UPenn's Free online books catalog has been providing thousands of classic books for free to the public for years now. They could potentially be shut down or forced to go through a major monitoring process to ensure that many the sites that host their books don’t violate the draconian copyright protection laws that make books online much more expensive and drive the cost of education through the roof. This could happen and more if SOPA and PIPA are passed. Many of you may have heard that Wikipedia is blacking out today they provide a temporary link to a Wikipedia: SOPA and PIPA - Learn more page which explains more details.
(First posted on Open Salon January 18, 2012)
The ruling class has been steadily increasing the protection they provide to the “owners” of “intellectual property” which includes an enormous amount of educational material that the public should have access to in order to get an adequate education and regular updates that they need to participate in democracy.
I'll keep this brief since I have gone into greater details in several past blogs on this subject about why the current draconian copyright laws are already way to extreme and how this threatens democracy and education for the poor and middle classes for the benefit of the publishing companies and copyright attorneys. A method should be found to pay the authors and researchers that contribute to the productive content but not the bureaucrats and copyright attorneys, except perhaps for minimal administrating costs that shouldn’t run into hundreds of dollars per hour. The most informative past blogs on this subject have been Copyright violators are thought criminals which rights about how they’re used to suppress education; and Copyright Bureaucracy which explains how there is an enormous bureaucracy that is controlling the system and their protecting themselves more than they protect authors.
I also posted a previous warning about similar plans which may have evolved into these potential laws when I received notice last year that they were considering something like this in Obama is Suppressing Education, Protecting Corporate Secrecy; Obama has indicated that he wouldn’t pass legislation if it interferes with free speech but that statement was only made recently after the uproar began. It reminds me of his “comfortable shoes promise.
Other blogs on the topic include Verdict in downloading song robbing poor to pay rich and Lawrence Lessig encouraging an Educational. Commons Lawrence Lessig has written an enormous amount on the subject including at least four books on the subject which are available at his Blog which is hibernating but the books are still there.
Perhaps you can ask your local books store to oppose these laws and tell them that you might rely more on the books at UPenn online library if it passes assuming they still operate and we can still get educational material at an affordable price.
Update: SOPA and PIPA 1/30/2012
SOPA and PIPA have been put on the back burner for now but only because there was a massive protest and the congress realized that there could be some backlash if the acted against such overwhelming opposition. They have made it clear that they would still like to provide some kind of legislation along the same lines instead of repealing the current laws which are already to extreme and were passed when the public wasn’t paying attention.
This overwhelmingly indicates that, contrary to their past claims, they’re overwhelming supporters of dramatically increased government regulation, at least when it protests the business interests that donate to their campaigns. Some of the strongest support of this legislation comes from the strongest support of many of the deregulations activities that have been going on in the past; these activities have mostly targeted the regulations that protect consumers, workers, the environment, and other interests except for business interests. When it comes to any regulations that protect democracy or the general public they’re much less concerned about keeping them but when it comes to regulation that enables the corporations that donate to their campaigns they support it overwhelmingly when they can get away with it. They’re also trying to increase regulation that protects secrecy of both the government and corporations at the expense of the public. This secrecy is routinely used to hide corruption which routinely comes out after it escalates to extremes so bad that they can’t hide it anymore. The laws about Proprietary information and classified information are clearly designed to avoid accountability for both businesses and governments as I explained in Proprietary information is, by definition, a conspiracy and Espionage isn't intelligent blogs. This secrecy is also a result of regulation which isn’t being targeted by the political establishment.
They’re clearly waiting for the public to become complacent so they can pass a watered down version of it and gradually build up to the same laws if they can get away with it. This assumption has been supported by a large pattern of behavior. The public needs to stay alert and continue to pay attention to what the political establishment is doing and we need to rely increasingly on non traditional sources for news; since the Mass Media has clearly been corrupted by the corporations which finance them with advertising dollars. The government has also allowed reregulation that enabled the Mass Media to consolidate into a small number of hands that have any say in what is presented to the public; and it is the non traditional media outlets that alerted the public to this enormous attempt to increase the power of corporations even more.
Clearly we need more direct public participation in the process that includes Election Reform that is controlled by the public and perhaps more extensive use of Ballot Questions. these would be big steps in the right direction but the public would continue to participate in the system once these are done. However if these important steps are taken then it will be much easier for the public to have a say in how the government is run and access the information they need to make important decisions.
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