One thing I've learned about the growing free culture cult in Canada - they really, really don't like it when you point out their mistakes.
A couple years back I found myself booted out of Fair Copyright for Canada (York Region Chapter) on Facebook for "attacking FCFC principles and [Michael] Geist." FCFC was one of the many faux-populist fronts created by Canada's free culture sales force, and is pretty much now defunct. The attack? Pointing out that Geist got his facts wrong. Several commenters insisted at the time that being banned from a group or site is not strictly censorship, and I suppose I agree, except I wasn't just stopped from making new comments. All of my previous comments were removed, my words erased. If anybody wanted to go back and prove my vicious attacks against the great Geist, they couldn't - how convenient, since they didn't exist.
Some time later, anti-corporate, corporate blogger Cory Doctorow decided that thousands of Canadian writers were lying to Canada through the collective voice of their copyright licensing agency. He took his usual subtle club to Access Copyright, posting this on Boing Boing:
Canadian copyright collecting society uses lies to pit creators against schools.
Check out the posting. There used to be a whole bunch of comments after it, many from me pointing out all the things Doctorow got wrong in his sleaze-assault on Access Copyright. The history of those comments is really interesting. First, they were disemvowelled - that's Boing Boing's stated policy of making dissenting views harder to read by removing all the vowels from them. Sort of a fun kind of censorship-lite. Now, of course, the disemvowelled words, and all the comments from other dissenters just can't be found anymore. The free in free culture most assuredly does NOT stand for free expression.
Sometimes, free culture's censoring ways are a bit more advanced - twitter swarming, and what I've labeled baffleslam are two favorite techniques. When someone on the Internet makes what can be interpreted as a disparaging or too-sarcastic remark against the great philosophy of free (<---- sort of like that), the call goes out, everyone grabs their talking point manuals, and said disparager's voice is drowned in a sea of red herring accusations and historical lessons about buggy whip manufacturers.
But, when all else fails, simple word removal is always the most effective way for free culture to keep anyone from questioning the facts of free culture. This evening, I returned to a new Facebook page I'd recently discovered, created by the same folks who mistakenly invited me into their open letter groupthink session the other day. On that very page, I found myself in the absurd position of defending my last blog posting against nasty inferences about possible political opinions I might hold. You see, when you think that artists deserve to collect copyright royalties whenever their work is used by others, free culture can't resist placing you on the political spectrum (without consulting you). Most often, I find myself pinned somewhere between heartless big-pharma and Augusto Pinochet.
I invite you all to try and see just how awfully I behaved on what is being described as an open forum to discuss collective licensing. The open forum's very neutral and discussion-inviting name is
STOP the Canadian university copyright disaster NOW
So rational and encouraging of respectful debate, is it not? Anyway, don't search too long for the comment that got me banned from that group as well. It's not there. Nothing I actually said is there, just the usual free culture misinformation and now slightly eerie references to me. What did I do wrong at StCucdN? I posted a link to my last blog posting, and then asked someone to stop portraying me as a reactionary. I suffered through a series of pedantic lectures about argumentation, and then I proved that their math was very, very wrong.
The saddest part about all of this? The folks who created this open forum for
You can say anything you want to free culture, as long as it's "I love Free Culture."
I need a drink.