ANNOUNCEMENT: Scheduled downtime - 'SOPA Strike'

SOPA strike

At 1pm GMT tomorrow (Jan 18) we will take libcom offline in solidarity with the "SOPA strike" and in opposition to a more restrictive internet.

This kind of protest is new, as befits new areas of contestation, which the internet had developed into. We do not know yet if such tactics can work, if it is possible for such tactics to place economic pressure on governments, or if such movements can have any class content. But at this point, we feel it is worth a try. While we clearly have differences with many of the major websites involved, we believe there to be the potential for positive communist content, and the rejection of notions capitalist property rights in the free distribution of pirated content. This remains the case whether Wikipedia or icanhazcheeseburger like it or not.

SOPA and related legislation have importance well beyond the boundaries of the US nation state. And so, opposition to it must spread beyond such boundaries too. On the internet, more than anywhere, adherence to national borders makes no sense. In this small way, we join the many thousands of others worldwide taking digital direct action against repressive internet legislation.

The downtime is scheduled to last 12 hours. If you want to save a few long articles to read, you should do so before 1pm GMT on Wednesday Jan 18.

- libcom.org group

Posted By

libcom
Jan 17 2012 22:35

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Chilli Sauce
Jan 17 2012 23:17

Good luck. I don't know how I feel about this whole thing, but I'm quite looking forward to the discussion and hearing more about what led to your decision and what comes out of the whole movement (if such a thing can be called a movement).

medwards
Jan 18 2012 01:58

Its worth noting that this legislation takes root in the US but spreads after that. While I was more of an observer in the days of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (the first in the series of odious legislations now culminating in SOPA and the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement [ACTA]), eventually it spread into Canada in a series of bills who were only defeated by the collapse of coalitions in the minority government of the time.

Meanwhile I notice the European Commission and several other European agencies working towards increasingly restrictive copyright regimes. Ultimately, its just a matter of time until the draconian state expectations are the same everywhere.

From a radical perspective I think the internet and computing has allowed a certain flourishing of non-commodity relations. I am regularly able to use open source development as a model to people in my industry as alternative narratives to social darwinism and capitalist economics. Other organizations such as Telekommunisten genuinely believe certain forms of development are possible on the internet that may bring about communism (if my reading of the manifesto is right). Libcom exists as a site that doesn't charge, unlike nearly every other paper pushed by a leftist organization. At minimum, experimentation is currently possible that gives us new material to discuss and consider in our ideas for a different society.

So, while the efficacy of this protest may be in question by some I think it would be close-minded to deny that it is in the spirit of principles we all agree on.

Finally, I'm pushing around a link on safe ways to black out that don't screw you over from a webcrawler perspective: http://www.seroundtable.com/sopa-blackout-google-seo-14592.html

snipfool
Jan 18 2012 11:18

is it a javascript blackout?

the button
Jan 18 2012 12:16

I trust that the site will be replaced by a message saying "LibCom would like to express its solidarity with the internet in the face of this attack." cool

flaneur
Jan 19 2012 02:06
Chilli Sauce
Jan 19 2012 09:53

That's fantastic flaneur.

Chilli Sauce
Jan 19 2012 10:26

So how's this all playing out in the States? Any movement or response from Congress?

Awesome Dude
Jan 19 2012 10:44

Damn 24 hours without libcom and all the bitching that comes with it. What do you expect me to do at work?...my life will fall apart.

Still be interested to find out the effect "internet strikes" have on the real economy. I imagine lots of big companies rely on open source software and free info website to assist in developing their products?

no1
Jan 19 2012 17:08
Chilli Sauce wrote:
So how's this all playing out in the States? Any movement or response from Congress?

Going by how media bosses are squealing, it seems to have been a success:

Ex-Senator Chris Dodd, MPAA's chief executive wrote:
[the blackouts are] an abuse of power
It's a dangerous and troubling development when the platforms that serve as gateways to information intentionally skew the facts to incite their users in order to further their corporate interests.
Rupert Murdoch wrote:
Seems blogsphere has succeeded in terrorising many senators and congressmen who previously committed. Politicians all the same.
Quote:
Richard Mollet, chairman of the Publishers Association, criticised the blacked-out websites for not engaging "constructively" in the piracy debate.
"They should say: 'OK, there's a problem with copyright infringement. We, as internet companies, have a role here. What can we do to fulfil that role and help rights holders reduce infringement?'"

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-16628143

Steven.
Jan 19 2012 18:40

Yeah, apparently Sens against have risen from 5 to 35, and 41 are needed to block it.

I think it's a pretty sure thing that libcom would be fucked if this law goes through… At best we'll have to change our name to 112.52.289.7 or something like that, which is a lot less catchy…

Cooked
Jan 19 2012 19:07
Ex-Senator Chris Dodd, MPAA's chief executive wrote:
It's a dangerous and troubling development when the platforms that serve as gateways to information intentionally skew the facts to incite their users in order to further their corporate interests.

I't odd though isn't it. Large corporations using essentially activist methods. Has this happened before? Could be a problematic precedence. Next we'll see corporations "striking" for anti-union legislation wink

jonthom
Jan 19 2012 19:45
Cooked wrote:
Ex-Senator Chris Dodd, MPAA's chief executive wrote:
It's a dangerous and troubling development when the platforms that serve as gateways to information intentionally skew the facts to incite their users in order to further their corporate interests.

I't odd though isn't it. Large corporations using essentially activist methods. Has this happened before? Could be a problematic precedence. Next we'll see corporations "striking" for anti-union legislation ;)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_World_Wide_Web_protest

Quote:
On February 1, 1996, U.S. Congress passed the Telecommunications Act, a telecommunications reform bill containing the Communications Decency Act. Timed to coincide with President Bill Clinton's signing of the bill on February 8, 1996, a large number of web sites had their background color turned to black for 48 hours to protest the Communications Decency Act's curtailment of free speech. The Turn the Web Black protest, also called Black Thursday, was led by the Voters Telecommunications Watch and paralleled the Blue Ribbon Online Free Speech Campaign run by the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Thousands of websites, including a number of major ones, joined in the protest. The campaign was noted by major media such as the CNN, TIME magazine and The New York Times.

The Communications Decency Act which gave rise to the protest was ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court on June 26, 1997.

(List of sites that participated; not sure how complete it is tho, reached it through a link from one of the wiki sources.)

wojtek
Jan 20 2012 14:41
Quote:
Steven wrote:
I think it's a pretty sure thing that libcom would be fucked if this law goes through… At best we'll have to change our name to 112.52.289.7 or something like that, which is a lot less catchy…

How come?

Megaupload finished: Feds shut down file-sharing giant without SOPA

Anonymous attacks WhiteHouse.gov after taking down Department of Justice and others

bastarx
Jan 19 2012 23:53
Cooked wrote:
Ex-Senator Chris Dodd, MPAA's chief executive wrote:
It's a dangerous and troubling development when the platforms that serve as gateways to information intentionally skew the facts to incite their users in order to further their corporate interests.

I't odd though isn't it. Large corporations using essentially activist methods. Has this happened before? Could be a problematic precedence. Next we'll see corporations "striking" for anti-union legislation ;)

Not new, ever heard of lockouts?

Cooked
Jan 19 2012 23:57
Peter wrote:
Not new, ever heard of lockouts?

haha, well that's a precedence I guess.

flaneur
Jan 23 2012 10:32

Filesonic has stopped staring and apparently Fileserve too. The amount of stuff that has just been lost.

lettersjournal
Jan 23 2012 16:41

I do not understand why a law being passed or not passed matters to communists.

This is a fight between different groups of capital. On the one hand, companies like Google or Facebook. On the other hand, the music and movie industry. Will the world be better if the former win? Many op-ed writers have argued against SOPA on the grounds that it would get in the way of innovating and expanding the economy. That sounds plausible. Certainly, China and other states have well organized and profitable 'pirating' industries.

radicalgraffiti
Jan 23 2012 16:57

i expect you don't see how it matters is papers/books are banned, wages are cut, workers fired, or free health care is abolished? After all it still capitalism either way right? smile

lettersjournal
Jan 24 2012 02:53

I do not think a wage cut and a law being passed are the same thing.

Juan Conatz
Jan 24 2012 03:05

So I suppose you are opposed to looting?

Croy
Jan 24 2012 13:37

Lettersjournal, how do you think a wage cut is impliment if not by law ?

lettersjournal
Jan 24 2012 18:26

Hi Juan,

I am not sure what looting has to do with the passage or non-passage of a law (ie. Facebook vs. Universal Music Group). I do not oppose or support looting. Certainly, I am opposed to anything police would do to looters, though when I lived in New Orleans briefly it was clear that the police looted more than anyone (a lot of them drove Cadillacs after the hurricanes). Why do you ask about looting?

Hi Croydonian,

In the US, wage cuts are not voted on by congress. Maybe it is different where you live. Wage cuts are carried out by management/ownership and unions. Struggles around wages are not parliamentary, while 'struggles' around the passage or non-passage of laws are, by definition, parliamentary. I thought it was a basic position of communists to not involve themselves in parliamentary debates, as the real struggle is at the point of production.

As far as I know, this SOPA thing is the first time Libcom has gotten involved in a congressional debate. Was there a discussion about this beforehand? Will Libcom be periodically shutting down to protest other laws? If the passage or non-passage of laws is important, should one encourage others to call or write senators?

lettersjournal
Jan 24 2012 18:30
flaneur wrote:
Filesonic has stopped staring and apparently Fileserve too. The amount of stuff that has just been lost.

Nothing has been lost. All the files on those websites still exist somewhere, and most of them are bad replicas of books, movies, and music that certainly still exist away from computers.

If the whole internet disappeared tomorrow, nothing would be lost. We would write each other letters again, like the great communists of the past (who, after all, were able to put together public meetings attended by hundreds, without the "aid" of the internet). Maybe we could publish newspapers that had a readership of more than 12.

flaneur
Jan 24 2012 19:03

Maybe they do, but they then require re-upping. And if not, someone has to rip it again, all of which takes time and is a pain in the arse. Though the days of bad quality rips are long gone.

Do you think it's as simple as that? That you can just roll back technology and people will go back to things like letters or radical newspapers? People abandon things like when they don't feel they're relevant or useful to their lives. You gotta bring it to them, not the other way round.

Cooked
Jan 24 2012 19:59

The libcom library being taken offline would ruin the endless hours of hard work people have put into preparing the documents for digital publication. Stronger ip laws and internet related takedown powers makes this a much more likely event.

It would be better to have alternative means of distributing the data, as I've mentioned before, but protesting against aggressive laws seems reasonable. You are also putting to much into the fact that it's a battle between corporations. In this very narrow case we share the interests of google but the law will affect people way beyond google.

Caiman del Barrio
Jan 24 2012 21:20
lettersjournal wrote:
Maybe we could publish newspapers that had a readership of more than 12.

Nahhhh, doubt you could mate, sorry.

radicalgraffiti
Jan 24 2012 21:47
lettersjournal wrote:
I do not think a wage cut and a law being passed are the same thing.

no but this law and a cut to wages would both have a negative effect on workers, and so should be opposed by communists, if you don't understand that then your an idiot.

Steven.
Jan 24 2012 21:53

This law will restrict the free flowing of information. As such it will reduce the availability of free information to proletarians, who will be more likely to have to pay for information/culture. Also it puts working class/radical websites at greater risk of takedown/lawsuits. If you don't see the problem with that then I think there is a problem with you