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‘We, The Web Kids’: Manifesto For An Anti-ACTA Generation

From the Techdirt post Josef Anvil’s Favorite Techdirt Posts Of The Week:

… So where does all of this lead? To Glyn Moody’s article about the “We, the Web Kids” manifesto, my FAVORITE post of the week and possibly my favorite post EVER on Techdirt. This one article encapsulates almost everything that is discussed in this forum. Whether the debate is about SOPA/PIPA/ACTA/TPP or TSA or RIAA/MPAA or WIPO or Google or Facebook, we have to accept the fact that we are all far more connected than ever before, some of us are even hyperconnected, and it has changed us. We no longer just accept the opinions of “authority,” we want FACTS, we want data, we want the truth (or close as possible). This article details a fundamental shift in the way people THINK, and it’s not just the “web kids.” Personally, I didn’t grow up with the web, but I’m certainly not so blind as to miss how integrated into my life it is. Before the web, I didn’t talk to people all over the world on a daily basis, now I do. How I consume media is completely different, as I get to choose what, when, how, and why. In other words, the way things are done has CHANGED because of the internet.

This manifesto is a wake up call to politicians and corporations around the world. Your citizens and consumers have changed. They are becoming or have become a part of the digital era. They Skype, Tweet, FB, and IM their ideas, opinions, and comments without giving much thought about the process. They Google everything, they shop on their phones, they record video and post it before the “real news” can, they text while in meetings, they create with Gimp and NVU, they work with OpenOffice, and they consume media thru Netflix, HULU, Spotify, Grooveshark, HuffPo, and YouTube. They want to throw away physical storage and move stuff into the “cloud,” if you let them. They don’t want to hear that consumers shouldn’t dictate the market, because they know how to write reviews and share information. They don’t want to hear about laws being bought, and are willing to speak out and challenge the “old ways.”

One last point I would like to focus on, in the manifesto, which I found particularly engaging is the awareness of CwF + RtB, albeit heavily focused on RtB. In the digital world, we realize there isn’t much of a cost for packaging or distribution and so naturally we don’t see any reason to pay for those things. “But…but…but… the content is so valuable.” NO, it’s not. Charge me $9.99 for an ebook, and see how fast I discover new authors who will charge me $.99 or $.10 for content that is just as good. For $9.99, I want more than just pages of content that I can’t resell.

Sadly, because the content industry controls the broadcast medium, the digital revolution was not televised.

Here’s an excerpt from the post itself:

‘We, The Web Kids’: Manifesto For An Anti-ACTA Generation

from the future-in-safe-hands dept

One of the striking features of the demonstrations against ACTA that took place across Europe over the last few weeks was the youth of the participants. That’s not to say that only young people are concerned about ACTA, but it’s an indication that they take its assault on the Internet very personally — unlike, perhaps, older and more dispassionate critics.

As sometimes happens, a text has been floating around that captures rather well the spirit of that generation. It was originally written in Polish, and released under a liberal cc-by license; there are now a number of translations. As its author, Piotr Czerski, wrote in an email to Techdirt, its origins were quite humble:

I was asked by the journalist from local newspaper to write a text explaining difference between “analog” and “digital” generations. I thought that I should write something more: text, which can offer some kind of self-identity for all this different people protesting against ACTA. So I used the poetics of manifesto.

The whole piece is really well-written and perceptive. Here’s the key self-definition of those “Web kids” in the English translation by Marta Szreder:

We grew up with the Internet and on the Internet. This is what makes us different; this is what makes the crucial, although surprising from your point of view, difference: we do not ‘surf’ and the internet to us is not a ‘place’ or ‘virtual space’. The Internet to us is not something external to reality but a part of it: an invisible yet constantly present layer intertwined with the physical environment. We do not use the Internet, we live on the Internet and along it. If we were to tell our bildnungsroman to you, the analog, we could say there was a natural Internet aspect to every single experience that has shaped us. We made friends and enemies online, we prepared cribs for tests online, we planned parties and studying sessions online, we fell in love and broke up online. The Web to us is not a technology which we had to learn and which we managed to get a grip of. The Web is a process, happening continuously and continuously transforming before our eyes; with us and through us. Technologies appear and then dissolve in the peripheries, websites are built, they bloom and then pass away, but the Web continues, because we are the Web; we, communicating with one another in a way that comes naturally to us, more intense and more efficient than ever before in the history of mankind.

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