. For they who would deny communication to another, deserve no better for themselves.”
I believe Sony, the other MPAA/IFPI/RIAA member companies, and their traitorous likes would stop dead in their tracks if they realized that what goes around would come around. This would be the most cost-efficient way imaginable of stopping the ongoing abuse against Internet Service Providers, their entire industry, and the Internet they serve, in courts all over the world.
The ISP industry has the power to literally send these bullies back to the pen-and-paper Industrial Age. It’s time to bare some teeth.
Oh, and one more thing. I mentioned that the censorship court orders will probably be declared illegal by the European Court of Justice, as advised by the Attorney General? Self-defense censorship, initiated by the ISPs, isn’t covered by that verdict. Retaliatory censorship is absolutely legal.
Actually, this doesn’t even require an alliance. Any ISP can start doing this right now, to forge the alliance on the go. Better still, the mere announcement of the intention to set up this Retaliatory Censorship Alliance would probably stop the lawsuits within the hour.
I am surprised the copyright industry hasn’t even stopped to consider exactly who it is they are bullying.
UPDATE: As pointed out in the comments; this would not be retaliatory censorship as there is no third party doing the forcing, it would not be censorship. It would be the ISPs exercising property rights over their own equipment over what to carry and what not to carry, which is completely different from the Government forcing them to do so (and which would be censorship). Thanks to Thomas Fullerton for pointing out this very important distinction.