The several levels of Black March


Español: Los varios niveles del Marzo Negro

Hopefully you already know about the Black March initiative. For those who haven’t, I’ll recap quickly: the semi-clandestine group Anonymous plans to boycott next March the so-called “content industries”, that is, the creators and providers of entertainment, whether music, movies, books, etcetera. However, the diverse factions of the group and its allies have split on two levels of boycott: one, the merely economical boycott, and the other one, a more ideological boycott.

Level 1: economical boycott

  • Not purchasing albums, books, movies, programs, games, concert/match/event tickets, etcetera
  • If possible, unsubscribing at least temporarily from pay-per-use entertainment services (newspapers, cable, streaming, etc.)

This level was the one originally proposed by Anonymous. Unfortunatel, staying at that level would have a next-to-zero impact: people who support download sites (like Megaupload) and torrent services already don’t carry out any of the before-said actions. This is why several voices have proposed the second level.

Level 2: ideological boycott

  • Refrain from downloading, playing or using albums, books, movies, games, programs, etcetera, whether legally or illegally
  • Refraining from visiting free streaming sites (e.g. YouTube, GrooveShark, etcetera)
  • Not attending free events
  • Refrain from entering sites whose content is copyrighted (including newspapers and opinion sites)
  • If possible, storing receivers like TV and radio
  • If possible, replacing all copyrighted programs with freedom-compliant alternatives (including especially the operative system)

This level has a world of difference compared with the former. Especially because, seemingly, it implies to deprive oneself of all sorts of entertainment for a whole month. Nobody expects a majority to carry on such a sacrifice… because it’s unneeded.

Has somebody heard about the copyleft culture? Originally it was applied to programs, and thanks to that several operative systems appeared, like the GNU OS and/or Linux, but then it extended to all sorts of applications and finally to the culture. For example, several of the artists who publish their works under Creative Commons licensing (although, by the way, I warn that not all of them do, for several reasons). There’s good and plenty of music, good movies (although not so many, in this moment), and good books under a freedom-compliant license in this moment.

Well, to the point. I’ve been personally compilating a long list of music, movies and books, all free to be redistributed and readapted without any further restriction besides keeping said freedoms. If I could contact a high command of Anonymous, or at least the administrators of download and torrent sites, for convincing them that, during that month, they changed their links with only free culture, carefully compiled, then we would cause a movement never seen before.

A full month where internauts would discover that not every work has restrictions. A month where free culture will be fortified. A month where, who knows, people will get animated to free their own works.

A month where the impact that Anonymous expected with the Black March will pass from meagerly decreasing the resources to the stubborn entertainment titans, who dream with a world where ideas are in an archipelago of a thousand faraway pillars, to removing the strap off the eyes of thousands, millions of internauts, who will discover a new way to be, have, and make culture, a more democratic, more reasonable system.

And that’s a world of difference.