Between Censorship and Intellectual Property

Friday, September 1, 2006

In a recent discussion at the CRN Blog, responding to my argument on the extensive protection of Copyright, Tom Craver suggest two possible scenarios that might occur:

- an "IP rebellion" - which might coincide with the onset of MNT if free fabbers are available. Mostly it'd happen over patents being widely disregarded and people actively opposing attempts to enforce the IP laws - but copyrights would fall at the same time.

- or we might get a "corporatocracy" - where a few big corporations own everything, nearly everyone has to be a member of one of them (or one of the stockholders) in order to survive, and everyone has to please their corporation in order to get better stuff - so people obey IP laws out of fear of losing their economic status.

My response was that, a precondition for a revolution is an economic downfall. And this, we have not witness. The second scenario is global corporatocracy. This look like a Big Brother scenario in a way. If there are some people concentrated in powerfull corporations, then -- as lord Acton said -- power tends to corrupt.

So, would it be possible that something that started as a protection towards copyright ends with censorship and authoritarian regime? Is IP Protection entangled with Censorship?

If you looked at my previous post titled "When Numbers becomes illegal", you'll see that I have explained that IP protection will always be interwined with the concept of Freedom of Expression. In that post, I argued that anti DRM measures could be against human rights, as it it prohibits and criminalizes people who puts anti DRM programs on the internet.

Here, I see a continuum. The strengthening of IPR regime would also mean a strengthening of censorship. And when you get more censor, it means you get lesser freedom.