(Cross-posted from The Free Speech Zone)
AP – A huge demonstration started today with actions being held around the world in a month long campaign to bring knowledge to the world. Internationally thousands of students and people filled the libraries of their towns and schools in order to check out the maximum allowed amount of books and media to bring them home, scan them, and upload them for free download on the internet.
Many armed with only portable and pocket-sized HD video cameras taped their own personal tours of museums all over the world in order to allow millions to view them on YouTube and other video sites. The demonstration was peaceful with no arrests reported. Demonstrators explained that what they were doing was “liberating the humanities” while police and workers at the institutions targeted were powerless to stop them.
“We have no reason to arrest anyone since what they’re doing isn’t illegal at all and even if what they do with the materials afterward might be illegal, we have no proof that they’re going to commit any crimes” said one officer outside one of the libraries.
Many of the museums targeted had online virtual tours posted on their websites, but that didn’t stop demonstrators from making their own “custom” tours of the premises. There were some requests by security to not use flash photography with some of the exhibits which were rules that the demonstrators had no problems abiding by. “We’re not here to start a fight, we’re here to show there’s no reason for conflict” said one demonstrator we talked to. While the publishing companies are nearly powerless to try and prosecute so many who will be taking part in the action, the museum authorities saw no reason why this should be seen as a “demonstration” at all. “To call something a ‘demonstration’ is to suggest that there is something that is being opposed although no one here is opposed to what these people are doing and in fact many of our staff have helped with the effort” said a curator at the premises. In fact, many were welcomed seeing how generous they were with donations as they walked into the museums.
Some public officials have spoken out against the group taking books and media out of the library in order to make them available to the entire world. They believe the purpose of these groups sponsoring the event is to make publishing industries cave to the demands of those who believe all literature should be made freely available despite income. As strong as the words were from many officials, they were powerless to stop the demonstrators from pulling off their actions. There have been suggestions that those who orchestrated this month-long campaign could be charged with “enabling and promoting copyright infringement” by making calls for these types of actions. However, no formal charges hav