Seth wrote a solid post responding to my discussion of file-sharing and forming a commoners’ common platform.
I think Seth is right that it’s unnecessary and ineffective to try to
ensure “moderation in everyone in the cause.” I don’t expect DHB
or other similarly-thinking groups to change their stances.
However, to the extent we jointly try to define “what’s at stake in the
fight for digital rights” and synthesize into a common cause, that
platform should be built on shared values. Maybe it’s impossible
to do that, as Seth suggests, but if we’re going to try, it’s important
to outline what those shared values are (or aren’t).
But allow me to cut away from that objective, for, in the
midst of my discussing the shared platform, perhaps the following point
did not come across clearly enough. DHB’s going to have their own
particular stances, other activist groups and copyfighters will have
their own, too. So, irrespective of shared platforms, what stance should they take on widespread
infringing P2P file-sharing? As I argued, I think it should be, with
some nuance, that they do not support it. That shouldn’t be said
to pick a fight with or denounce anyone, but rather because it’s the
right position. I think that the position must be made clear enough to
not get associated with the opposite position. Encouraging and excusing
widespread infringing file-sharing is not only an untenable position,
but also greatly harmful to advancing other positions in the
Again, I don’t expect everyone will take this position. However, I think it would be better if more did.