Athabasca U’s Mark A. McCutcheon has written a smashing essay called “The copyfight, science fiction, and social media,” presented at a Session on Capacity Building and Virtual (Online) Community at the Society for Socialist Studies conference. As the title suggests, the subject matter is the relationship between science fiction, social media, and social change. Mark was good enough to cite several of my works in it, as well as material from William Gibson and Peter Watts.
The “copyfight” over regulating intellectual property (IP) and digital culture pits corporations and states against citizens, who are criminalized en masse as ever-stricter IP laws exert increasing control over cultural production, distribution, and consumption. At the same time, these new laws and regulations increasingly infringe on citizens’ rights to freedom and privacy. As of this writing, the Harper regime is poised to introduce harsh and excessive IP legislation in the guise of “copyright modernization”: legislation based on the punitive, police-state models of the USA’s Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) and the UK’s Digital Economy bill, which weaken and restrict provisions for public fair use, while extending protection not only to IP but also to the technological protection measures or “digital locks” that some companies put on devices and content. Looming over these already extreme regulatory changes is the ongoing and secretive negotiation of a global Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (as discussed by Jay Smith in this session).