Killing Piracy, Promoting Fascism

I’ve noticed a disturbing trend recently. Those that have read this blog regularly will have noticed too. It concerns the tactics that organizations such as the RIAA and MPAA have been using to fight piracy: by killing off privacy.

Those in the UK will be familiar with the recent agreement between the BPI (British Phonographic Institute) and UK ISPs. The deal basically forces ISPs to spy on their users and to report piracy to the BPI for further prosecution (or is that persecution).

On the surface, this sounds fair enough. If you pirate stuff, then you should be prepared to face the consequences. Legal music downloads and movie purchases are cheap enough these days, and casual piracy means that you can always get make less than 100% legal copies of stuff from your friends’ legal copies.

But looking at the big picture, what has just happened exactly? Basically one industry group, a rich and powerful one, has just forced another industry group and all its members to start spying on their customers. The government was not involved for better or worse, so basically two private entities made a deal to invade the privacy of consumers to ensure future profits, with no oversight, on police or rights protection, and possibly not even a charter of what’s allowed and what’s not. When corporations start making deals with each with the effect of eroding our basic liberties, all in the name of profit and done so in such a public way, is this the time to start getting really worried? Not only has government around the world not acted to stop this, they have helped these organizations by creating new laws and legislation, such as the DMCA, to empower and legalise these actions. There is this quote that often comes to mind when I read these type of stories:

Fascism should more appropriately be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power 

— Benito Mussolini

Now, perhaps I’m overreacting just a bit. I’ve always been a fan of conspiracy theories, and so maybe this is just that side of me looking to be outraged. But the Internet is now possibly the most frequently used communications platform we have today, at least for people in the developed countries. If private companies are now allowed to spy on our most intimate communications, all in the name of protection intellectual property, then where will it stop? Random computer searches? Which is now easier than ever thanks to spyware. Searching laptops at airports for pirated material? Sounds far fetched, but amazingly, it’s already been proposed.

And when you look at the current political climate around the world, what with terms like ‘enemy combatants’, ‘Gitmo’ and ‘rendition’, plus ‘third degree interrogation’ techniques such as ‘waterboarding’ all becoming accepted parts of democratic society, is this really the direction we want to head in (and that’s not even mentioning those other countries that don’t care about human rights).

Going back on topic slightly, I know a lot of people who hate the movie “Starship Troopers”. In typical Paul Verhoeven style, it was crass, loud, extremely violent and many claimed that it promoted piracy. I thought it was a brilliant movie because of the message that it delivers … that any society can turn into a fascist one, and we probably wouldn’t even notice. Seeing Doogie Howser M.D. in an Nazi SS like uniform, and being one of the “good” guys, says it all really. In fact, all the good guys in the movie promoted fascist ideals, and that’s also why many people were outraged. But were they outraged that this was a movie portraying fascists as the good guys (and gals), or were they more outraged by the fact that it was so easy for themselves and other moviegoers to start cheering for symbols of fascism? And should we start embracing corporate fascism just because we want to do the right thing and respect the rights of artists. If this the cost of anti-piracy, then sign me up for the Swedish Pirate Party.


2 Responses to “Killing Piracy, Promoting Fascism”

  1. William Tunstall Says:


    I’ve tried reaching you via email but I haven’t received a reply. Perhaps I ended up in your spam filter. Anyway… I work with a client who would like some exposure on your site.  Preferably in connection to when you do a review/post about a product.  

    My client works with tech gadget reviews and they would blend in great  with your site. If you are interested I can explain a bit further about what I have in mind.


  2. Weekly News Roundup (10 August 2008) « Blog Archive « DVDGuy’s Blog @ Digital Digest Says:

    […] DVDGuy’s Blog @ Digital Digest Just what the world needs, another blog « Killing Piracy, Promoting Fascism […]

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