22 April 2005

Oh fiddlesticks... (BR)

And so it becomes slightly more unsafe to be a pirate on the digital seas...

Canadian ISP to Name Music Swappers

Alright, the internet very much resembles a saloon in a gold-rush-era frontier town. Pimpin', ho'in', bootleggin' and immodest language abound, yes, we know. Corporate types know it's only a matter of time before they plead their case to the right judge and eliminate 'net privacy forever. Complicit ISPs will help a lot, too. From Slashdot:

Videotron, a Canadian ISP, will not be fighting the request to turn over the names of music swappers to the Canadian Recording Industry Association (CRIA). According to a lawyer for Videotron, producing the identities of Internet users alleged of wrongdoing happens so regularly that they believe that it is justifiable to hand over the names of people who share large volumes of songs on-line.


The article goes on to say that Canadian law prohibits the release of file-swappers' identities without a court order, so this is just a voluntary move by Videotron. Why get all bent out of shape, then, when we all know that the biggest impediment to intellectual piracy in Canada is polar bears knocking down power lines?

Well, recently, the UN has been moving to draft conventions to regulate the internet. The United Nations, if you didn't know, is a global organization whose mission it is to promote peace, democracy and good feelings all over the world. Interesting measures to this end include putting Syria and China on the Security Council, naming Cuba to the Human Rights Commission. The UN was also the brainchild of Alger Hiss, a government official and Soviet double agent during World War II. But I digress. UN meddling and domestic pandering like 1998's Digital Millenium Copyright Act, which essentially puts US police powers at the direction of the entertainment industry, will spell the end of freewheeling, laissez-faire internetting, once a digital copyright case is tried before a conservative court.

Our only hope is that the naturally bureaucratic and corrupt nature of these institutions will, as it has in most other areas of law enforcement, prevent anything from seriously getting done. Perhaps all we need is a fifteen-second INTERPOL warning on our browsers, a la VHS tapes.

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