The creative world needs your help.
The Pirate Bay is used by thousands of artists.
When the Pirate Bay crew decided to help out creators with promotions, this was so popular that they’ve now created an entire site dedicated to artist promotions, The Promo Bay. While those lucky enough to get promoted enjoyed spikes in awareness, sales, and fans, all the other thousands of torrent-loving artists still have total and free access to one of the best distribution services in the digital world – their beloved Pirate Bay.
Except they don’t.
Not in the UK.
UK creators and their fans were cut off from one of their closest allies as courts ordered ISPs to block the site.
Creators, if you think this is a problem for a few giggling fangirls downloading the latest um… Popular Artist X, you’re sorely mistaken. It’s you’re problem. It’s our problem. The Pirate Bay is one of the biggest and best distribution tools for artists. The World’s Most Efficient Public Library mustn’t be hobbled – not by blocking, not by raiding, not by throwing it’s creators behind bars. Fellow writer, Cory Doctorow got this. In his words:
“Universal access to human knowledge is in our grasp, for the first time in the history of the world. This is not a bad thing.”
The internet has given us the potential to give every human being free and unfettered access to the total sum of cultural material and knowledge available to the world. If we choose not to use this ability, and worse, if we deliberately choose to block it, what does that say about us? According to UK policy, it say “Congratulations! You’re a law-abiding citizen.”
But not everyone agrees.
And not everyone should. After the UK Block on the Pirate Bay, countless proxies popped up to route around the censorship. As the anti-censorship party, the UK Pirates provided their own proxy – and are now being threatened for it by the entertainment industry.
Creators, this is a problem. For us. For artists. For writers. For fans.
It’s is not just about altruistic sharing. It’s not just about the unconscionable act of threatening a political party for routing around a hostile blockade. It’s about us. Make no mistake: this is about creators. Blocking the Pirate Bay in the first place was a hostile move against a whole generation of musicians, filmmakers, writers, artists, and fans.
As a group, we creators tend to sympathize with the who fight pirates – even if we don’t agree – because they have good intentions. They are protecting the artists! Or at least, they think they are. I have no doubt that even the most hardline copyright trolls really do believe in what they’re doing. So we really should be understanding. Good intentions, after all.
Fuck good intentions.
Censorship is not ok. Not ever.
Censoring a communications channel is never ok. Not ever. The first place I saw TPB blocked wasn’t in the UK. It was in China. Of course, China isn’t so worried about copyright infringement. They’re more worried about things like this. But forget that. We don’t need to be political dissidents or rebels in an oppressive regime to suffer from censorship.
We just need to be creators.
Writers. Artists. Anyone trying to make a living on our creative work.
And censorship hurts us, too. We need our communications channels open.Communication is what we do. Taking away our route to share with fans, takes away our work, our livelihood, our passion. And no matter the good intentions, it is not ok to continue and continue and continue to pursue these kinds of mistakes.
We need to speak up.
We need to speak up against censorship and against the threats to those that fight it.
The Pirates of the UK have spoken up – and they are not alone. The Pirates of the Netherlands were embattled by a similar struggle. This time around, let’s support those who are fighting anti-artist hostility, before the same happens to the UK Pirates. We can do it. I know that because we have done it before. When the Promo Bay launched, UK ISPs promptly blocked it, but public outcry beat down the blockade. And that was a small battle. Remember ACTA? SOPA, PIPA? Even against billion dollar opponents and powerful lawmakers, speaking up can and does change policy.
So speak up.
If you can give, give. If you can’t give, share, tweet, like, talk. Communication is the enemy of censorship. So communicate!