The Media Bill of Rights
Online video will account for 90% of all consumer internet traffic by 2013. Ensuring that such a majority of our online interaction remains free and open is a top concern. If digital video is tied down to a small number of central websites using proprietary players, it becomes an easier target for censorship or removal. In many places, shutting off access to a particular website runs counter to the interest of all interested parties and represents an attack on free speech. However, in areas where access to certain parts of the web are denied for political reasons, this practice of blocking content is common. The example often cited is internet censorship in the People’s Republic of China. Certainly, such measures do not come without criticism and resistance. In an effort to work around the firewall, and promote fairness and privacy through anonymous browsing, free software such as TOR has been made available. A more distributed, free, and widespread network of content on the web is one method of combating censorship and persecution. The right of individual users to share culture with respect for privacy preserves civil liberties in the digital setting.
All individual rights are based on Device freedom and Net Neutrality.
1. Users have the right to “time-shift” content that they have legally acquired. This gives you the right to record video or audio for later viewing or listening. For example, you can use a VCR to record a TV show and play it back later.
2. Users have the right to “space-shift” content that they have legally acquired. This gives you the right to use your content in different places (as long as each use is personal and non-commercial). For example, you can copy a CD to a portable music player so that you can listen to the songs while you’re jogging.
3. Users have the right to make backup copies of their content. This gives you the right to make archival copies to be used in the event that your original copies are destroyed.
4. Users have the right to use legally acquired content on the platform (hardware and software) of their choice. This gives you the right to listen to music on your Rio, to watch TV on your iMac, and to view DVDs on your Linux computer.
5. Users have the right to translate legally acquired content into comparable formats. This gives you the right to modify content in order to make it more usable. For example, a blind person can modify an electronic book so that the content can be read out loud.
6. Users have the right to use technology in order to achieve the rights previously mentioned. This last right guarantees your ability to exercise your other rights. Certain recent copyright laws have paradoxical loopholes that claim to grant certain rights but then criminalize all technologies that could allow you to exercise those rights.
In contrast, this Bill of Rights states that no technological barriers can deprive you of your other fair use rights. Legally acquired content can also mean content in the public domain.