Thinking about how Marcus Yallow sets up a network against DHS, Doctorow points out that technology can be used either for or against surveillance. He refers to George Orwell's 1984 and how he thinks Orwell underestimated thepower of technology.
Trying to find some recent instances how technology has worked against governments’ surveillance, I thought about the events of last year and Arab Spring.
I remembered how Facebook and such social networked worked to people’s benefit in those cases. Ghonim, who is from Egypt, after reading about an Egyptian guy being beaten to death by the government tried making a facebook page called “We are all Khaled Said” and in it, invited people to participate in different silent stands and riots. This, then, was one of the million things that lead to the ouster of his regime.
The Internet, Ghonim says, was ‘instrumental in shaping my experiences as well as my character.’ Like many who grew up with instant messaging, online video games and the here-comes-everybody ethos of sites like Wikipedia, he refers to himself as a ‘real-life introvert yet an Internet extrovert.’” (Vargas 2)
It’s also good to talk about the issues around a book like Little Brother. We are aware that the book is available online for free download and interestingly enough he has made this clear to everyone. Too see where all these intellectual property and copyright laws stem from, I took a brief look at the history. Copyright laws can be traced back to Roman literature where dramatists started to sell the plays they wrote. It started to be an important issue with the invention of printing in Germany. It was then talked about in Italy, France and of course ENGLAND. Copyright laws took different forms. However, what basically is the foundation of American and British copyright laws is called The Statue of Anne (1710). It basically authorizes the author or his assigns can sell the books and it’s going to be on public domain after twenty years. Different international copyright legislation were formed after that but The Statue of Anne was the first important act.
Mark twain was an important figure in sharing his views and fighting for them regarding copyright laws. He was the first writer to incorporate and register his pseudonym as a trademark. His single most profitable property right was to a self-pasting scrapbook he patented in 1873. “The very first official thing I did, in my administration- and it was on the very first day of it too- was to start a patent office; for I knew that a country without a patent office and a good patent office laws was just a crab, and couldn’t travel anyway but sideways or backwards”.(Twain 70)
Going back to Doctorow and his interesting ideas about copyright laws leads us to the question of “Should these copyright laws be in applied or not? If so, how?” Aren't we all just copy machines ? Aren't we copying everything and everyone every second ? Why are we accusing others of doing that ?
Here's an interesting quote about copying:
“Making bits harder to copy is like making water that's less wet.”
- Vaidhyanathan, Siva. Copyrights and Copywrongs: The Rise of Intellectual Property and How It Threatens Creativity. New York: New York UP, 2001. Print.
- Vargas, Jose A. "Spring Awakening How an Egyptian Revolution Began on Facebook." The New York Times (2012): n. pag. Www.nytimes.com. 17 Feb. 2012. Web. 8 Dec. 2013. <http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/19/books/review/how-an-egyptian-revolution-began-on-facebook.html>.
- Bowker, R. R. Copyright, Its History and Its Law; Being a Summary of the Principles and Practice of Copyright with Special Reference to the American Code of 1909 and the British Act of 1911,. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1912. Print.
- Cohen, Roger. "Wael Ghonim's Egypt." The New York Times (2011): n. pag. Www.nytimes.com. 9 Feb. 2011. Web. 8 Dec. 2013. <http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/10/opinion/10iht-edcohen10.html>.
- Khan, Zorina, and Kenneth L. Sokoloff. "History Lessons: The Early Development of Intellectual Property Institutions in the United States." The Journal of Economic Perspectives 15.3 (2001): 233-46. JSTOR. Web. 9 Dec. 2013. <http://www.jstor.org/stable/2696565>.