I’ve seen some interesting discussion regarding Megaupload and SOPA/PIPA/ACTA. These are laws that make it easier to censor the Internet to fight “copyright infringement”.
A lot of people are saying “They’re only going after those evil filesharers. They won’t come after us.” Some people on retrogaming trackers say “They’re only going after people who share current stuff. They won’t go after people who share 10+ year old games.”
Why do police kidnap someone who grows marijuana and smokes it himself? Because they can, and “They must enforce the law as written”. If the law is changed to make *ALL* sharing of copyrighted work illegal, then police who “strictly enforce the law as written” must crack down on all filesharing, even for old no-longer-marketable stuff.
Some people say “It’s just the people who share current movies and music. They won’t go after us.” That is missing the point. One common State trick is incrementalism. An evil policy is implemented gradually.
Consider the income tax in the USA. Politicians said “It’ll only be a couple percent, and only on the super-wealthy”. This conned people into supporting it. Originally, it was only a few percent, and only on people with really high incomes. Then, it grew to the monster it is today, where the average worker pays taxation rates of 50% or more. (50% isn’t an exaggeration. 25% Federal income, 15% Social Security and Medicare, 10% NYC+state tax, plus other taxes)
Suppose that the PIPA/SOPA internet censorship law is in place. A website can be seized without trial, for “copyright infringement”. Then, a prosecutor tells the judge “We don’t like the way FSK criticizes the Federal Reserve and IRS. He is guilty of treason. Take away his website.” The judge would say “There already is a website-stealing process for copyright infringement. We can also use it to steal FSK’s website.” In fact, some other countries already do this. A “internet censorship process” was created for “copyright and child pornography”. Then, it was extended to anything that judges don’t like.
For another example, Irwin Schiff could be prevented from publishing his book, via the same process used for copyright censorship. (I disagree with Irwin Schiff, who says “The income tax isn’t valid due to a legal loophole.” Even if he’s right, a slave will never get a fair trial regarding taxation in a biased State court. Based on legal precedents and the way the system actually works, the income tax (as enforced) is valid in the eyes of State thugs.)
This is a common trick. An evil policy is incremented gradually. “Copyright infringement” and “child pornography” are issues that State propagandists use to justify Internet censorship. First they’ll only go after the people who share current movies and songs. Then, they will go after other things. A prosecutor could argue that I’m guilty of treason, when I say “All taxation is theft!” and “You should boycott the Federal Reserve and IRS.” If they put in me in jail, that’s expensive and requires a “due process” farce. It’d be much easier if they could seize my website without a trial.