Conclusion: A Consumer'ês Manifesto, the Declaration of Innovation Independence
Conclusion: a consumer’s manifesto, the declaration of innovation independence Consumers hold the key to the balance of power for tomorrow’s Internet. They are powerful because they drive markets and because many vote. If they remain satisﬁed with the Internet’s generative characteristics – continuing to buy the hardware and software that make it possible and to subscribe to ISPs that oﬀer unﬁltered access to the Internet at large – then the regulatory and industry forces that might otherwise wish to constrain the Internet will remain in check, maintaining a generative equilibrium. If, in contrast, consumers change their view – not simply tolerating a locked-down Internet but embracing it outright – then the balance among competing interests that has favored generative innovation will tilt away from it. (Jonathan Zittrain, ‘The Generative Internet’1) This book has depicted a consumer revolution against digital copyright laws, particularly as they are represented by the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act 1998 (US) (the Sonny Bono Act) and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act 1998 (US) (DMCA). As David Bollier notes, this movement has a broad membership: Despite the troubling trajectory that intellectual property law has taken over the past generation, a new movement to assert the public interest is starting to take shape and gain momentum. Key constituencies such as consumers, artists, librarians, computer professionals, academics, and scientists have become active players in the debates, and partners in advocacy. The general public, too, has become far more attentive. Ever since the Napster controversy dramatized the everyday implications of...
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