That’s why I designed the poster above, which you’re welcome* to print out and stick up. Please click the image to download the PDF, which is scalable, so it’ll look nice on your favourite size of paper.
The graphic at the top of the poster (where the crown was in the original) is a symbol of open internet access. It combines the concentric segments conventionally used to denote wifi, the letter ‘o’ for ‘open’, and the peace symbol. I’m working on a couple of other applications of this, which I’ll post.
We should remember that we live not only in a democracy (which sort of got us into this mess, unfortunately) but also in what we call a free country. That means even when we’re threatened with consequences if we do something – like carry on using the internet to share content, sometimes without checking whether we might be technically infringing copyright by doing so – we still have the option of doing it anyway, and justifying our actions if and when we’re hauled up for it. Because it’s we, through our elected representatives, who make the law, and we can also change it.
In summary: no, we shouldn’t learn to stop worrying and love the Digital Economy Bill; but, while opposing the Bill and unelecting all those who sailed her in, we should get on with whatever we were doing regardless, at least for the moment. (People who think similarly can already be found on Twitter under the hashtag #whatdebill.)
I offer the poster as a reminder that we’re all in this together and there are a lot more of us than ignorant MPs or manipulable Secretaries of State or members of the BPI or Bonos. We love creativity – many of us make our living from it – and we don’t want to see it reserved for people who can live off their trust funds while making zilch from their writing or music or whatever lovely things they do. Everyone can agree on that. But restricting access to the internet (most significantly by forcing service providers to police content and identify users) and increasing the penalties against ordinary people doing ordinary things is not the way to build a new creative economy, in this or any other country.
So let them pass whatever daft laws they may; our job is to explain where they’re going wrong if we can, smile and pat them on the shoulder and shake our heads if we can’t, and then go back to work. This isn’t a war. It’s just another bug we need to fix.
*Keep Calm and Log On by Adam Banks is a copyright work licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 UK: England & Wales Licence. Based on a public domain work at en.wikipedia.org. Please request permission (@adambanksdotcom or here) before making commercial use or creating derivative works. I don’t bite.
Colophon: The typeface is Gotham, Tobias Frere-Jones’ brilliant homage to vernacular signage. Though American in origin, and best known for its use in Barack Obama’s election campaign, it conveys the same spirit of workmanlike elegance as the humanist face in the British poster (reminiscent of Gill Sans and Johnston, though I haven’t been able to identify a specific model; information welcome). The poster was designed in Adobe InDesign and Illustrator and the colour is 100% Cyan, 50% Magenta. The page is designed for printing without bleed and the white margin should be preserved.