E-mail, dated 21st January 2012, to Richard Stallman, Cory Doctorow and Lawrence Lessig.
Dearest Richard, Lawrence & Cory
Tonight I am writing you in relation to my concerns on the recent activities around SOPA & PIPA.
The U.S. senate postponed PIPA, whereas SOPA goes back to the “drawing board”. For the record: Neither the U.S. senate, nor the European Union said “No” to the Acts, but only postponed the “decision”.
Let me introduce my concern with the following topic.
Today I received an invitation by the CCC head quartier, calling for an extraordinary general meeting to discuss the expulsion of Daniel Domscheit-Berg (Daniel Domscheit-Berg aka “The Architect of Wikileaks” and founder of Openleaks). You might have heard and remember, that Daniel, after not having been correctly informed by the board, decided to quit Wikileaks and found his proper project, which he, during the development process, intended to get reviewed and signed with some sort of “official seal” by the hackers of the CCC.
It might just have been an unfortunate move, as many protagonists were surprised by the reaction of the CCC and his enthousiasm.
So today the largest, and most powerful hacker society in Europe, calls for a meeting to discuss possible changes in the regulations of the Club, to legally allow expulsions of this sort. Actually I am very happy, that the CCC, with its “very german” way to sort out such “issues”, is calling for a discussion. But, – and as you might guess from my wording, – I am indeed very much worried.
After I met Julian & Daniel in person at the 25C3 and felt much respect towards their honorable efforts, this story has since taken the worst way, such a commitment can take. – Poor Bradley Manning…
Meanwhile (today as well) the best friend of my mother is calling me to ask, if I could tell her if it’s a good idea to buy an iPad, while Apple launches its EBook service with the following restrictions.
(ii) if your Work is provided for a fee (including as part of any subscription-based product or service), you may only distribute the Work through Apple and such distribution is subject to the following limitations and conditions: (a) you will be required to enter into a separate written agreement with Apple (or an Apple affiliate or subsidiary) before any commercial distribution of your Work may take place; and (b) Apple may determine for any reason and in its sole discretion not to select your Work for distribution.
Well, yeah! – All this sort of crap is boring, I know. Information wants to be free. And the Nyan Cats, “For the LULZ” and whatever Laser Canon DDOS script by Anonymous are not bringing the matters further as well.
While most (h)activists are busy taking down websites of right wing parties or governments, they are, in the other hand, busy with some sort of “trench warfare” fighting GNU vs. BSD, CC vs. Public Domain etc. – Briefly, busy with themselves…
Last October, Richard was giving a talk at the ETHZ (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich), explicitly explaining the 4 freedoms of Free Software. While the ETHZ, as the highest ranked academic institute in Switzerland, supplies the technical grey mass of the tomorrows technology companies, I was personally shocked how it comes, that Information Technology students in 2011 are still not aware of this fundamental knowledge.
In December, Cory held an epic talk in Zurich about the politics of copyright, while his presence was abused by one of the hosts (at least this was my personal impression), a person who is on the board of the federal cultural department of Switzerland, who has never ever published anything under GFDL or CC license, to promote herself and underlining her “governmental assignment” and commitment to freedom. (There are so many others who deserve the position of representing freedom in Switzerland and host people like Cory.) While only a minority of the audience in Zurich has fundamentally understood, what Cory is talking about, he was later presenting his concept of post-copyright-war in the talk “the coming war on general computatiion” at the 28th Chaos Communication Congress (28C3), where he found himself in an audience of educated supporters only. (I well remember, when Lawrence gave his talk at the 23C3 I was sitting with my GNU costume in one of the first rows ).
Getting back to the subject, let me add that I am writing this e-mail out of a deep concern, which I personally understand as an interconnection of issues which, in the core, are interrelated.
Grown up in Kathmandu, Nepal and living in one of the wealthiest countries, scarce of natural resources but hosting the two largest banks (each of the producing 3 times the GDP) and hosting the head offices of large oil corporations and the weapon industry, I have ever since struggled finding partners to discuss concerns regarding global economy and did only find mental peace in books by Naomi Klein (The Shock Doctrine), André Gorz and Slavoj Žižek.
Even during a project for the European Commission, working as a researcher in Technology Assesment for the project ETICA (Ethical Issues of Emerging ICT Applications), I understood, that within a research project of the EU, the regulations and directives over free/open standards (ODT) are not applied in the research process.
The concept of Freedom of a Free Society seems to remain an Outopos (Utopia), in which freedom fighters are kept busy with their own concerns and discussions.
Over 6 years I have continuously tried to bring and teach the concept of Free Software to an African University, giving my partners and fellows all the necessary freedom to continue and bring the project further themselves, while Nicolas Negroponte got corrupted by M$ and the global public nurtured by the disinformative news of a 100$ laptop. – I understood that western NGO’s are driven by exploitation and self-deception, as well as the “recepients” in under-developed countries, who have been tought how to globally represent the neo-imperialist begging culture. The only way for me to continue my commitment to fight at the roots of global exploitation would be in the role of Colonel Kurtz.
Last year I tried to enlighten the hacker society at the 27C3 with the subject of artistic freedom in Classical Music, which is, as Richard beautifully explains in his statement, a very similar concern of musicians and composers, as well as software developpers and authors. – Well, it just has been percieved as “the most beautiful talk ever” (at the Chaos Communication Congress’) and is remembered as a nice music concert, while the fundamental message is being lost.
The last years I have been working with many musicians, film directors and artists who all comprehend and share such views, but when they get an offer by Deutsche Grammophon, Sony Classical Music or whatever big corp. they collapse (e.g. —————-ZENSORED———–) and, in many cases, only perform due to a regular Cocaine consumption ———ZENSORED——, as well as ——–ZENSORED——— at my presentation of “The Concert” at the 27C3).
With ———ZENSORED—–, who is a big shot in Music Management in Europe, managing ———————–ZENSORED——————— etc., I am trying to take the discussion to a level which could bring some significant paradign shift in licenseing music and the rights on music performances. – Total fail! This guy is busy gathering money to feed his family and assure that his kids rise in a decent environment.
So for whose rights are we actually fighting for, if we don’t have the artists, authors and curators on our sides, as they are being kept busy feeding the economy? Economy constantly pulls us back into the mud of self-deception.
For a person who has something to share and something to give, these are tough days…
I think we need a concept to corrupt the system with its own rules. Just like Richard when he copyrighted Freedom by introducing the GPL. A law that excludes the possibility for governments to take away out information, our know-how, our knwoledge.
What if we introduced a “meta-internet”, where everyone that accesses it needs to sign an agreement that as soon as he is entering into this area of unconditional freedom, in which his personality disolves and everyone is part of the whole, he looses the right to claim for any right.
I am tired to continuously fight for things that are so evident and fundamental. I am sad to see that politicians today are not representing respectful positions, but act in interests of corrupt corporations and lobbies.
Is it true that nowadays we need to activate a majority of the global blogosphere, while hundreds of thousands of kids outrage because they can’ t copy-paste their homework because wikipedia is blacked-out, to bring a handful of senators to just postpone a vote on an act that is totally lapse…? – WTF!
The most feasible way out I can see today is to accelerate the self-extermination of humankind, for the sake of a healthy planet.
 … as in freedom, not beer
 Greek for “no place”
— Lx // 0x18F80934 “so long and thanks for all the fish”
… this letter lacks a question. – There is none. There is reason only!