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Masnick on the Horrible PROTECT IP Act: The Coming IPolice State

From the heroic Mike Masnick at TechDirt:

Talking About Why The PROTECT IP Act Is Bad News…

from the talking-heads dept

Yesterday, I went on The Alyona Show on RTTV (which I’ve appeared on a few times in the past) to discuss some of the problems in the PROTECT IP Act. Not much new if you’ve been following the debate, but glad to see that some TV programs are concerned about this:

For more on COICA/PROTECT IP and related legislation, see my posts Son of COICA: New Copyright Bill Introduced; Patent Reform is Here! O Joy!; Pirate-slaying censorship bill, COICA, gets unanimous support; The Mountain of IP Legislation, and Masnick’s posts The Senators Who Say Merely Linking To Certain Sites Should Be A Felony and Senators Want To Put People In Jail For Embedding YouTube Videos. As the latter notes, under provisions of the proposed PROTECT IP Act,

If you embed a YouTube video that turns out to be infringing, and more than 10 people view it because of your link… you could be facing five years in jail. This is, of course, ridiculous, and suggests (yet again) politicians who are regulating a technology they simply do not understand. Should it really be a criminal act to embed a YouTube video, even if you don’t know it was infringing…? This could create a massive chilling effect to the very useful service YouTube provides in letting people embed videos.

Of course, the state wants to impose a chilling effect on the use of the technology like cameras, encryption, YouTube, that threatens its control by helping citizens communicate and expose the state’s crimes. I believe in days past, say, before the Internet, IP was bad but it was not even in the top 20 or 30 of harmful state policies. But nowadays I believe it is in the top six most evil and harmful state laws, institutions, and policies:

  • the fed/central banking/fiat money
  • war
  • income tax
  • government schools
  • drug war
  • IP

IP is extremely insidious because, unlike the drug war, tax, or war, it is held out as a type of property right. Thus, in its name, the state can spy, fine, and jail, or even enlist private citizens to enforce these laws on their own behalf, as mini-state agents. Truly, we are becoming an IPolice State.

Update/Related post: Where does IP Rank Among the Worst State Laws?

{ 9 comments… add one }
  • Tony June 2, 2011, 12:20 pm

    I completely agree with your ranking. I think IP didn’t get really scary until the Uruguay Round of the GATT. I mean it was bad before that, of course, but it hadn’t really moved into the “tool of imperialism” category yet.

    I don’t know if I’d downgrade the drug war just yet. Things are looking up for sure, but I think it might still outrank IP. But I’m not sure how you’re ranking these, so…

    • Stephan Kinsella June 2, 2011, 5:02 pm

      I was listing the top 6 not ranking, though the top 2 or 3 seem worse and the top 4 seem to be a main cause of the rest.

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