06/20/2008 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Copyright Taxes Are Killing Democracy

I have a question for Bill Moyers, but before I get to that...

America was founded by patriots who were sick and tired of, "taxation without representation." Why today do we find no patriots defending America from draconian and unconstitutional copyright taxes. Our collective imagination, our creative endeavors, our soul as a nation -- and our ability to compete in the new digital century -- is locked up on private corporate balance sheets and we find ourselves economically disadvantaged and fighting a corporate occupation as did our forefathers who fought against the British Monarchy and the British East India Company.

One of the most egregious acts of pro-copyright, anti-Americanism came during the Clinton presidency.

Law scholar Chris Sprigman, in an article published in 2002 writes:

"Prompted perhaps by the Disney group's lavish donations of campaign cash -- more than $6.3 million in 1997-98, according to the nonprofit Center for Responsive Politics -- Congress passed and President Clinton signed the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act. The CTEA extended the term of protection by 20 years for works copyrighted after January 1, 1923. Works copyrighted by individuals since 1978 got "life plus 70" rather than the existing "life plus 50". Works made by or for corporations (referred to as "works made for hire") got 95 years. Works copyrighted before 1978 were shielded for 95 years, regardless of how they were produced."

America is the most rapaciously copyright-taxed country in the world and these high copyright taxes (aka term extensions) hurt us as a people -- with a shocking example being the NASDAQ crash of 2,000. America at that time was poised to become a 21st century digital powerhouse with majority ownership of a global fiber optic network that was helping spur 20 - 30 % annual growth in internet traffic. It never happened due to Bush's appeasement of the copyright cartel (and OPEC).

Keep in mind that when America was founded, copyright monopoly tax lasted only 14 years. Any more monopoly-time allocated to copyright holders was viewed as incompatible with the public good and anti-democratic.

The American egalitarian broadband revolution was ready to explode in the year 2,000, something our Founding Fathers would have loved. But it never happened because the heavily subsidized copyright industry lobbied against it. As a result, the NASDAQ plummeted, taking 5 trillion in investor wealth with it. To 'fix' the problem the Fed inflated the real estate bubble. Now that bubble has burst and the only way America can pay its bills, needing to borrow from abroad more than 3 billion dollars a day to do so, is to invade, slaughter, and colonize our creditors.

I agree with Bill Moyers, who said in his recent speech at the National Conference for Media Reform, that freedom of the press is the linchpin issue for all progressives and activists. So why did he never mention the linchpin-of-linchpin issue of copyright reform?

Moyers made the point of connecting lack of media freedom with lack of democratic freedom. "The fourth estate has become a fifth column," he said, implying that embedded Pentagon-hired spin-assassins on the battlefield and on TV are holding democracy hostage.


Moyers said that the current crisis in journalism in America is a once in a 200 years crisis.


He also named a monarch; naturalized U.S. citizen Rupert Murdoch, as a fountainhead of dangerous, un-American, imperial media aspirations.


Let's add all this up...

Democracy under threat by monarchs, plus draconian, monopoly-subsidizing taxes, plus a common belief that resistance, not compliance, is our only hope.

Can anyone explain to me why Bill Moyers is not advocating a digital insurrection against the corporate copyright occupation destroying our press freedom and Democracy?

If Bill Moyers truly believed a captive press held hostage by 'a fifth column' threatens America's freedom why not call for a global boycott of copyright -- with a universal call to download immorally copyrighted material outside of the channels controlled by the abusive copyright cartel -- as a way to assert American independence.

If Moyers is right, than the choice for true patriotic Americans is clear. I've listened to Moyers speech a few times and it seems to me as though he is carrying the message of a 21st century, digital Paul Revere.


Further evidence of the copyright cartel's attempt to shut down freedom and democracy in Ameirca and on the Internet;

Charging by the Byte to Curb Internet Traffic


I forwarded this blog to Lawrence Lessig, this is his reply.

Lawrence Lessig to Max Keiser:

"this is brilliant. it is precisely the question I had when watching his speech. when is public broadcasting going to become PUBLIC."

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