Stenskott påpekade att det var bråttom. Så jag har mailat brevet till så många ledamöter jag orkade klistra in emailadresser till. Jag kommer dock att försöka skicka till ett tiotal med snigelpost utöver detta. Om någon annan vill engagera sig men inte orkar skriva ett eget meddelande får de gärna skicka det här med även sitt eget namn underskrivet.
Esteemed member of the European parliament.
I am writing to you with concerns for the free information flow. There are laws discussed that scares me, laws that could impair the strengthening of democracy that we have seen with the blooming of the Internet and threaten to, indirectly, greatly reduce the freedom of expression and thought.
In the debate concerning these issues in Sweden the most common point both sides puts forth is that the other side just doesn't understand. So I want to try and show you what we do understand. I want to try to explain to you how the information culture works, thinks and how it has deepened the democratic process on levels never before seen.
I belong to a generation that has grown up alongside the flow of information, in what must be rightly called the age of information. I have seen how the net has developed our thoughts and communication become easier by the day. I have seen how the discourse among individuals on the net have opened up and expanded their ability for constructive thought.
Open source and Creative commons
We have seen the Open source software is becoming increasingly more popular. On the Internet, it has run up a sharing culture that by its nature is not part of the traditional economic system.
Open source is a way of working together in the Online community. You release code for free under a Creative Commons licence that lets other develop and use the code however they wish. The result is free tools like Open office, the very powerfull word processor that I am using to wite this letter, free operating systems like Ubuntu, that today with the help of the solidarity and cooperation of the Open source community is as well designed and easy to use as microsoft Windows.
What if the concept of Open source would spread further, beyond software. If scientists and inventors were to release innovations, formulas, and blueprints on the web under a Creative Commons license, which gives anyone the opportunity to produce and earn money, or develop further? There is no indication that it is not about to happen, indeed there are already projects like Science Commons and the Open Access Movement that try to make this a reality. And I think you have seen this and are terrified of the economic system will become so neglected that economic growth becomes impossible.
But why does it have to be such a catastrophe. If you look at companies who has embraced the open source concept in their marketing you see thriving business. The creators of the popular computer games Unreal Tournament allways include modification tools and documentation, one of the biggest reasons for the popularity of Unreal Tournament is the richness of user created content that is available for free once you have purchased the game.
Today artists create a market for themselves by releasing a portion of their music on the net. Never has the music scene been so diverse. (And here I belive we touch the real reason for laws such as IPRED and ACTA being lobbied through, it has become too easy for small players, and even individuals, to compete with the big players.)
Innovation will not stop, the best innovators have never had economic wellfare as their spur. I think that quality and durability of products will be the key for market success in the future. That is the trend that the Open source community is in the process of resurrecting, and hopefully it will spread beyond the digital world.
My point is, the free Internet isn't a danger to the economic system, it just makes sure that that economic power can be more evenly distributed.
Consider this quote:
The [economic] crash has laid bare many unpleasant truths about the United States. One of the most alarming, says a former chief economist of the International Monetary Fund, is that the finance industry has effectively captured our government—a state of affairs that more typically describes emerging markets, and is at the center of many emerging-market crises. If the IMF’s staff could speak freely about the U.S., it would tell us what it tells all countries in this situation: recovery will fail unless we break the financial oligarchy that is blocking essential reform. And if we are to prevent a true depression, we’re running out of time.
Simon Johnson - http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200905/imf-advice
That article is well worth a read. Basing all decisions on economic growth is a system that is bound to reach critical mass. You see it in nature, and in growth disorders in humans like Marfan syndrome, bigger means bigger need for nutrient. If growth isn't contained, sooner or later there won't be enough nutrient and the whole system will collapse. With this in mind I would be willing to bet on that the obsession and carelessness with economic growth is the cause of the current financial crisis. If you disregard this theory you also have to claim that the resources of the Earth and the Human psyche (and the ability to exploit them) are endless, and that would be very naive indeed.
Internet and the media
The Internet has given rise to many tools that can develop media reporting drastically. You can put links in the text that leads to references, explanations and more in-depth information, which is exactly how a wiki is often constructed. When a newspaper put their news online, they are no longer limited in terms of amount of text. Computer memory and hard drives are already at a level that the space all the text in the Stockholm city library would take up is very negligible and the bandwidth is not far behind and is already well enough. I was long frustrated that newspaper websites doesn't adopt linking standards that can be seen in, for example, Wikipedia. (www.wikipedia.org) Most of the documents referred to in newspapers and blogs, are often available online. In Sweden for example, parliament committee reports, laws, regulations and responses from political advisory bodies can be found online. Mostly, you can easily find these yourself, but it is considered to be good netiquette to attach a link.
Even today newspapers shy away from this convenient way to build up their articles. This is, however, fully embraced by the bloggers who want to have a say in the public debate. A blog post today is not only a personal opinion, it is full of cross references, with links readily found in its context.
Blogs have an undeserved bad reputation. Sure, there are a plethora of pointless blogs out there, but the criticism I've seen directed against blogs is still, in my point of view, very strange. To say that all blogs are pointles drivel is a bit like saying that all books are pulp fiction, it is as if you would say that there are no educational literature just because tabloids exist.
Other than deepening the democratic process the Internet has become an integral part of our daily lives. The communication we use it for ranges from the trivial and personal relationships to business correspondens and speaking with our doctors and psychologists.
And with all these things in mind
With these things in mind it should be obvious that a free Internet has become a democratic right. And that the laws in motion that seek to put a sift on the free flow of information needs to be stopped. Directives for data storing, ACTA that if you are to believe the reports will make it illegal to own any devices or programs that lets you create and distribute original content yourself, IPRED and FRA in Sweden are the examples I know of.
Please consider these things, I hope you will realize that we need to put a stop to these laws that undermine the freedom that the net has given us, and undermine democracy as a whole.
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