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Ryan Smith

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*Leave Our Net Alone*"

The internet’s not broken.

So then why are there so many attempts to regulate it? Under the guises of piracy, privacy, pornography, predators, indecency, and security, not to mention censorship, tyranny, and civilization, governments from the U.S. to France to Germany to China to Iran to Canada — as well as the European Union and the United Nations — are trying to exert control over the internet.

Why? Is it not working? Is it presenting some new danger to society? Is it fundamentally operating any differently today than it was five or ten years ago? No, no, and no.

So why are governments so eager to claim authority over it? Why would legacy corporations, industries, and institutions egg them on? Because the net is working better than ever. Because they finally recognize how powerful it is and how disruptive it is to their power.

And that is precisely why we must fight against their attempts to regulate it, to change it, to throttle it, to oversee it, to insert controls into it, to grant them sovereignty over it. We also must resist the temptation to compromise, to accept the lesser of evils. Last week, Federal Communications Commissioner Robert McDowell warned of the danger of the U.N. asserting governance over the net, but then he turned around and argued that “merely saying ‘no’ to any changes to the current structure of Internet governance is likely to be a losing proposition.”

Why? I repeat: It’s not broken. This is why I urged French President Nicolas Sarkozy to take a Hippocratic oath for the net. This is why I have come to side with Sen. Al Franken on at least this: Net neutrality is not regulation; it is protecting the net from companies trying to change it. This is why the Reddit community is writing the Free Internet Act.

This is why I argued in Public Parts that we must have a discussion of the principles of an open society and the tools of publicness that enable it. This is why I wrote Public Parts. And that is why I’m posting the last chapter of the book, which argues that governments and companies are not protectors of the net and that we must be.

It’s not broken. Don’t fix it. Leave our net alone.


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Last chapter of Public Parts here:

* Sung to the tune of: Pink Floyd - Another Brick In The Wall (HQ)

We don’t need no regulation.
We dont need no thought control
No dark sarcasm in the network
Government: Leave our net alone
Hey! Government! Leave our net alone!
All in all it’s just another brick in the wall.
All in all you’re just another brick in the wall.

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SOPA may be dead, but it's only a matter of time before the entertainment industry tries to impose similar legislation on us again. Before that happens, we need to spread the truth about piracy and "intellectual property" to as many people as will listen. The entertainment industry's reasons for proposing increased enforcement of copyright infringement is based on lies. Piracy is not the great evil they make it out to be. The concept of "intellectual property" and increasing prohibitions on the sharing of information are what we really need to fear, as they stifle creativity and restrict freedom of speech and expression. There are better ways to ensure content creators and distributors are compensated for their work than copyright, and if new laws need to be made, let's focus on that instead. And let's not ever again be fooled by the entertainment industry's lies.

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Plz help stop SOPA
Strike Against Sopa!
Strike Against Sopa!

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