This is a guest post from Otto de Voogd, digital freedom fighter, a member of the non-profit Estonian Internet Community and a volunteer Mozilla contributor.
Thousands of sites, led by Reddit and Wikipedia, staged a successful blackout against SOPA and PIPA last week. But, it would be a mistake to think that the threat against the Internet existed only in the United States.
The same forces that were at work trying to push these web censorship bills through the US Congress are at work around the world.
In recent years the United States government and lobbying groups have put pressure on Sweden, Spain and many other countries to toughen their anti-piracy laws, but these are just a few examples.
An opinion piece I published on ERR, the Estonian Public Broadcaster, exposes the content industry’s lobbying activities there. The lobbying is led by the (non governmental) American Chamber of Commerce in Estonia (AmCham in short).
The piece debunks several false claims that are often made by the content industry and have been repeated by AmCham in Estonia.
For instance the claim that stronger anti-piracy laws would lead to more jobs and higher tax revenues in Estonia. While such laws, if they worked at all, would at best only shift jobs and revenue from one sector to another, the reality is that such a shift would create jobs in Hollywood at the expense of jobs in Estonia, thus causing a net loss to the Estonian economy.
The threat that stronger anti-piracy laws would pose to the open internet in Estonia, such as the ubiquitous free WiFi, is also covered.
It is not everyday that an article critical of the legacy content industry appears in the mainstream media. This is a unique chance for “our side” of the argument to be heard by a wider audience. The IP-maximalists know this, so it is no surprise that they are out in force in the comment section trying to drown out the dissent by repeating the same old pro-IP fallacies.