The Internet is breaking down the control mechanisms of the capitalist economy.

Through free culture, there is now plenty of free music on the internet that individuals are releasing under the creative commons license. About half of the music I listen to now is free. With the emergence of a vast quantity of quality free music, why would anyone want to buy music that wasn’t free? After a period of time, this innovation of free culture will have dramatic impacts on the music industry.

Likewise there are now free versions of the most widely used software packages. Microsoft Office has been the dominant player in the home software market for many years. However in recent years Open Office has become a viable alternative, and now offers most of the functionality that you get with MS Office. And there are other web-based alternatives Google docs & Zoho being two of the most obvious.

With the rapid growth in social networking platforms various companies have been grappling to take marketshare. Facebook has been one of the most obvious in recent years, but Microsoft has also joined the throng with the release of their Windows Live platform which aims to integrate Hotmail with MSN Messenger, and MS Office with Microsoft’s attempt to take out Facebook/Bebo/My Space – Windows Spaces, and the internet safety market with OneCare. Although most of these social networking platforms are free in monetary terms, if you dig a little deeper it becomes clear that in exchange for the service you generally waive a number of your privacy rights. Facebook’s Beacon fiasco was a good demonstration of this.

But there is an alternative even to these companies with sometimes dubious ethics. Blogging and the use of a news-reader gives you access to most of the communication options that you could access through a social networking site, but gives you the option of defining exactly what rights you want to keep and what rights you want to give.

As well as this you have the option of many other free communication options (I personally use del.icio.us Google Groups, Skype, Google docs, Wikieducator, and Flickr regularly). I prefer for most of my material to be released under a Creative Commons Attribution license (CC-BY) which means that anyone may use my work as long as I’m recognized for it.

Here’s the kicker…

Understandably, faced with this tremendous future loss of income, the media corporations have started to fight back.

This is a major assault on essential human rights by global corporate interests. Anyone in the US should do anything that you can to oppose this, and anyone else should watch out for it starting to happen in your country.

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