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(en) Canada, Abolish Intellectual Property !

From Abolish Intellectual Property! <abolish-ip-info@contre.com>
Date Sun, 9 Sep 2001 03:34:09 -0400 (EDT)


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The "Abolissons la P.I. / Abolish IP!" Manifesto
================================================

Intellectual Property is at the vanguard of the extension of corporate
power in contemporary Capitalism. To the extent that it occupies a
major place in the globalization process alongside of the so-called
"rights of investors". These "rights" and "protective measures" are at
the center of the international negotiations now taking place (WTO,
FTAA, etc.).

If the reasons justifying their "rights" from the investors' point of
view are clear, the reasons for the reinforcement of protective
measures around intellectual property are also easy to understand,
although more subtle: the "products" under the intellectual property
regime have the advantage of a near zero reproduction cost permitting
a faster accumulation of capital. It is no accident that the last
mega-mergings were among companies based around intellectual property:
AOL/Time Warner, Vivendi/Universal, etc. Bill Gates and his friends,
from whom we heard a lot in the last two years, built their empire on
this fiction. And it is the same thing for all the other less known
proprietary software publishers.

The United States recently adopted reforms reinforcing the protection
of intellectual property: DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act),
UCITA (uniform Computer Information Transactions Act), etc. Among the
changes induced by those reforms, repression is highest against those
who do not "respect" intellectual property. Canada is presently doing
a public consultation on a Copyright Act reform aiming to harmonize
its legislation with the American DMCA and the international treaties
it signed on intellectual property (WIPO). In the United States, those
reforms have already afflicted many victims:

1) Dimtry Sklyarov, a Russian programmer, was arrested and imprisoned
   during a recent visit to the United States because he participated
   in the development of a software package that could transform
   Adobe's E-Books into a format compatible with a speech-reader
   program. By doing this, he violated DMCA clauses which prohibit the
   circumvention of mechanisms protecting intellectual property.

2) The MPAA (representing Hollywood's major industries) is suing many
   individuals that have links on their web sites to the DeCSS code,
   which allow DVD playback on systems without an authorized DVD
   player (Linux, FreeBSD, OpenBSD, etc.).

3) Dr Felten from Princeton University is presently in court against
   the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America), because they
   threaten to sue him if he ever publish his study which describes
   flaws in their SDMI system (Secure Digital Music Initiative). The
   latter is supposed to prevent unauthorized use and copy of digital
   music. We should recall that the RIAA organized a contest to make
   sure that their system was uncrackable!

It is our duty to fight against the importation of those laws into
Canada. Only a strong popular mobilization can prevent the Canadian
"rulers" from acting like those other "rulers" that listen to the
"rulers" of the capitalist corporations increasing their profits by
prohibiting sharing, which is under the cover of the "protection of
intellectual property". That is why our group "Abolissons la propriété
intellectuelle / Abolish IP!" suggests we fight this reform by
encouraging popular mobilization: our main goal is to abolish the
intellectual property regime. Because it fights the vanguard of
capitalism, this struggle can only be anti-capitalist and
anti-authoritarian.

Another world is possible because human creativity, intelligence and
expressiveness do not need the fiction of intellectual property to
develop themselves. GNU/Linux, the free-software movement, the Free
Art movement as well as the Free Music Philosophy, are examples of the
superiority of the collective ownership of the fruits of human
expressiveness. All these movements, although following the letter of
the law on intellectual property (copyright law for example), negate
its fundamental principle (the exclusive appropriation of ideas and
their media support by publishers and authors).

If you are interested in this struggle, you may visit our web site at
the following address: http://www.contre.com/abolish-ip/. A mailing
list was also created for this purpose. You can subscribe by sending
an email to abolish-ip-subscribe@contre.com

The "Abolissons la PI / Abolish IP!" Group	
abolish-ip-info@contre.com
http://www.contre.com/abolish-ip/

$Revision: 1.3 $


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