My name is Marcus Fridholm and I write to you because of the upcoming vote on ACTA on the fourth of July.
I implore you to turn down the ACTA agreement once and for all. Let me explain why.
As I went to university in the late eighties and early nineties I studied subjects that are more or less totally unrelated to my actual current career. Even so I am now considered quite proficient in what I do, with a multilayered and rather diverse knowledge spanning a multitude of subjects within and outside my chosen field of expertise.
I am an autodidact in a highly complex profession. Learning by doing and learning by research in the most fantastic library in the world… the free and dynamic internet.
I work as a developer and support-coordinator for an internet related software-company. A company that started less than eighteen months ago and now employs more than 50, as well as contracting another 20 or so external developers. An entrepreneurial rocket, an upstart of exactly the kind that our future economy depends on.
Our finances are sound, we’re on the roll and we work in an arena that is in a state of constant change… the free and dynamic internet.
As late as fifteen years ago the threshold for starting such a company would have been a many times, many tens of times higher. Without access to open source software the needed investments would have been at least twice as high. What is more, each client project would have been much less agile and subject to constraints that does not exist today. The reasons for such magnificence are simple – it’s the free and dynamic internet.
The internet is the modern Library Of Alexandria and Speakers Corner rolled into one. It is like an ongoing sit-in of the sixties, a professional convention, the boutique and the casbah, all at the same time. You can shop for the most exclusive merchandise at the most exquisite of specialist stores while at the same time haggling at the street corner for a cheap copy. You can contribute to a manifest, a language, software, discussion or just benefit from the same.
Legislation-proposals and agreements like ACTA, SOPA, PIPA, CISPA and others of the same ilk are created to regulate and control – to hem in. In reality they are being tailored in a way that will stifle the marketplace, the free exchange of ideas and the whole dynamism that make people like me legion, and makes companies like the one I work for not too uncommon.
The instant communication, sharing and freedom of the internet will rain on the parade of anyone with vested interests – anyone who for their prosperity requires opacity and exclusive control. Each of these acronyms are grave enough in and of themselves. But rather than each being the final apocalypse, they are steps created in a mindset of yesteryear trying the impossible of making the chick unhatched and back in the egg.
They won’t succeed easily, rather they will need draconic measures to be effective, thereby becoming far more oppressive than envisioned or presented. If they’re accepted and brought to their natural conclusion.
They will make people such as me a parenthesis in history, when – finally – the free information will have access rules and a price-tag. When internet becomes the video rental of the new millennium. They will make many of the upstarts of tomorrow a neverwas.
If we let that happen we’ll pay for our shortsightedness in the currency of tomorrows jobs, tomorrows freedoms and a general slowdown of our economy. We may have control, but control of what?
We may amend the most idiotic parts of the agreement, but the underlying mindset that created it is the natural enemy of beneficial progress, which means rejection rather than amendment is the natural course of action. If we want an agreement, let’s create one that isn’t made with an enmity to the modern world, one that actually benefits not only the future economy but our freedoms and knowledge too.
That is the reason such agreements as ACTA should never have been and shouldn’t ever be ratified.
Developer, Illustrator, Writer