Yesterday I wrote about the anti-ACTA protests taking place across Europe, which prompted a very interesting tweet discussion with Geraldine Juarez (Storify in Spanish here). The gist of the argument is that Geraldine disagrees that there is no reason to protest, while my argument continues to be that people have been fed inaccuracies to get them incensed against an agreement that does not offer an important threat.
This got me thinking about the difference between positive and negative protesting. It is always easier to get people to protest AGAINST something, instead of FOR an ideal, and ACTA is precisely one of those occasions. I have read with interest today a very telling piece in EDRI about how positive has ACTA been for the European Parliament. In other words, ACTA has served to enhance the Parliament’s power within the European institutional system, which is quite an ironic turn. I would argue that the same has happened for Pirate Parties, NGOs and other people who favour more balance in copyright. It is easier to bring people to your camp by presenting ACTA as the bogeyman.
However, there is room for positive protest within the context of ACTA. In our discussion, Geraldine accurately mentioned several of them. The lack of transparency and the plutocracy in the pocket of industry lobbyists is one of the nefarious causes and consequences of ACTA, so one can take the opportunity to argue in favour of openness, and for an end to one-sided dominance of the few in the democratic process.
It is time that we stop being reactive and start proposing a positive agenda. This has already been taking place in several fora: COMMUNIA’s policy recommendations on the public domain, the Washington Declaration on Intellectual Property and the Public Interest, the Internet Freedom Movement, and other similar positive approaches offer the way to go in the future.
I’m off to practice poses for my next conference.