September 02, 2003

Ian Clarke GrepLaw interview, and leaving America follow-up

Greplaw has an interview with Ian Clarke where he discusses many things, including his comment about leaving America ("it was an off-the-cuff remark ... and it was taken out of context"). Though he is still leaving. I actually did write him about this issue earlier, as I debated last month, and he gave me permission to post his reply. Frankly, at the time, I decided not to go ahead and post, because I just didn't want to get-into-it so deeply. Not after the negatives of being trashed by John Gilmore on the front page of Lessig's blog, from my calling the "Suspected Terrorist" stunt "a millionaire's version of trolling". The point here being that there was no way I could gain by opposing the sensationalism. Very sadly, the hypsters could just slam me, and I wouldn't be able to fight back. But now that Greplaw has it in the story, there's probably (probably ...) no harm in my posting. So see below.

Date: Thu, 14 Aug 2003 20:41:50 -0700
From: Ian Clarke
To: Seth Finkelstein
Subject: Re: America

Yes, and I am afraid not :-)

Unfortunately the publicity around my departure is somewhat misleading, although this is partially my own fault. I never wanted or expected the slashdot comment which started this to be widely publicized, I didn't even expect people to attribute it directly to me (yeah yeah - should have posted as an AC), and I certainly didn't want my departure to attract such attention.

It was irresponsible for some people to describe that paragraph as an "announcement" - when it was actually an off-the-cuff /. post buried deep within a heated debate (the original culprit was

While it is true that I am concerned about the political direction of this country, and extremely concerned about the way this country seems to treat non-Citizens as being less than human, there are other reasons for my departure too, including the cost and limitations involved in maintaining my work visa, and the fact that most of my revenue these days is coming from the EU anyway meaning that there is little business reason for me to remain here.

There is also the concern that Intellectual Property law is enforced much more broadly here than in other places, and with less concern for the "little guy" - which could make me vulnerable should one of my current or future P2P-related projects upset the RIAA or MPAA.

So I am grateful and flattered that you might seek to persuade me not to leave, but my mind is made up - and despite the sensationalist publicity - it isn't all John Ashcroft's fault ;-) I like America, if not its current government, but it just doesn't make sense for me to stay here - perhaps I will return one day.

All the best,


On Thu, Aug 14, 2003 at 11:28:38PM -0400, Seth Finkelstein wrote:
> Ian, are you serious about "leaving America"? Would you
> be open to any counter-thoughts from me on the matter?
> --
> Seth Finkelstein Consulting Programmer

Ian Clarke
Coordinator, The Freenet Project

[Additional note]

On Sat, Aug 16, 2003 at 05:58:03PM -0400, Seth Finkelstein wrote:
> OK, understood. Can I publicize/circulate the below, as an
> antidote to some of the sensationalism?



By Seth Finkelstein | posted in journo , politics | on September 02, 2003 11:59 PM (Infothought permalink) | Followups
Seth Finkelstein's Infothought blog (Wikipedia, Google, censorware, and an inside view of net-politics) - Syndicate site (subscribe, RSS)

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