Occupy the Internet! Why is so viral this expression?

The animated occupation soldiers are in front of the line and they espect the orders to occupy the internet. This is a real battle, because people took to the streets of internet to show their messages. Many websites are occupied, in fact there is a list with the websites currently being occupied. fffff.at published here a list with such websites and you can use the Occupy Service. You copy and paste a code into any HTML page to your website or to websites you control (or, attention, you can get control of).

This thing represents the effect of some acts like SOPA, PIPA or ACTA. Occupation movement implies an “army” composed by some people who want to possess a space or a thing to demonstrate something. In this case, I think that the fact itself is a paradox, because people are on the Internet. So, citizens work, live and travel on internet, this is the place where they act. They can’t occupy the internet because they are already there. The boundaries of internet user was transgressed and he plays different roles now. Entire process to be on internet makes users participate to their own project. The seductive power of clicking transform user into a project admin, he is the (v)user. “In such an environment, the viewer gets involved, moving the cursor from one folder to another, from one element of the artwork to the other, profaning its actual message” (Rares Iordache, From Transgression to Virtual Space or the End of Art). No matter the project itself (can be an email, a social account, Youtube account or something else), it is relevant to be online, to stay connected with information, with other users or with other projects. We can talk about the social impact of the internet since the boom of web 2.0. This is still the current paradigm, says Lev Manovich. “I was an audience at the conference when Tim O’Reilly coined the term social web 2.0, but this is a new paradigm and I don’t really see a paradigm shift because this one still attracts a lot of energy” (Giulia Simi, Interview with Lev Manovich, 2010). But still, many things are in a continous change and it is difficult to talk about something which is constantly changing. How can we do such a thing and what is the relevance? I think that we can capture the moment and write about it. This is the citizens world, a world in motion.

Now, the term occupy can be applied elsewhere. The real invaders of internet are those who create the censor or something like ACTA, for example. This represents a real and current problem for citizens, it’s a new element, which don’t exist in such a form on internet. ACTA works as a external mechanism to introduce new rules. Intellectual proprety must be defended with any costs. This seems to be the central message. I think that the intellectual property element is very important in digital culture, but the method to impose it is definitely damaged. You can not cancel overnight the user statute and restrict his internet freedom or his freedom of expression. While, you can’t delete his avatar or his interface, and make him create something else in accord with your own rules.

The problem is so viral because involves two current things: the occupy movement, which is already a trend, and a form of internet censorship. The mise: the battle for the right to keep the internet free. Let’s see: ACTA, the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, is a proposed agreement for establishing international standards on intellectual property rights enforcement. ACTA would establish a new international legal framework, but I can says this: ACTA would create a new world order! Citizens would be required to replace their actual world with another one and the entire process is made without their consultation. The pertinent question still remain: why? The movements against ACTA started and there are some websites which promote the message StopACTA. I talk here about La Quadrature du Net, an advocacy group that promotes the rights and freedoms of citizens on the Internet. Some websites was already occupied, but I just talked about that.

Piracy is not a significant problem“, said Tim O’ Reilly , the man who coined in 2004 the term web 2.0.

“The way I see it, there’s a lack of need for any legislation at all. As a publisher, I have a very deep experience here, and the fact is that piracy is not a significant problem. Yes, there are people who are pirating my books, there are people who are sharing links to places where they can be downloaded. But the vast majority of customers are willing to pay if the product is widely available and the price is fair. If you have a relationship with your customers, and they know you’re doing the right thing, they will support you. The people who are pirating are most likely the people who would never give you a nickel to begin with. Piracy serves people on the fringes who are not being served adequately by legitimate markets. Frankly, if people in Romania can download my books and enjoy them, more power to them. They weren’t going to pay me anyway”, said Tim O’ Reilly in a interview for gigaom.com.

But, if Anonymous can discuss about a new era, then I can say that we are going to a new paradigm. The “hactivism” values will be masked under the current operations.

We Anonymous are launching our largest attack ever on government and music industry sites. Lulz. The FBI didn’t think they would get away with this did they? They should have expected us.

We must espect to more and more messages like this. The method to spread them is similar to a virus, because I think we live in a viral culture, where the novelty and strangeness of the products make possible the viral.

The article is a contribution from digital technology scholar Rareș Iordache who writes at .ifilosofie.