Last week, the digital aggression that has become the signature move of the anti-copyright Operation Payback movement took what some will see as a more considered approach.
Stepping away from the massive show of force which had brought down countless websites, Operation Payback adopted a new strategy designed to regain the focus of attention.
The operation’s committee made a list of demands for governments worldwide with the ultimate aim of getting involved in political discussion. They argued that copyright laws need to change and called for an end to anti-piracy lawsuits and censorship.
“What we are now trying to do, is to straighten out ideals, and trying to make them both heard and accepted,” a spokesman for Operation Payback told TorrentFreak.
“Nobody would listen to us if we said piracy should be legal, but when we ask for copyright lifespan to be reduced to ‘fair’ lengths, that would sound a lot more reasonable.”
It didn’t go unnoticed that this switch to a more publicly acceptable path has more in common with the direction chosen by the the UK and US Pirate Party. Indeed, Operation Payback has certainly caught the eyes of the Pirates during their 2 month campaign and today, after a huge amount of hostility in recent weeks, Pirate parties have joined their voices in a plea for peace.
“We, the undersigned, call upon you to immediately cease the Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) attacks and to instead seek out a legal method to express your frustration and disquiet with the copyright industry, and their perversions of copyright law for personal gain,” write the Pirates today in a letter to the leaders of Operation Payback.
The letter goes on to express understanding of shared frustrations within the current debate but warns that Operation Payback, with its chosen path of aggression and hostility, runs the risk of playing into the hands of their enemy and hinder those who seek to promote copyright reform.
“By continuing Operation:Payback attacks, you will hamper those who promote copyright reform and curtailment of abuses of copyright, but who do so within the bounds of the law,” says the letter.
“Instead of being able to argue for legislative reform of copyright on its own merits, they will be accused of defending criminals and promoting lawlessness. It will be easier for legislators and the media to ignore the clear benefits of fair copyrights and free speech, in favour of clamouring for harsher legislation to ‘stop those pirates and hackers’.”
The letter from the Pirate concludes with a final plea.
“Please help those of us who care about your freedoms, your rights and your liberty, and choose a more moderate and legal way.”
The big question now is whether Operation Payback will respond positively. Despite its anarchic structure and the potential for action by dissenting splinter groups, the early signs are very good for a negotiated and lasting peace.
Anonymous’ spokesperson told TorrentFreak that they plan to adhere to the Pirate Party’s request and “cease activities immediately.” A full statement is expected to be released in the following hours and we will update this article as soon as it comes in.