These days, when Brazil is in the news, it is usually about World Cup soccer, and for good reason: Ronald, Ronaldinho, Kaka and others are brilliant players, and fun to watch. But this last weekend, the far less glamorous issue of copyright licensing was being discussed in Brazil itself, at a three day conference in Rio . The New York Times had a story about the conference in today's paper. For those who couldn't make it or who want to relive it, here is a link to a highlights video, as well as a link to Creative Commons Worldwide. The conference had the backing of Gilberto Gil, a prominent singer-songwriter who also happens to be Brazil's culture minister, a choice almost as inspired as the Czech Republic's choice of Frank Zappa.
There is a great deal to be positive about in the conference and the Creative Commons movement, which the Times article reviews. Of course, one needs to have rights in order to license them, and the article discusses Mr. Gil's efforts to get his back. It is also important to devise ways so that creators don't give away their rights in the first place. That will require market conditions so that individuals will themselves distribute their works in way that will result in sufficient remuneration without the need to involve a middleman. Creative Commons can't solve that problem, but by having a system in place to license rights, it has taken a big step in creating the overall atmosphere in which individual-based distribution may be feasible.