Not going there

Apr 28, 2010 | Opinions

So, I realise I have some liberal opinions on the nature of the copyright debate. I realise my opinions regarding stuff like the three strikes law tend to be on the side of consumers, not copyright-holders, and that will probably not change until the copyright-holders start dealing with organisations who understand the nature of the Internet (i.e. not the IRMA, for one).

I’m perfectly willing to look at the other side and see what they have to say, in the interests of fair debate and whatnot. But there are some places I am not going, some discussions I am not getting involved in. This is one of them.

Johan Schlüter is a lawyer with the IFPI, a Danish anti-piracy group. He declared that “child pornography is great… It is great because politicians understand child pornography. By playing that card, we can get them to act, and start blocking sites. And once they have done that, we can get them to start blocking file sharing sites”. This is according to Christian Engström, the MEP for the Pirate Party.

I’ve been trying to work out in what context Mr. Schlüter thought his remarks were justified and sane.

Let’s take child pornography, a thing so vile that there are no words to really describe the hurt it causes to the innocent, the eradication of which is one of the foremost concerns of every developed nation. It evokes a strong emotional response, because this thing is so vile that we cannot bear to imagine it happening to any child.

Mr. Schlüter, however, doesn’t seem to think like that. Child porn is great because we can use it to get the politicians to do what we want. All the pain and suffering that’s a part of it, all the lives damaged by it… no. It’s ok. We can use it as leverage.

I’m not going there. I’m not getting into that discussion. If someone can’t grasp the concept of ‘child porn = bad no matter what the situation is’, then I’m honestly not sure I’d be comfortable being in the same room as them, never mind have a debate with them. His comments reveal a complete disregard for the very real pain that children are exposed to every day. I can’t even begin to comprehend what would go through the mind of a survivor of abuse related to child pornography if they read them. ‘Trigger warning’ just isn’t going to cut it.

This is who the copyright-holders choose to deal with? This is who they allow to speak for them? I am truly gobsmacked. There is more in the article from Engström, including talk about filtering, but it pales in significance really. Copyright infringement is irrelevant in comparison to real human suffering, and I hope someone can speak frankly to Johan Schlüter and explain this concept to him.