Jack Layton’s confuses democracy with ‘Talk Like a Pirate Day’

Jack Layton recorded a youtube videoon p2pnet.net, a file sharing news service, declaring his support for file sharing services and the internet in general.

I quote the moustached munchkin:

“You know social networking sites, and and torrent sites, Youtube uh, operations, the the truly interactive websites are actually very fundamental to making a democracy work and to helping human intelligence to be shared and exchanged. It’s about as fundamentally democratic as you can get and we are ‘The New Democratic Party’. .. and what we want to see is, the the internet used as a public tool, it’s a public tool for exchanging ideas… the goals that we share, to achieve a more democratic country through the free exchange of information on the internet.”

If the internet is a public tool for exchanging ideas, why did Jack turn off the comments section his you tube video. “Adding comments has been disabled for this video.” Is he afraid that some ideas will be against him? I guess he supports the free exchange of information, except when it is anti-New Democrat.

Interactive websites like Digg, Slashdot and YouTube are wonderful tools for the democratic exchange of ideas. So are blogs, but somehow Jack failed to mention them. Perhaps he doesn’t like the idea of Blogging Tories. P2P file sharing services, however, are more about anarchy than democracy. Democracy is about having an open market for ideas and discussion, not stealing other’s intellectual property.

It must be talk like a pirate day

If you take at some of the P2P network indexing sites, like mininova, thepiratebay.org, mybittorrent, newtorrents, www.torrentbox, and torrentreactor it is obvious that these sites are more about the free exchange of commercial music, videos and software than the free exchange of ideas. What has being able to download a free copy of Adobe Photoshop, Borat or Spore got to do with democracy?

If Jack supports the free exchange of ideas, why doesn’t he speak out more against Communist China? They don’t allow their citizens to visit many western websites. Living next door to the Chinese consulate, I know that they have somehow taken action to prevent demonstrations against their repressive regime – one that prevents freedom of speech, assembly and religion and exploits workers. Democracy is about being able to say what you want freely, not being able to steal other’s work.

If Canada made the downloading of music, movies, books or programs perfectly legal, it will undermine the financial foundation of the artistic and commercial software communities. Artists would receive lower royalties, and record companies and movie studios will be less likely to take a gamble on new projects. There is another potential devastating problem with allowing free copyright violation. If Canadians download their music, movies and software rather that buying them, would not some studios cease all development activities in Canada as a protest?

Lets face it, downloading software, music and software is stealing intellectual property. People of true integrity will not support it. Yeah, it’s nice to be able to get anything you want for free, and it is a popular political stance, but it’s not right.

Jack speaks out against a two tier internet where file sharing services are throttled. This sounds good to start with, but lets take a minute to think about it. If half of all internet users are consistently downloading huge files, that will consume a huge amount of bandwidth compared to regular browsing, including Youtube. The result is either a slower internet for regular use, or internet providers will need to beef up their infrastructure and pass the costs on to consumers.

For Jack, it’s all about being abainst big corporations, not having a well thought out plan.


~ by Dan Bergen on October 13, 2008.

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