ISOC-Philippines on Pirate Bay, Dr. Potel
founders and the criminal charges against philosophy professor Horacio
By isoc-ph, on April 20, 2009, 2:05 am
The Internet Society Philippines (ISOC-PH) Public Policy Principles
and activities are based upon a fundamental belief that The Internet
is for everyone. ISOC-PH upholds and defends core values that allow
people throughout the world to enjoy the benefits of the Internet.
Recent developments, however, demonstrate an alarming growth towards a
license culture on the Internet, imposed by the criminalization of
those whose culture and society advance creativity, innovation and
economic opportunity through the values of openness, sharing,
education and collaboration.
Philosophy professor Horacio Potel from Argentina is facing criminal
charges for maintaining a personal and educational website devoted to
Spanish translations of works by French philosopher Jacques Derrida.
A court in Sweden has found the four men behind The Pirate Bay, a
file-sharing website, guilty of breaking copyright law and were
sentenced to a year in jail and ordered to pay $4.5m (£3m) in damages.
The Ability to Share is one of ISOCs core values. The many-to-many
architecture of the Internet makes it a powerful tool for sharing,
education, and collaboration. It has enabled the global open source
community to develop and enhance many of the key components of the
Internet, such as the Domain Name System and the World-Wide Web, and
has made the vision of digital libraries a reality. To preserve these
benefits we will oppose technologies and legislation that would
inhibit the freedom to develop and use open source software or limit
the well-established concept of fair use, which is essential to
scholarship, education, and collaboration.
We will also oppose excessively restrictive governmental or private
controls on computer hardware or software, telecommunications
infrastructure, or Internet content. Such controls and restrictions
substantially diminish the social, political, and economic benefits of
The wire-tapping, searches and seizures, the removal of website
content and the criminal charges against professor Potel of the
University of Buenos Aires is an onslaught on human rights and
academic freedom in Argentina and on the Internet.
The police seizures of servers, the enormous bill for damages and the
jail sentence on Frederik Neij, Gottfrid Svartholm Warg, Carl
Lundstrom and Peter Sunde is a defiance of the social and cultural
institution of file-sharing in Sweden and on the Internet.
ISOC-PH founding member and lawyer Michael Dizon writes, Putting
greater emphasis on the development of social or community norms and
how people can actively participate in the creation of these norms
may be more advantageous in advancing creative culture than resorting
to contractual agreements. Ideally, laws (and the licenses that seek
to enforce rights based on these laws) should embody and uphold the
norms and values of a community, and not the other way around.
As founding president of the newly rejuvenated ISOC-Philippines
Chapter, I would like to dispute some of the statements being made
regarding the Pirate Bay trials, in particular, by John Kennedy,
Chairman and CEO of the International Federation of the Phonographic
Industry. Mr Kennedy says,
This is good news for everyone, in Sweden and internationally, who is
making a living or a business from creative activity and who needs to
know their rights will protected by law.
In keeping with the ISOC-PH mandate, I find it offensive to the
diversity of cultures on the Internet the claim that the global model
of copyright protection being imposed upon the developers and users of
the Internet is good news for everyone.
I also find it hard to accept the sincerity of Mr Kennedys statement
about making a living or a business from creative activity. In fact
only a handful of media corporations have effectively taken over what
used to be a very diverse field of creative activity.
Such a process of consolidation and privatization has created gross
inequality between artists and the big media corporations: relations
between artists and recording companies are replete with exploitative
contracts and bitter legal struggles for control; and royalties and
other earnings from copyright constitute only a fraction of the income
of most active professional artists.
The Pirate Bay trials and the criminal charges against professor Potel
are a threat to academic freedom and free speech, and they undermine
the Internet core value of the Ability to Share. If we envision a
future in which people in all parts of the world can use the Internet
to improve their quality of life, then freedom, and not a license
culture, must be obtained for professor Potel, the Pirate Bay
founders and the Internet communities of sharing.
ISOC-PH calls on all Internet citizens to demand freedom.
Internet Society Philippines Chapter
Quezon City, Philippines
April 20, 2009