Monday, June 26, 2006

Creative Commons Brazil

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.


Anonymous said...

Certainly, creators should not give away their rights, i.e. their rights to privacy, truth, and freedom.

Bear in mind an artist's emancipation comes from asserting these rights, and ceasing their sale to publishers as they have done in the past.

Monopolies granted by interference from the state however, conflict with these rights, particularly freedom, and in enforcememt of these monopolies, invasion of privacy.

If anything, the granting of these monopolies should be abolished. Publication should be restored to its rightful meaning as delivery of art to the public - unrestrained, unencumbered, unprivileged.

CreativeCommons shouldn't be seen as an end in itself and thus an endorsement of copyright, but as a facility for its erosion and demonstration of its inconsequentiality - ultimately, an argument for its abolition.

Licensing away monopoly is not the future, but the anachronism in the living room.

To call a monopoly a right is to perpetuate the crime of the last century, the corruption of culture into conglomerate commodity.

Art is an artist's ambassador, to travel free of let or hindrance.
It finds the artist an audience, and in turn, the audience funds the artist.

Beware anyone who says art must be encumbered for the benefit of artist and audience alike.

This is a work of free culture.
It respects all artists equally: those whose work I build upon, myself, and those who build upon my work.
I hope some day you’ll join us.

William Patry said...


I think from at least Renaissancwe times some artists have taken a different view, and isn't it more consistent with liberty to let artists choose themselves whether they want to assert rights, understanding that there has to be an initial state action acording them in the first place?

Anonymous said...

Sure, let the artist decide whether or not to assert their rights, but they shouldn't be able to sell them - they should be inalienable. If they do sell them, caveat emptor.

Similarly, these rights should certainly not be wrest from the artist by the state.

The fact that the state can institute slavery if it so wishes does not make 'enslavement of one's fellow man' an ethically wholesome state granted privilege - whether or not each invidual can choose whether or not to exercise it.

The privilege is fundamentally wrong - certainly not a right.

Copyright has come from the same stable, the same arrogant mindset, as slavery, the one that gives the state the notion that by restricting the freedom of the many and granting it for sale by the few, that this economic interference somehow creates a greater benefit for society.

We have a similar struggle underway today. The publishers are screaming blue murder even at hints that the illicit liberties taken with its intellectual property should be silently tolerated.

And at the other end of the spectrum we have a small grassroots movement to persuade artists of the merits of their art's manumission.

Culture has been free since the dawn of human language. It's only the last couple of centuries and the common communication by the courts that we can coerce the crown's contract that is copyright against the ever culpable commoner.

Fortunately, the same force of communication has now escalated beyond even the reach of corporations, let alone kings.

Commoners can now copy.

Canute cannot countermand.

Copyright is dead, long live the right to copy.

William Patry said...