So I’m trying to develop a point of view on why and how exactly legislative acts like ACTA or SOPA would change my life, apart from the general: internet as a host of commons will disappear or be radically different from that which we grew up with. True, but how exactly will it change our lives, or mine personally?
The internet is a basic need for me and I see it as a restrictive commons, in that it seems a commons but it’s not actually and even the extent to which it is is now endangered. I pay 10 euros a month for a decent connectivity, and it more than pays off! Most and foremost, I work on the internet: not just private emailing, but also as a member in a community. An online community spread throughout the globe, designed based on the value of sharing stuff – private, public, copyrighted stuff with nothing but altruistic goals and stuff that’s rather food for thought and not hurting or making somebody rich because of that. With ACTA being voted and enforced, I’d have to work double the time: because the other half I’d have to dedicate to making sure what I do is legal and that I’m safe doing it.
Using the Internet space was what granted me a lot of professional opportunities: from scientific papers and conferences, to internships and my first job. I generally share those job ads, famous quotes, as well as what I do and write about, partly because of the nature of my profession. Example: access to online academic journals is scarce. Not even my university has the infrastructure and connectivity to provide its students with proper access, although it does have yearly subscriptions to many journals. But many is hardly enough. So what I do when writing a paper is that I come across interesting articles and I email a friend of mine who actually pays to consume science and I ask him to send me particular pieces. And he emails them to me. Otherwise it would be unreasonably hard for me to get the materials and write a paper.
Aside from work, ACTA will affect how I spend my free time. True, before the internet we had a lot of things to do in our spare time and don’t think people got bored. We will always have books right? But how do you let go of a lifetime habit? For example: I love independent, underground movies. At the cinema they release only blockbusters, awards winners, and generally products that sell, particularly American products. Because DVDs of lesser known movies are not to be found in stores (and because it’s easier, let’s face it) what I do is download a lot of foreign movies, you know those that most people don’t hear about, and like to set up such movie nights with my friends. ACTA will take movies away from me. I don’t have the money to go to international film festivals, so where would I see the movies I love? + those movie creators won’t sell more of their movies if I stop dwl since I wouldn’t be able to purchase them anyway, but in the current scenario at least the more people see them the more recognition they get.
Of course, there are numerous points to discuss when it comes to internet rights and responsibilities, but these are my couple of cents. 1. My chances for doing state of the art research would be exponentially lower if I couldn’t get hold of scientific work. 2. My level of culture would be exponentially lower if it were not for movies I can get online, for free.