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If copyright hasn’t already made you mad, you will be after reading this

A group of the Lonely Pirate's ideological fellow travellers created this video promoting her draft report. It makes a number of false claims, including the startling conclusion that “Your daily life is illegal”.

The laws are there to protect you and your work from exploitation that you don’t agree with, by somebody much more powerful – such as a record company or Google. But in the copyfighter's mind, this is inverted, and the purpose of the law is oppression, prohibition and exclusion.

This is a common motif in anti-copyright rhetoric. So is the use of wild exaggeration. Just as right-wing American shock jocks need to keep their audience on a knife’s edge, fingers inches away from the trigger, copyright activists need to keep their audience in state of high anxiety. The crackdown can only be days away.

Here’s an image from a cartoon illustrating Professor James Boyle’s comic book Theft. Boyle was invited to review the UK’s IP laws.

Here’s how Boing Boing heralded the legislation that became the Digital Economy Act in 2010.

And who can forget what happens when the copyfighting shock jock successfully triggers their audience? Ask the Scottish Organic Producers Alliance, which found itself besieged by angry nutters because it happened to share the same initials as SOPA.

We call it “pseudo masochism”, the need to prove that one is in a permanent state of oppression. And the only difference between this and earlier mob-incitements is that you, dear taxpayer, are funding it.

If you do feel angry and oppressed by laws protecting you, our “How To Write A FoTW” guide from 2001 contains helpful advice. Especially the bit about keeping a jar of insects by your computer. Angry and oppressed Freetards, please give it a try.


* Or thereabouts.

Julia Reda MEP

You decide.

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