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How citizens are taking on old media bureaucracies: Thousands speak out against Internet censorship

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It’s been less than a week since the Fair Deal Coalition launched its Internet Voice tool, and already thousands of citizens across the globe are speaking out to share their vision of what a fair digital future should look like.

This impressive response from Internet users comes as old media lobbyists and unelected bureaucrats prepare to discuss extreme new Internet censorship rules—rules that would invade your privacy, criminalize everyday Internet activity, and cost you money—at the next round of secretive Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) talks.

The contrast couldn’t be clearer between our open-door Internet Voice process that encourages everyone to participate, and their closed-door TPP meetings from which citizens are locked out entirely. As Internet Voice participant Daniel points out: “How do you plan to create rules that support the wishes of all the people using the Internet without consulting all of the people who use the Internet? Democratic process needs to be followed...”

It’s great to see thousands of active, engaged citizens taking the time to outline their vision of a digital future that works for all of us – not just for old media bureaucracies. Here’s just a flavour of what people have been saying so far:

On the importance of our free and open Internet:

  • Riese: “The Internet was created to share information, not suppress it! We deserve a #FairDeal”

  • Devyn: “Our lives are empowered by this extraordinary connection and relationship made possible through the wire and wireless. We should all protect this.”

  • Donald: “The Internet does not belong to the few and powerful, it belongs to the world that sustains it. The only reason for such an insane level of secrecy is to hide an outrageous deal that will harm the public to profit the few. Any agreement that decides the future use of the internet MUST include the public that uses it.”

  • Justin: “The internet is a information sharing network that was invented and designed with open minded and sharing ideals. These ideals should be upheld. Will be upheld. Any sort of further restriction only logically correlates to an interest from corporate entities for more capital revenue and invasion of privacy.”

On shaping copyright rules that work for all of us:

  • Monica: “As a part of the special needs community, I want to be able to continue sharing resources with others without the fear of sanctions - as a community we are often isolated and without the Internet, we would be even more so.”

  • Matthew: “As a university student, the fact that my professors are all worried about copyright law is frustrating. Their job should be to pick interesting materials that help their students to learn, not to pick from materials they have access to according to some arcane rules. We deserve a #FairDeal.”

  • Justine says: “Copyright law should benefit the creator and the consumers, not just the industry. Fair use should be a major part of copyright law allowing users to remix, create parodies and fan-generated works, critique, teach, share, etc.”

  • Haefen: “I don't want to see a world where we cling desperately onto the work we create, suing each other for the slightest infringement and cutting people off from the internet if they dare to think differently. This is how cures for terrible diseases and other great innovations are locked away from the public, where they would actually serve a purpose and do real good.”

  • Carl: “As both a consumer and content creator, I believe copyright is necessary to prevent 3rd parties from profiting off of original work. However, if someone is not profiting off of the content, they should not be affected by copyright law in any way, shape or form.”

On the extreme secrecy of the TPP talks:

  • Cy: “If you keep making decisions in secret then the corrupting principles of IP law may stop the Internet from being the most fantastic tool for human achievement ever invented. Stop trying to make these decisions in secret so these things can be discussed and fixed.”

  • Jennifer:  “I don’t want my digital future to be decided in secret. All voices should be represented. The internet should be as democratic as we claim to be as US citizens. #openTPP”

  • Colin: “Government leaders and business lobbyists cannot possibly provide a #FairDeal for the wider internet community. Only open dialogue can deliver this. As creator and consumer I would like to see fair legislation that protects all sides equally #openTPP”

  • Michael: “Lack of transparency by government and others in positions of power have led to the widespread mistrust of authority figures that currently exists. Without an open process, involving *ALL* stakeholders - including the users of services, materials and media - a further decline of confidence in sure to follow. We deserve a #FairDeal”

It’s still early days and your comments are still flooding in – but already we can see a striking contrast between the open and flexible digital future citizens want, and the locked-down digital future being cooked up behind closed doors at secretive TPP talks.

We’ll be pulling all of your input into a crowdsourced plan of our own – a plan for a fair digital future that decision-makers will find impossible to ignore.

Have you shared your vision yet? Don’t miss out on your chance to be part of something huge – have your say right now at http://openmedia.org/DigitalFuture.


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