Edison Carter wrote:
I haven't been talking about copyright law at all. Of all the things the Pirate Party covers, copyright is the least important to me.
Software and genetic patents are also a huge issue. Patents need to cover only "inventions" -- they should not cover processes, business methods, lists of instructions (to be followed by human or computer), mathematical constructs, discoveries, etc. I also believe they should not cover living organisms since it causes all sorts of messy ethical dilemmas. And patents need to be restricted to clearly innovative inventions, not obvious gradual improvements in design.
I'm completely with you on this.
Copyright law is important to me in as much as the media companies are doing their damndest to punish, well, basically the entire world with their lobbying efforts to clamp down on the Internet and on software tools (like the bit in the DMCA that makes any tools to break DRM illegal). If those companies catch up to the times and offer a competitive service (which means cheap monthly fees for unlimited DRM-free downloads, basically) or we eventually put them out of business - and either is fine with me - then I'll have no particular beef with copyright law; at that point it'll be a lame-duck law no matter what its real legal status.
Software patents are a much bigger issue. I hadn't realized that they were such a problem until recently, but man I would not want to be a developer in this environment - basically any jerk can patent some obscure, vague concept and then when you roll out your own service, you're either stuck paying royalties or getting sued. Yeah, that's really helping innovation isn't it?
The part about genetic/biological patents seriously worries me. The company that recently had a patent on two cancer genes - not the process, not the drug to affect them, the genes themselves - were told to take a hike in court, and I couldn't be happier about that. That sets a bad, bad precedent to think that you can patent a gene or any organism; it doesn't take but 10-20 years of biotech progress to see how that would lead to something out of a sci-fi nightmare in a hurry.
Then there's the DIA filter, which will have no measurable effect on the material they claim it has been put in place to filter. There are many downsides to web filtering well covered by techliberty
. There are no upsides. But the DIA filter is more than just a waste of money; it's an underhanded attempt to put filtering infrastructure in place which will eventually be used to censor a much wider range of material, without the requirement of public accountability that is imposed on the censorship of film, video and other publications. We know this will happen because it's already happened everywhere else. China, Denmark, Thailand, Australia...
This is exactly what I said in a comment on Techliberty the other day, and I'm 100% in agreement with you. Once that filter's in place and working, it's not going anywhere, and the instant it's possible to do so we're going to see all kinds of "disagreeable" sites and protocols banned. It doesn't matter what they say now; it's just a matter of time and waiting for a convenient moment.
People put entirely too much faith in government agencies over this sort of thing. Power is abuse by definition, and since they absolutely cannot justify any good that this filter will create, they don't need that power, end of story. This goes doubly so given the lack of transparency, and indeed even the outright hostility towards it, given that they wouldn't turn over documents they're required to keep to Thomas Beagle when he asked for them.
No, the filter needs to go away. It has no business in a democratic society.