This is not madness. This is … THE INTERNET!

sparta

The Portuguese government sometimes comes up with some harebrained ideas. The latest is a project to tax devices where I might wish to make a copy of copyrighted work that I have already paid for.

In simple terms I am paying for it twice, or three times. Once directly to the content producer and then once more for every hard disk, computer or smart phone I buy. They promise that the extra tax is going back to the author, somehow.  There is a great FAQ on this subject written by Jonasnuts. You should check it out.

Keeping up the good work, she wrote a post called “Instruction manual to stop the private copy law #pl118

This is where the madness starts

As if it had not already started, I know …

The idea is to reach out to deputies in government to persuade them to fight the implementation of this tax. So far so good. How can we reach out?

The Parliament’s website has a form you can fill out. Yes, a form. No, you can’t even send yourself a copy of the email you are sending. It’s not like when you go to www.parliament.uk and get to see the email, website and even phone number of public officials. Hell, some of them even share their twitter handle.

After a few outbursts of indignation and tweets to go along, it was time to ask “Do you think they have heard about this thing called the Internet ?”.

I bet this is going to get me into trouble

Scratch that. I HOPE this gets me into trouble.

I set up a simple google spreadsheet that in less than a few hours collected most of the twitter handles of deputies. So far, what we found out is that in 231 people, only 27 are on twitter. I am not even going to mention Facebook. By design, Facebook does not allow for the transparency I advocate for the public sector.

If you want to take a look or contribute with information, please feel free. The link to the spreadsheet is below.

https://docs.google.com/a/brunoamaral.com/spreadsheets/d/1-JarcrMyqf77ZdW1ldEUfz_kziFCKkAemjsdK6Nhey0/edit#gid=0

Does the madness stop here?

Hell no. There are 27 people you and me can reach out to on twitter to let them know what we think about being taxed twice for buying copyrighted material. Lets do that. We can even invite them for a cup of coffee and a chat. They are human beings like you and me, this sort of direct dialogue should not be started by filling out a black-hole form in the parliament’s website.

Remember Bartleby

bartleby and coffee

A desk clerk spends his days in careful diligence of his work until one day he states to his boss “I’d rather not”.

This is the summary of the book in tweet format, and the culprit for this post is Pedro Rebelo.

The interesting bit about this short story of Bartleby is that his boss gets tangled into procedures and the old usual way of doing things. But as we all know too well, new problems require new solutions.

The same thing happens with companies and brands whose procedures are so set in stone that they fail to cope with digital challenges.

Think about it in this way, back in Bartleby’s time a corporate procedure was meant as a form of control. Today corporations are surrounded by such a large number of stakeholders and external factors that control-procedures fail, they do not scale.

Managers try to fix the procedure and restore “the old ways”, at most they are able to build an illusion of control.

The opposite strategy is to build flexible work methods that account for up to date information and allow managers to adjust their course of action in near real time. It is of course easier said than done.

This strategy will require that everyone in the company shares information and both their successes and failures. At the same time, work methods will need to be more transparent. But no one likes to have others looking over our shoulders or admit or short comings, or at least, they would rather not.

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