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Jan 20

Megaupload Down

Megaupload has been taken down and its founder arrested on charges of piracy. You can read the indictment here.

Just so we’re clear, Blackwater, a mercenary group that has committed war crimes is a private contractor. Megaupload, a website that allows people to store information online and others to download it, are criminals. Blackwater, though funded by tax dollars and friendly with politicians, is a civilian group and an important part of a war effort. Megaupload, on the other hand is a “MEGA CONSPIRACY.” Blackwater,  staffed with war criminals from around the world, are the good guys. Megaupload are pirates.

Reminds me of the fourth century BC, when a pirate was brought before Alexander the Great, who demanded to know “what he meant by keeping possession of the sea.” The pirate said: “What you mean by seizing the whole earth; but because I do it with a petty ship, I am called a robber, while you, who do it with a great fleet, are called emperor.”

Then, as now, that’s the logic the state operates on.

Whatever your feelings on copyright, I’m sure you can understand why this takedown is sickening. The Department of Justice is concerned with the free distribution of movies. It is not concerned with massive media organizations like Fox telling blatant lies to frogmarch the people into war. It is concerned with bringing Megaupload to justice, not with bringing war criminals who advocate torture to justice. It is worried about the profits of Hollywood. It does not give a shit about detained or murdered Arabs.

Not a single member of Goldman Sachs has been charged with anything. They were bailed out. Dick Cheney remains free to walk the earth. In golden shoes, if he so chooses.

And we’re supposed to look at all that and think this government has our best interests at heart?

We’re supposed to look at all the lies we’ve been told and think they’re protecting creators?

I’m a creator. I’m a published novelist. I have an interest in this. But I cannot, for a single god-damn moment believe that the US government is at all interested in protecting me. If they were interested in protecting the peaceful expression of ideas and the people who create and spread them, we’d see a few less scenes like this:

They’re interested in protecting one thing and one thing only: Profit. Their profit.

If you want to talk criminal conspiracies, we should start with Goldman Sachs. Move on to the insider trading in Congress. Prosecute the war criminals who launched an illegal invasion based on lies, engaged in warrentless wiretaps, detained, tortured and burnt their way to a tidy profit margin at the expense of the tax payer.

Let’s start with the people who allowed this to happen:

And did this:

And before we decide that these are the people who should be given any control whatsoever over the things we can read, see, download or share, we should ask ourselves if they wanted us to see any of those images, considering their first move after the torture in Abu Gharib was to ban cameras, or if they would let us see this one:

I do not think they would.

Nothing in their history says they deserve this sort of power or can sensibly wield it.

And while I’m sympathetic to the indie film maker who has lost money due to downloading, I am not so sympathetic that I think any state should be given the power to determine what we share online. I do not think creators should be able to pass any law to protect themselves at other people’s expense.

If they had that sort of power around twenty five years ago, hip-hop, which was considered theft and its artists pirates, would not exist today. It would not be one of the most popular and profitable artforms in the history of humankind – one that many people derive a living from. And make no mistake, some people lost money. Some people never got paid. They should have been.

That shit happens.

And that sort of thing isn’t right. But it’s worse to allow reactionaries and their bully boys in the Department of Justice to pass laws that trample us all. Just to drive up profit on their latest remake of a television show. A remake by an industry that was, itself, founded on violating copyrights.

Call me crazy but, over the last Planet of the Apes movie, I would take this any day.

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