The Internet Blackout in protest at s92 of the Copyright Amendment Act is now over, having climaxed today with a huge blackout of websites and blogs. Thousands of people have also blacked out their twitter, facebook, myspace (etc) profile pictures, in opposition to this silly and unjust new copyright law.
My own contribution to the campaign was a quickly thrown together cartoon which became my first small taste of going viral. Within hours of posting my cartoon to Facebook and this blog and emailing it to the Creative Freedom Foundation, it had already spread far and wide across the web, from Scoop to Frogblog, Kiwiblog, Comics Lifestyle and beyond. It was twittered, linked, copied and emailed.
The result: I was on a high for the rest of the weekend! I mean, being published in a book or magazine is hugely exciting. But going viral — this was something else! Wow!
Thing is, it was a perfect example of why the new copyright laws are going in the wrong direction. The web is not about restricting access to art; instead it's all about putting it out there and watching it spread. Am I worried about someone making posters or t-shirts of my cartoon without paying me royalties? Am I going to sue if you put it in your magazine? Are you kidding? I want this baby to be seen by as many people as possible, in the hope it will add to the debate, make a few folks think, maybe even change a mind or two…
I've spent a lifetime trying to get my work out there in front of people – and now all I have to do is upload it and… well, actually, that's all I have to do! I can't even begin to describe how exciting that is.
I won't say any more here about my opposition to s92 (I've explained it already in my cartoon and in an earlier post). But suffice to say I just had my own little taste of the pleasures of freedom on the electronic frontier…
So anyway – let's keep the pressure on the government over s92 – and in the meantime, enjoy the amazing marvel of modern technology and cultural evolution that is… the internet!
P.S. I'm currently putting the finishing touches to a new site on which I plan to serialise new work online. Needless to say, this weekend has made me even more happy to be making this step. Thanks everyone!