ACTA Fool’s – Troops or Zombies?

Mostly like other platforms, Spotify has raised some emotions during their reign. And I’m not talking about sobbing to Josh Groban or having 5 espressos with the latest Swedish House Mafia beat. I’m talking about angry mobs and mobilized petitions.

Comments Cake

In 2011, Spotify announced that they would limit their future service for free users, and only paying users would be able to use the service full out, without commercials. This announcement received (9270)comments. On their own community (25838 replies) and other places, people rallied up (online) to protest this matter. No known away-from-keyboard-demonstrations were made. But with so many users taking stand with Spotify, arguing for their sake on these forums , the storm calmed by itself. Like a big sister lecturing her whiny little brother on how stupid he is. Another recent event was the release of the chrome-application Downloadify. Downloadify creator Robin Aldenhoven says in an interview he created the app to bring attention to incomplete encryption on the web player. A perfect excuse or a one-man act of activism?

But the biggest issue surrounding the music and entertainment industry has without doubt been the government’s unremitting moves to make the people more or less criminalized.  The COICA, PIPA, SOPA, ACTA, and CISPA efforts sure have achieved some =(‘s. ACTA, being the only international preposition, received some feedback from the 2.8 million (dedicated?) Avaaz.org members who signed their petition, in just 3 weeks. People actually took to the streets in 200 cities all over Europe, fighting the EU’s decision to sign the bill without warning or consent. The US Congress with its SOPA-bill received an astonishing 14 million names protesting against it.

Members of the Polish parliament protesting ACTA in 2012

People seem on occasion to be pretty easy to mobilize. Or is it just the fact that a great pitch can sell sand in the desert? I, being an Avaaz-supporter myself, do encourage a(@)ctivism. I am impressed by the work and commitment from people like Jeremy Waiser of Avaaz.org or Sam Adler-Bell of DemandProgress.org who are working hard to defend our rights online. But I have no idea how many people actually know what they are signing when participating in these actions. The KONY2012-example, as pointed out by Henry Jenkins in his article The New Political Commons from 2012, shows that a large number of people easily can become zombiefied by a YouTube-video, without questioning the content. (I was one of them).

What happens when this is used with wrong intentions, and if that happens on a larger scale, will we automatically disregard other encouragements to activism in the future? People need to have a higher level of skepticism towards online content, and be able to make their own truths. A rule of thumb: If you don’t know anything about the advertised issue, don’t get involved, or do your research properly.

And as always: The Title Game

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4 responses to “ACTA Fool’s – Troops or Zombies?

  1. This is a really great blog post Jonas!

    SOPA, CISPA, ACTA and all of them terrify me like you wouldn’t believe. I’m glad that the public has rallied against them as they have and I think it’s a good sign that people realise a good cause when they see it.

    Yet I can understand the wont for mindlessly following any cause, such as KONY 2012. I don’t know, it’s all very subjective, but sometimes the more ‘important’ issues get bogged down with details, confusing politics and most of the message gets lost on people. KONY was very well put together so anyone could easily recognise the issue at hand (eg: Kony is the big bad etc) without having to look up more information. In contrast, I remember when I first started seeing ACTA/SOPA/etc pop up, most of the message used terminology I personally didn’t quite understand at that stage, and looking it up made me more confused.

    Enough of my rambling, but again, really great post!

    Kath

  2. Also just a heads up, (and it’s not that big of a deal here I guess, I’m just pedantic) but you had a few typos that you might want to proofread over before submitting. I know I can’t really talk (I am kind of behind on my own blog whoops), but I’m free to proofread stuff if you need or just ask a native English-speaking friend of yours. Same goes for the essay. Don’t want to lose marks over trivial spelling/grammar mistakes!

    • Thank you!

      You are very much highlighting the problem here. However much I would like to be more active in the legislation-issue, I just don’t feel like I have a full understanding of the entire picture. There are probably heaps of issues out there that would engage people more if they understood them better. Knowledge is truly power! And if put in a relevant context and designed to be understood by anyone, a campaign could probably mobilize people pretty easily. That’s also my concern in the post, “what if someone with the right skills and wrong intentions suddently emerge from nowhere and takes over the world?”.

      Thank you so much for the heads up, I checked my spelling as far as I could and have corrected it! A proofread would really help with the essay, if you’re up for it, I would be more than grateful!

      Jonas

  3. It’s definitely an interesting discussion, there’s so many variables and outcomes that it’s difficult to end with a clear cut answer (which I guess is why I like this subject so much, gets my investigative juices flowing).

    And yeah I’d be more than happy to proof read your essay when you’re ready. It’s good practice for me anyway so win/win.

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