Read Reddit’s Crowdsourced ‘Free Internet Act’

Read Reddit’s Crowdsourced ‘Free Internet Act’

After playing a major role in defeating SOPA legislation, Reddit users decided to craft their own “Free Internet Act”, which, they hoped, could be used as a far more liberal replacement bill.

Idealistic as this sounds, a crowdsourced document for how to govern the internet is an intriguing idea that, one would think, might help maintain freedoms for web users.


Well, the document that has emerged is so weak in protecting copyright that it would likely revert the internet back to a Wild West-type situation where more or less anything goes.

• Copyright-infringing content can only be policed after it has been uploaded, and networks hosting the content — for example, Megaupload or Napster, two historic examples of networks punished severely for hosting illegal content — would not be held liable. Only the uploader could be penalised, and the host and downloader would be immune.

• A provision to fight child pornography includes the caveat, “contents used for medical, educational and scientific activities are excepted from these category” — a pretty wide-ranging way for uploaders to defend themselves.

• The burden of proof on an accuser includes showing that the uploader who violated copyright had knowledge that what he or she was uploading was illegal, and that they had no reason to believe they were posting it as Fair Use. This would make any chance of financial remunerations for copyright holders when their work is posted illegally highly unlikely.

• Notification of a copyright complaint must be issued to uploaders at least 30 days before the content is removed, and then they would have the opportunity to fight the notice. Only copyright holders can complain about illegal posting of material.

Admirable as it is that Reddit has tried to do something about the lack of accepted regulation regarding the Internet, this document skews incredibly far in the direction of sharing illegal content, to a point where widespread violation of copyright would be nearly impossible to avoid. [Business Insider]

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