The thin line

The thin line

Last week I wrote about how censorship is on the rise, not just in Turkey but all over the world. I got a lot of feedback. You can read some of them at our website. I will quote a few here. 

A reader with the username “ee” wrote: “Hey, Mister! You have lost your mind! They were making millions from the sharing of copywritten movies! They were not shut down because of any news content! 42 million USD!!! You should delete your own report on the grounds of innate ignorance!”
“US Observer” wrote: “Piracy is stealing. Stealing is a crime. There are treaties and agreements in place between countries in criminal cases. What is so hard to understand? I did not realize people were ever considered to be FREE to steal.” 

“Mara Mcglothin” wrote: “Did you also notice HE WILL BE OUT ON BAIL!!!!! A huge crime and out on bail? Why is it that Turks always point fingers at others, but never clean their own house? Very backward of you.” She went on to write more and added the next comment: “I guess it would be okay to arrest someone who was ‘allegedly’ spreading propaganda for the PKK? But not this? Why do you try to continually paint the USA as criminal? If it was a book or other copyright you owned which had been stolen?”

I have received many other emails with the same kind of responses, mainly from the U.S. It is no surprise, since the U.S. economy is based mainly on copyrights. There are far more patent applications in the U.S. than in Turkey. 2011 WPO statistics shows that the U.S. ranked as the second country in the world for the number and the quality of global applications in all major fields. It is the third country in terms of the number of global patent applications after Japan and China, with 242,977 applications. Some companies like IBM and Siemens make more patent applications per year than Turkey does as a country. If you also count the little innovations and R&D developments that are not patented, the difference is even bigger. Therefore it is very understandable that U.S. governments want to crack down on copyright infringements of any kind. 

I believe that they have every right to protect and secure their income generating products, be it missile technology or the latest Hollywood movie, especially at times when movies create more jobs than the missiles. 

I would like to ensure Mara and the other U.S. readers that I am on their side. I believe that I wasn’t able to make myself clear enough to prevent these sorts of misunderstandings. As a journalist I cannot be against people who want to secure their hard-earned money. 

However, it is wrong to destroy a sharing system that could possibly be used to ignite innovation and ease information-sharing around the globe simply because it is used for stealing. We are learning how to use the Internet for good as we build it. Our focus should not be on shutting everything down, but to find ways to operate things freely and justly. 

We are learning as we are living and we are walking on a thin line. We could kill the Internet if we take the wrong decisions.