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SXSW Interactive 2013

What is the Future of Internet Rights?

In January, a coalition of powerful copyright lobbyists were poised to convince Congress to pass two laws to shape the Internet to much better protect their property, crippling the Web as we know it in the process. But a few major Internet leaders, and many more minor ones, convinced enough people to swarm their representatives in Congress with phone calls that they stopped both laws.

That was the moment the Internet found a voice to defend itself. Since then, there have been several developments on each side: enemies of the Internet, including proposed U.S. cybersecurity bills (CISPA, Secure IT), international trade agreements (ACTA, TPP), and the MPAA, who still pushes SOPA-like legislation in governments around the world.

But defenders have also risen up, like the Internet Defense League, who have set up a system to quickly mobilize the legions of citizens who can sign petitions and call politicians and the authors of the Declaration of Internet Freedom.

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  1. How can we fight a copyright lobby that seems indefatigable in its goals and resources to enforce its will on the Internet? We dealt it a partial blow in January, but it has promised to return in 2013. And it's still getting copyright maximalist bills passed around the world.
  2. What will it take to convince members of Congress to sign the Declaration of Internet Freedom? What will it take to create a political atmosphere where not promising to defend the Internet is political suicide?
  3. "Enemies of the Internet" usually refers to one of two things: those who want to reshape the Internet to protect their intellectual property, and those who want to reduce citizen privacy in the name of security. What else are potential threats?
  4. What will be an appropriate use of the Internet Defense League, and will it be enough when the time comes?
  5. Could we successfully we lobby, or threat boycott, corporations into convincing them to sign the Declaration of Internet Freedom?



Kevin Collier, Internet Rights Reporter, Daily Dot

Meta Information:

  • Event: Interactive
  • Format: Panel
  • Track: Government and Civic Engagement
  • Level: Intermediate
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