Online Anti-Piracy Laws

Before any issue concerning internet piracy can be addressed it must be understood and stressed that the internet isn't an isolated asset belonging to any one country, but is an international conglomerate forming an universal frontier. Any law limiting the free-use of the internet through website or web-link blocking software is tantamount to international censorship, affecting not just the rights and liberties of the censored country, but those too of uncensored countries. Passing laws that promote censorship on the internet without the consensus of the international community is equal to declaring war on universal freedom and the natural right of liberty. It is highly prudent therefore to form an internet committee comprised of appointed or elected representatives for each and every internet-connected country to regulate the legal aspects of the internet.

Furthermore, in order to protect the liberty and rights of the internet-user, and to curtail any possibility of future generations using ambiguous wording in laws to limit their freedom to the point of totalitarianism in the pursuit of security, it is necessary to pass an universal bill of rights for the internet-user. It is further necessary for such a bill of rights to be unanimously passed by an international committee comprised of representatives of each internet-connected country, with the understanding that the passage of such a bill of rights is necessary to protect future generations from censorship, especially censorship, as a retaliation against terrorism or dissent, that comes into being without proper debate or weighing of the pros and cons.

The following is a list of rights that are most important to the protection of liberty online:

1) The Freedom of Speech and Communications for each and every Internet-User insofar as it doesn't constitute abuse of a defenseless party, including cyber-bullying, or violate child-protection laws meant to protect minors from physical danger or mental distress. Websites promoting adult oriented material that utilize the presently most adequate methods of preventing underage users from viewing the site's content cannot be censored or shutdown in the event that a few persistent minors are able to access the site through roundabout methods. It is the responsibility of the actual adults around the minors to supervise the minors, and to inform the adult-oriented site of each occurrence of access by a minor so the site can take measures against future breaches. However in the event of cyber-bullying, especially one that results in suicide or suicide attempts or the retaliation of the bullied through in-school violence (i.e. shootings), the websites through which the bullying took place are responsible for failing to adequately protect the defenseless minor, as too are the actual adults around the minor.

2) The Freedom of Commerce for each and every Internet-User; including the right to purchase works or products from around the globe insofar as the purchased items don't violate child-protection laws in place in the consumer's country, with a stress on those laws that protect actual children from physical (including sexual) or mental violence or distress; further exceptions for free-trade through the internet are purchases that violate anti-slavery laws, especially laws protecting against sexual slavery. Material of all sort that is copyrighted and whose release isn't sanctioned by the copyright holder or original creator is also an exception for the freedom of commerce - unless the work is not licensed for release in the consumer's country and is purchased from a website hosted by a country in which the work is licensed for release.

3) The Freedom of Distribution of all works that don't violate child-protection laws, or copyright law: with the exceptions of distribution of copyrighted works to protest censorship, the non-monetary distribution of works unlicensed and hence unavailable in the consumer's country, especially if there is no planned licensing or release for the work in the consumer's country, and the free-distribution of copyrighted works in which the original creators grant permission for the noncommercial release.

- It is the Original Creator(s)'s Right to Oppose or Promote Free-distribution of his/her work online, regardless if a business or company owns a license for release in its country of origin, except where the original creator(s) knowingly and with full understanding sign a contract take prohibits or limits such promotion. In the event that a work has more than one original creator, the right for free promotion isn't democratic - if even one original creator protests it's free-distribution, there can be no free-distribution for the work entire. However, if each creator took part in only one aspect of the creation (i.e. lyrics, music, etc.) then each creator has the right to freely distribute the part of the work that he/she solely created, regardless of the other creator's protests.

- Businesses or Companies that own distribution rights or licenses for a copyrighted work have the right to protest against the sale or distribution of the copyrighted work on any website, and right to block or take down the infringing webpage, but only insofar as it doesn't constitute blocking the site entire or violate the original creator's right of free distribution. If the blocking of the site entire is sought, the copyright or license holders must seek prosecution in the court of law before such action is allowed.

4) The Freedom of the Internet-User from Government Espionage, except when it is necessary to prevent national security endangerment during wartime, or to prevent international war, or to protect civilians from real terrorist threats. However, the government has the responsibility to not actively promote the use of the fear created by terrorists threats to coerce the passage of laws limiting the liberty of its country's citizens. The use of the fear inspired by 'terrorism' to coerce the passage of laws limiting freedoms that would not otherwise be passed constitutes a possible terrorism in and of itself.

5) The Freedom to Promote Non-Violent Dissent in any country, and upon necessity to protect natural liberty, the promotion of all dissent in pro-censorship or totalitarian countries. Dissidents who belong to or reside in countries that prosecute dissent, especially if they promote violent dissent, accept all and any consequences arising from their promotion.

6) The Freedom of the Internet-User to boycott and peacefully promote others to boycott any and all websites, for both political and non-political reasons, regardless of the website's country of origin. However the Internet-User cannot force or coerce another Internet-User to boycott any website or the internet entire. It is also the consumer's right to boycott and non-coercively promote the boycott of any holder of a copyright or license for the distribution of a product, insofar as the boycott refrains from promoting the utilization of pirated forms of the boycotted work.

7) The Right of Owners of Copyright Worldwide to prosecute those who pirate works online and those who knowingly utilize pirated works that have been licensed for release in the country where the pirated work ends up, and to require all sites that host pirated works to place a banner on the pirated work's page that informs consumers of the pirated status of the work, along with information on all legal penalties the consumer faces upon utilizing the pirated work. This Right exists only for pirated works that negatively affect monetary sales of a licensed work, and whose pirated forms are not used to combat censorship or pirated works whose piracy-status is not condoned by the original creators.

Beyond the protection of the rights of the individuals presently alive for the use of the internet, it is necessary to pass an international bill of rights for internet users that doesn't hold ambiguous language that can pave the way for possible pro-censorship, anti-liberty laws passed by and for future generations; as it is not our own generation that will pay for such ambiguity in law - it is future generations. All that is needed for Democracy to become Totalitarianism is for the latter to one day have the popular vote, and if the Ideal of Security continues to permeate humanity's psyche far more than the Ideal of Liberty, then it becomes more likely that, in the pursuit of the security ideal, Democracy in the States will one day vote out the right to liberty guaranteed by the constitution and replace it with the right to security. Even in the midst of an impending economic depression, we must choose - is securing the economy of more value than protecting liberty? Economies can be rebuilt, so too can countries, but the ideal of liberty passed onto us by our forefathers cannot as easily be regained once cast aside by the security ideal. Once lost, not even war nor the overthrow of government regimes can reestablish the ideal and love for liberty and democracy that our forefathers held as precious; though, as illustrated by history, only war or violent overthrows of government can topple totalitarianism once firmly established.

If our generation passes any law whose ambiguous wording is one day used by future generations to usher out democracy and usher in totalitarian censorship, then it will be our generation that will be responsible for the death of our constitution, and we will have no right to protest such blame. And in future history books it will be written that the ideals of our country's forefathers' were trampled because in the face of terror and economic insecurity we allowed liberty's enemies to triumph, and that we held out willingly the noose of democracy's demise for our future generations to use.

A/N: As the original author of the above, I grant permission to any and all who wish to post part or all of the above work on other websites, provided they direct a link back toward this original posting.