The world of the internet, one way or another, is going to be the backbone of our civilization for the next several decades. Currently cyberspace is a lot like the Wild West in 19th-century America: millions of people rushing into this new world of opportunity, with virtually no order, control or oversight. Most people are acting responsibly out there, but more and more people out there are exploiting the lack of oversight to do all sorts of things they couldn’t possibly get away with in the real world. A growing problem out there is harassment: cyber-stalking and cyber-terrorism.
The following piece was originally posted by Peskydang of DelphiForums here. -- GH
Right now, the RIAA and the AMPTP are engaged in enormous battles with "pirates."
The RIAA will sue a college student for a million dollars if he or she has downloaded and shared 22 songs. Not because that college student has cost them a million dollars, but because they want to terrify and intimidate other college students into not sharing files.
Does it work?
It creates resentment among the biggest target audience for the music. What it creates is not less piracy, but more.
What are pirates? The RIAA would have you believe that a pirate is a loathesome villain, the scum of the Earth, plundering the wealth of those who have fairly earned it.
But the historical view of a pirate is something else entirely. Pirates were not criminal gangs as much as they were front-line fighters in an economic war against the oppressive weight of an empire. Pirates are often economic freedom-fighters. The Somali pirates aren't pirates simply because there is an opportunity there -- they are pirates because they have no government to protect their fishing rights from foreign vessels or to keep other nations from dumping toxic waste in their waters. They are an ad hoc Somali navy, providing the only influx of capital into a starving nation available to that population. To the Somalis, the pirates are heroes.
But even if pirates were everything the RIAA and the AMPTP want you to believe they are -- villainous scum of the Earth -- the weapons that these organizations are using are the wrong weapons. They are using the weapons of law to fight a battle based on economics.