Open source politics: Reddit drafts “The Freedom of Internet Act”

February 25, 2012

Reddit users have taken it upon themselves to draft legislation in place of SOPA and PIPA, unsatisfied with Washington politicians, who seem to have shown a willful ignorance of how the Internet actually works. Using a Google Doc open for anyone to help write and edit, they’ve come up with a draft version of “The Freedom of Internet Act”

The act addresses some basic tenets they’ve set forth. Note that these proclamations are subject to change as this is a living document and only reflect the content at the time of this publication:

  • Censorship – No government of any form presiding over any land, people, or assets in any form within the United States of America shall pass any law, nor ratify any treaty, which imposes or administers any kind of censorship on the Internet, except content found to be illegal content in accordance with this act.
  • Culpability – Only the creator or uploader of data is responsible for whether that data is legal to upload, possess or make available to other users or information services.
  • Restrictions on the Internet – No federal union or sovereign state may pass unilateral restrictions on the Internet.
  • Content removal – Notice must be given to an administrator of the information system and to the uploader of the content within at least 30 days in advance of any deletion of data from any information system or service, or within 24 hours of the transfer of the data in question from publicly accessible storage to privately accessible storage.
  • Judicial proceedings – Anyone undergoing judicial proceedings based on this document must be judged in the courts of the nation where the alleged offence was committed.
  • Appropriate punishment – TBD
  • Rights of the user – Addresses right to anonymity, privacy, use of proxies, encryption without fear of discrimination or suspicion.
  • Liability and Settlement of Copyright Infringement Claim – All calculations related to this are to be carried out in a consumer, retail, individual level pricing upon which the production cost, marketing cost will not influence, capped at 200% of calculated damage.

The sub-Reddit page for FIA is located here, where it was created by a user named “RoyalwithCheese22

The act aims to protect transformative works derived from copyrighted materials, such as mash-ups, memes and many other types of content shared on sites like Reddit, YouTube, Tumblr, Facebook and Twitter. It also seeks to try to address issues at an international level not just domestically in the United States.

1) If an individual resided in more than one country when committing violation(s) of this document, they shall be judged based on their physical location at the time of the offence.

2) The individual in question may demand extradition to their country of residence or citizenship, where they must then be tried for the listed offences. The court proceeding shall judge the crime as if the offence had been committed in his country of residence or citizenship during the event of the crime.

3) No person is to be extradited, deported or forced to leave, nor forcibly taken from a country for the need of legal proceedings. Any legal proceeding must be conducted in the country of which the crime was committed.

For more on the act and an interview with the original creator of the document, read this post by Dean Praetorious at the Huffington Post.


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A bit naive, given international treaties and the fact that in most countries the Internet isn’t a public utility but an entity owned almost wholly by corporate telcos or PTTs (government-monopoly telecoms).

The individual “take down” notices for copyright infringement still leave holes for places like MegaUpload, who will accept money from users for content and never share even a micropayment with the content creators attracting users (artists or developers). If each infringement requires a separate notice, the sites can just overload rights-holders with massive volumes of content and thus insurmountable infringement bureaucracy.

SOPA was draconian but this is ineffective. Let’s aim for the middle, people… Unless the goal is anarchy, in which case right on! 16-year-old trollers and anons governing FTW! I think I saw that Twilight Zone episode…

@Anthony, you may want to correct yourself, the phrase is “basic tenets” not “tenants.” Thanks for posting article!


Posted by PatternGuru | Report as abusive

an interesting FYI:
Megaupload was just about to roll out a service that would enable artists to get most of the profit from selling their stuff on Megaupload. 001923341/posts/QRvRSFJnXRu

Posted by Tenshou | Report as abusive

I did see that, and I wish there were any details anywhere regarding the “Megakey” technology of which they spoke. Given Dotcom’s history it appears dubious he invented something, let alone something to help others. I admit that’s a huge assumption on my partthough it seems to fit. I’ll still leave the door open that it was real as described. Even with models that might give artists a higher share, they’ll continue to need marketing and other cross-media deals. Social media has increasingly diminishing returns. Thanks for the post Tenshou. 7385294/a-wild-online-ride-hits-the-digi tal-piracy-wall/

Posted by PatternGuru | Report as abusive