Internet Blackout Protest Against Harsh Copyright Law Turns Into Global Viral

This is a follow-up on my post about the Creative Freedom Foundation’s Campaign against Guilt Upon Accusation Laws in New Zealand. To try and fill you in quickly, the Creative Freedom Foundation are protesting against Section 92A of the Copyright Amendment Act that is due to come into law in New Zealand on February 28th. This ammendment to the law would mean that ISPs would be able to cut off internet access and web sites of anyone who is repeatedly accused of copyright infringment, based purely on accusation alone, without evidence or proof of guilt. It will be a three strikes and you’re out system. On the third copyright infringement the ISP will automatically cut off your internet connection, without being proven guilty in a court of law. Completely outrageous indeed. The same kind of legislation has been rejected in other countries such as Germany and the UK.

The campaign started out with the Creative Freedom Foundation asking people to protest by signing an online petition called Not In My Name. They also wanted people to spread the word about the campaign by either joining them on Facebook and MySpace, writing to a member of parliament or displaying an animated banner on your site.

Internet Blackout

Now the campaign has taken on a new phase calling for people to join the INTERNET BLACKOUT N.Z PROTEST from the 16th – 23rd February. They want people to BLACK OUT their Facebook, MySpace and Bebo avatars, your Twitter account and web sites.  It is proving to be a very powerful addition to the campaign as the protest has turned into a global viral, due mostly in part to celebrity actor, comedian and author Stephen Fry.

Day 1 of Campaign

  • Stephen Fry shows support for the campaign by turning his avatar black, changing his Bio to: I’m blacked out: Stand up against “Guilt Upon Accusation” for New Zealand http://creativefreedom.org.nz/blackout.html and talks about the internet blackout campaign on Twitter. This helps push the campaign global.
  • He also tells people to Digg this

Stephen Fry on Twitter

By doing this Stephen Fry gains 15,000+ friends overnight and he comes in as No.3 on Twitterholic with just over 200,000 people following him. Twitterholic tells you who the most popular – Top 100 Twitter users are based on followers.

Twitterholic

Day 2 of Campaign

  • #blackout becomes the #1 search trend on Twitter, beating Heroes, 24 and Dollhouse
  • The Internet Blackout campaign makes it into Wikipedia as a definition for Blackout
  • People start blogging about the Internet Blackout protest including Richard McManus at ReadWriteWeb and Cory Dotorow at Boing Boing.
  • A Guilt Upon Accusation anthem called the Copywrong Song is realeased under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 New Zealand License. A Copywrong Remix Challenge is issued calling for people to make the ultimate remix of the Copywrong song.

Day 3 of Campaign

  • Chelfyn Baxter at Mohawk Media releases his ‘Kangaroo Court’ animation, a protest video for the campaign against Section 92 of the New Zealand Copyright Ammendment Act.

Day 4 of Campaign

  • On Thursday 19th February, a public demonstration took place on the grounds of the New Zealand Parliament in Wellington with the ‘Not in my Name’ petition handed over. People were asked to come along in bright clothes and black placards.
  • Stuff’s Blackout news story ‘Stephen Fry rails against NZ internet law‘ hits the front page of Digg.com

Day 5 of Campaign

  • More web celebrities & supporters join the Blackout campaign including author Neil Gaimen, and Xeni from Boing Boing.

Day 6 of Campaign

Day 7 of Campaign

  • Preparation and instructions go out on how to modify your web site for the final day of Internet Blackout protest.

Day 8 of Campaign

  • New Zealand Political blogs and other web sites Blackout their sites including Public Address, Scoop, Kiwiblog, The Standard, No Right Turn, Frog Blog, Whale Oil, Not PC, No Minister, Just Left, The Hand Mirror, Roar Prawn, Policy Net, Kiwi Politico.
  • Prime Minister John Key announces that Section 92A will be delayed until March 27th
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42Below Vodka – Because We Can Movement

Because We Can

The New Zealand vodka, 42Below have decided to create a web based movement to celebrate people who live by their own rules and those who follow their own dreams. They wanted a platform to unite the free thinkers, the independent spirits, the creators and the artists of the world, so have set up the site Because We Can.

To capture the spirit they asked like minded people to create an endeavour that had the potential to delight and surprise, but most of all create something that meant something to them. To unify the contributors, they got them to use white coverall suits in their creation. The reasoning behind the wearing of the suits is to have viewers focus on their endeavour rather than on the people behind it. To be anonymous, universal and generic. Here’s one of the videos called: The cycle of power.

Monthly video competition
To get you involved and get your creativity flowing, there is a monthly competition where they want you to create and submit your own videos to show the ‘Because We Can’ spirit. Entries for this month have to be in by 12.00GMT time on 30 November, and for your effort you could win $USD4200.

My initial thoughts on this movement is, where is this movement heading, where is it taking you in the long run? What happens after you’ve created a few videos and it’s six months down the line, then what? It’s a big call though, trying to create a movement. My thoughts are, if you’re creating a movement then I would tend to expect big things. We’ll just have to wait and see what eventuates.

Pretty average web design
The other thing I’m going to comment about is the web design. It’s a pretty basic site – design wise. One thing I don’t like is the spaced out U P P E R C A S E type that is used for the intro paragraph on the main page (as seen below) and the headings. The Reason being is simple, it’s because I find it visually hard to read.

because we can intro

You are able to follow them on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Flickr and Delicious.