Free speech
Free speech

Australian Government Response to Freedom of Information Request on Copyright Meeting.

There are moves afoot to fight for free speech in Australia:

Keith Windschuttle: So we come well within Finkelstein’s scope. If his oppressive scheme is ever implemented, we would feel compelled to defend the long tradition of press freedom by engaging in civil disobedience. While ever I am editor, Quadrant would not recognise the News Media Council’s authority, we would not observe its restrictions, and we would not obey its instructions, whatever the price. We hope other publishers will take a similar stand.

It’s great to stand on principle, but will he also defend press freedom from legislative assault at the bequest establishment media vested interests:

Australia’s government won’t disclose its secret copyright meetings because knowing what went on isn’t in the public interest: The government also claims that it can’t release a list of attendees because it doesn’t have such a list — that is, the government doesn’t know who was invited to its secret, eyes-only copyright meeting.

The changes to copyright attack the same fundamental freedom. But in Australia they are at an earlier stage in their assault. It is also subtler, with the nature of the evil impositions somewhat camouflaged under legitimate business interests. Even normally sound groups such as the IPA have been seduced by the rhetoric around copyright protection.

While the IPA is to be applauded for its moves to defend free speech, it needs to recognize that government acting on behalf of vested corporate interests is no less of a threat than when it is acting on behalf of vested ideological ones. Vested interests will always use the rhetoric they believe most likely to be effective. They also tend not to give up after a defeat:

MPAA boss: we’re cooking up a new SOPA behind the scenes: Former Senator Chris Dodd, head of the MPAA, has hinted to the Hollywood Reporter that he’s already greasing the wheels for a new version of SOPA, though he’s shy about revealing details because of the public outcry that might ensue. Dodd is the guy who went on the record to tell Obama that he would instruct his members to stop donating to the Democratic party because Obama didn’t usher in the laws they wanted.

and

Understanding TPP, ACTA’s nastier, more secret little brother: A new report by Carrie Ellen Sager of infojustice.org that compares the provisions in ACTA, the secretly negotiated copyright treaty currently up for adoption in Europe, the USA and other countries; and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a more extreme, more secretive version of ACTA being negotiated by various Pacific Rim countries.

 On “Technological Protection Measures” TPP has two nasty turns of the infringement screw:

 TPP goes beyond ACTA by applying provisions on technological protection where circumvention is carried out unknowingly or without reasonable grounds to know.

 and

 TPP goes beyond ACTA by explicitly limiting the possible limitations and exclusions to the TPM circumvention rules, while ACTA gives a country free reign to create exceptions and limitations it finds reasonable.

 The second of those is particularly troublesome, since it reduces the scope for signatories to introduce more balanced copyright laws even if they wanted to.

 

Perhaps Andrew Bolt will weigh in? He is not legally restricted from doing so.  Sadly I expected human cognitive failings will come into play. We all have our blind spots. Traditional defenders of free markets sometimes miss the fact that corporations are incentivized to get laws changed to maximize their profits, not our welfare or freedom – be it of speech or anythings else.

Introducing an Australia carbon dioxide tax or emissions trading scheme will enrich many, but it will impoverish more. Legislative imposts are imposts, even if they benefit some people and corporations. Bastiat’s broken windows parable made that clear enough. Let’s not allow our liberty to be crushed. Resist restrictions on our ability to espouse our views. It is fundamental to Western civilization. Without it we will slip back into despotism and a new economic dark age. One technology will make hard to escape from.

The price of liberty is eternal vigilance. Don’t let the state deny you the ability to even know what is going on, let alone voice your objection. Let’s delay the return of terror and slaughter.

The Gods Of The Copybook Headings

AS I PASS through my incarnations in every age and race,
I make my proper prostrations to the Gods of the Market Place.
Peering through reverent fingers I watch them flourish and fall,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings, I notice, outlast them all.

We were living in trees when they met us. They showed us each in turn
That Water would certainly wet us, as Fire would certainly burn:
But we found them lacking in Uplift, Vision and Breadth of Mind,
So we left them to teach the Gorillas while we followed the March of Mankind.

We moved as the Spirit listed. They never altered their pace,
Being neither cloud nor wind-borne like the Gods of the Market Place,
But they always caught up with our progress, and presently word would come
That a tribe had been wiped off its icefield, or the lights had gone out in Rome.

With the Hopes that our World is built on they were utterly out of touch,
They denied that the Moon was Stilton; they denied she was even Dutch;
They denied that Wishes were Horses; they denied that a Pig had Wings;
So we worshipped the Gods of the Market Who promised these beautiful things.

When the Cambrian measures were forming, They promised perpetual peace.
They swore, if we gave them our weapons, that the wars of the tribes would cease.
But when we disarmed They sold us and delivered us bound to our foe,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: “Stick to the Devil you know.”

On the first Feminian Sandstones we were promised the Fuller Life
(Which started by loving our neighbour and ended by loving his wife)
Till our women had no more children and the men lost reason and faith,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: “The Wages of Sin is Death.”

In the Carboniferous Epoch we were promised abundance for all,
By robbing selected Peter to pay for collective Paul;
But, though we had plenty of money, there was nothing our money could buy,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: “If you don’t work you die.”

Then the Gods of the Market tumbled, and their smooth-tongued wizards withdrew
And the hearts of the meanest were humbled and began to believe it was true
That All is not Gold that Glitters, and Two and Two make Four
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings limped up to explain it once more.

As it will be in the future, it was at the birth of Man
There are only four things certain since Social Progress began.
That the Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mire,
And the burnt Fool’s bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire;

And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins
When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins,
As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will burn,
The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return!