Protect your digital rights
Lawrence Lessig believes that we are in a war between a future of proprietary culture or a free culture. A digital world is enabling previously unparallelled ways of regulating how we use content in our every day lives. He believes that those who support a cultural commons are losing the war partially because the terms of the argument are being framed by the opposition and partially because of a lack of action.
This is a wide-ranging roll back of existing freedoms, or the prevention of freedoms that should exist in a world of digitized content. For where this could lead he references an insightful (and I hope inciteful) comment from Bill Gates about one arena of this conflict:
“If people had understood how patents would be granted when most of today’s ideas were invented and had taken out patents, the industry would be at a complete standstill today.”
And in a chilling view of where we could go Gates continues:
“The solution is patenting as much as we can. A future startup with no patents of its own will be forced to pay whatever price the giants choose to impose. That price might be high. Established companies have an interest in excluding future competitors.”
Take the 30 minutes or so and listen to the whole presentation. I hope it leave you wanting to do something, and you can quickly and easily!
In the US there is the EFF but in the UK there hasn’t been an equivalent. Danny O’Brien, who you might know from NTK, is workng on the Open Rights Group which will cover digital rights issues such as onerous data retention and restrictive copyright law. Sue Charmman has some great material on her blog about their proposal, check it out and then sign the pledge to support them.
How do you think normal UK citizens can protect their rights?