Thursday, July 14, 2005

hyperlinking illegal in AU?

ZDNet Australia says that a Judge just ruled that websites that post links to other websites that host infringing material are breaking the law.

while the mind boggles at the idea that Australian content-owners will start suing those outside Australia, it puts Australian music bloggers, music fans and suchlike in a pretty bad position. And does it mean that Sony's Australian office could sue someone who runs a website somewhere else, from Australia? The question of jurisdiction onthe internet is pretty unsettled in the US, internationally it seems even weirder.

looks unpleasant.. and also completely fucking ridiculous.

the property analogy is once again failing. If I tell you where to buy grey market goods, where a free box is, or where you can buy stolen goods, I am not breaking the law. Somehow the copyright cartel has gotten so many of those involved in the law (and those whose lives are supposedly dedicating to interpreting it) so twisted up over property rights that it's acceptable to punish people for simply pointing people towards a place where something that COULD be illegal (regardless of the silliness of the law) could be done? In defense of property, all else falls by the wayside?

maybe what Proudhon means was not "Property is theft (of the object in question from the common good)" but rather "Property is the state's theft of the rights and obligations we have in respect to each other as humans living on this earth" ?

so much of this is about communication, as much as it is about ownership. That's why the legal arguments keep reaching towards the First Amendment, in the US, because in a real way, all of this restricts our ability to speak freely. As many now remind us, speaking (in) code, may be illegal - where's my DECSS T-shirt?

But that argument, about the communication function of property, has not been so succesful in the higher courts at least. And in the public? I get the feeling that a lot of people know we are losing something as all of these judgments and laws chip away at our rights and our impulses to create, share, and take. but folks don't know how to put it into words.. This is frustrating.

Meanwhile, there's so much easy, and seemingly intuitive language to assert our most despotic "rights" over property. I was thinking about this the other day. The visceral feeling so many have about ownership, about what is rightfully theirs. And how easy it is to trade on that. But it's such a poorexplanation for why the state gets involved in regulating how people interact over objects and ideas. Or rather, people turn to the most basic and unrealistic economic or psychological assertions (usually unsupported by anything more than "human nature") to back up their "right."

It still seems like property rights get much more of a pass as an absolute moral right, one you can assume will be mostly supported by the powers that be, and by other people. While things like good taste, obscenity, blasphemy, insult, and harassment can be debated forever.

this also seems particularly American to me, the supremacy of the "THAT'S MINE" assertion.. although that's mostly just idle speculatin'

**edited to add this coincidental bit of news. On the subject of criminalizing communication in assertion of property-owners' apparently limitless right to profit.. Apparently the British Columbia Supreme Court has ruled that people who in good faith bought copies of the Harry Potter book that a bookseller sold earlier than the official release date are ENJOINED from talking about the book. Yes, they could be sued by the publishers if they talk about a book they read.

When did copyright owners (or content creators) get the right to control every single possible act relating to a work, and the also when did they get the right to make money off any conceivable aspect of using a work?

this is insanity.

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