With Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) talks intensifying, it’s becoming clearer and clearer why we simply can’t passively rely on unelected lobbyists and bureaucrats to negotiate a fair deal when it comes to our Internet freedom. That’s why it’s more important than ever that we seize this opportunity to propose an alternative framework for sharing and collaboration online.
After all, history has shown us that it’s much more constructive in the long run to organize for something than against it. And history has also shown us that change never usually occurs unless citizens take the initiative for themselves.
That’s exactly what we did when we set out to crowdsource our positive vision for free expression online. The response has been overwhelming with over 20,000 people from over 100 countries taking the time to provide detailed input on how we can create balanced new rules for sharing and collaboration online. While the final results of our crowdsourcing initiative aren’t ready just yet, here are three eye opening discoveries that you need to know right now.
1) People really care about free expression and copyright law. Yes, that’s true. When we asked you to rank your priorities when it comes to sharing and free expression, an astounding number said they just wanted simple and clear rules. You’re not against copyright — you just want to understand it and have your say in shaping it. Is that too much to ask? You don’t think so and neither do we. So it’s time we let the industry lobbyists and lawyers know that we aren’t criminals — we just don’t want ridiculously extreme copyright laws to undermine our right to free expression online.
2) People are actually willing to pay for online content: Digital sales are skyrocketing and believe it or not, over 90% of you said that you’d be more than happy to pay artists anywhere from 75-100% of the profits. Sadly, under our current system, artists often receive just a pittance of these revenues, with the lion’s share going to giant media conglomerates. So the belief that people would rather take something for free rather than pay is baseless — humanity’s a lot more positive that we sometimes assume. Perhaps it’s time Hollywood lobbyists to stop suing us and actually start listening to us instead.
3) People love to share — as long as everyone benefits! You know that tingly feeling you get when you fall madly in love with a song and want to share it to everyone? Sadly, lawyers for big media conglomerates don’t seem to understand – they’re pushing for ridiculous new rules that could land you in jail simply for sharing a song or video online. Well, the results of our crowdsourcing initiative prove just how out of touch these old-fashioned conglomerates are – with people overwhelmingly wanting balanced rules that allow for sharing and free expression, while also fairly compensating artists.
This goes against this myth that people literally don’t give two cents about the artists’ work — it’s simply not true and again, points to the fact that copyright laws seem to be made by and for old media conglomerates. We want to pay the artist — we just want to make sure the money goes straight into their pockets instead of getting swallowed up by the old media giants.
It’s time we created new 21st rules for sharing and collaborating in our digital era. Everyday citizens are leading the charge — and we need you to pitch in. Don’t let TPP negotiators and lobbyists warp copyright laws to their own benefit – join us in creating a positive alternative that decision-makers can’t ignore. Don’t miss your chance — take part now.
Thanh Lam is Community Engagement Assistant with OpenMedia.org