Insane Clown Feynman

I'm guessing you've seen the music video 'Miracles' by the Insane Clown Posse? If you haven't pop off and watch it now, otherwise this blog post won't make sense. We'll wait.

I'm obsessed with it. It's funny, but yet still quite inspiring and despite reeking of Poe's Law it somehow consolidates and captures the mindset of those who celebrate the 'wonderful mystery of ignorance' — that scientists are evil lying people who somehow drain the beauty of the world by trying to understand it.

So here's my rebuttal, which I made by borrowing the wise words of Richard Feynman:

Incidentally in doing so I've just broken the UK's Digital Economy Act - I'ld be guilty till proven innocent if a copyright holder took offence. And to prove it was fair use I'ld have to be able to pay....

The Digital Economy Bill passed: The internet watched live as a handful of MPs ignored democracy in their attempts to control that which they don't understand.

Yesterday we watched the 2nd reading of the Digital Economy Bill. Today we watched the 3rd reading.

In short: Democracy wasn't present. Those wishing to censor ideas have been given a most powerful weapon. Culture will suffer. Whilst creators will gain nothing.

My girlfriend and I gathered on the couch. Laptops out. Phones out. TV on. Twitter buzzing, Youtube satirising. Forums racing. People don't merely consume anymore. To just consume doesn't even make sense.

During the minuscule 2 hours the 2nd reading took one man mashed up the #DEBill twitter feed with the parliament feed onto his TV to avoid having to multitask so much. He published his work so others could do the same.

Remixing, reusing, editing.

Overnight one excellent person remixed one particularly inane part of the 2nd reading to make a very important point:

Remixing, reusing, editing.

Open letters were written. Crowd sourced lists of the MPs in attendance were pulled together.

20,000 wrote to their MPs. Thousands protested or rang MPs. #DEBill became the top trending topic on Twitter.


There are 646 MPs. About 40 turned up for the second reading. About 16 made it to the end.

The third reading has been just as bad. Almost Empty. 2 hours given to debate amendments to 50 clauses.

The first clause took 1hr. The last 49 were glossed over in the last hour.

Ten minutes before the vote labour MPs put down their drinks, pulled themselves out of the bar and stumbled in to vote for the Bill. Having listened to nothing.


WikiLeaks has been releasing hugely important videos this week. The USA has been trying to shut them down, for leaking footage of an american helicopter killing Reuters Journalists in Iraq.

John Hemming MP (Lib, Birmingham) is a member of the BPI. His money comes from media. If anyone should support the bill it should be him.

But instead he calls it 'Absurd.'

Why? Because he states that the Bill will allow the USA (or others) to claim copyright on that video and shut down the website and forbid sharers of it access to the internet. Despite it's important worth.

John Redwood MP (Con, Wokingham) agreed:

"This is really about Censorship on the Web" - John Redwood MP

The true hero was Tom Watson (Labour MP) who quickly came to be the people's champion. His criticism of the bill didn't stop with the preposterous technical issues (ip address are not fingerprints) or the equally preposterous human rights violations (guilty till proven innocent, child downloads musics - dad loses the internet he needs for his job).

He went on to point out that remixing copyrighted works is part of culture now.

His example?

The remixed Ashes to Ashes poster that Labour and the Conservatives have been having so much fun with over the last few days.

Remixing, reusing, editing.

They all fall foul of the bill they've just passed.

As do you for reading this page.

Today was a huge failure for democracy. A bill was passed, unread and unanalysed by computer illiterate MPs who didn't attend the debates.

Here are what I feel these are the most terrible consequences of the last 48 hours.

  • A bill that makes the ricockulous DMCA look sensible has passed without proper debate or democratic process.

  • The internet generation, who cares deeply about this matter was watching.
    They saw the empty parliament.
    They heard the ignorant comments.
    They saw democracy fail.
    They are not pleased.

  • Scientists, Journalists and Skeptics are working so hard to fight the abuse of Libel Laws to stifle debate and censor criticism. The existence of the Digital Economy Bill will allow so many avenues for censorship that we need to start all over again.

  • Piracy is a serious concern to the mainstream media, and yet remix/reuse of material is part and parcel of our culture today. If the bill works then MPs will make so many innocent parties criminals and it will be a disaster for the UK. But If the bill fails then they will have convinced Pirates that the Government is clueless and toothless.

  • The British Legislative process is fundamentally and comprehensively broken. And today MPs showed that in detail to an extremely internet savvy audience.

On the eve of the first true internet election, this will stand as the defining moment that summarises how out of touch the Government is with respect to the populace. I don't think they appreciate how much attention we can give them.

How difficult we will make this for them.

I will leave you with this. Any MP who watches this will leave understanding the culture that they are ignorant of - but today made illegal.

EDIT 9:59, April 8, 2010: Want to know how your MP voted? Here's a list