Culture

Whether free culture allowing all citizens to fully participate, or centrally owned/communicated/controlled culture, at the root of much of the debates are very different ideas on cultural policy.

Inside Views: Interview With Gilberto Gil, Brazil’s Culture Minister

Intellectual Property Watch has a great interview with Gilberto Gil, Brazil’s Culture Minister. I look forward to a future when Canada may have a Minister responsible for cultural policy that is as forward looking!

Gilberto Gil, an internationally acclaimed musician and songwriter since the 1960s, is Brazil’s Minister of Culture. Educated in his native state of Bahia, Gil has lived and travelled extensively abroad and speaks four languages fluently. He reflects the Brazilian government’s position of caution about the rapid rise of intellectual property rights policy and protection globally, and has released some of his music under a Creative Commons license.

iPod fans 'shunning iTunes store'

A BBC news article includes:

Perhaps the only salient characteristic shared by all owners of portable music players was that they were more likely to buy more music - especially CDs.

"Digital music purchasing has not yet fundamentally changed the way in which digital music customers buy music," read the report

Commentary by Cory Doctorow: How Copyright Broke

A commentary in Locus Magazine by Cory Doctorow includes:

The answer is simple: treat your readers' property as property. What readers do with their own equipment, as private, noncommercial actors, is not a fit subject for copyright regulation or oversight. The Securities Exchange Commission doesn't impose rules on you when you loan a friend five bucks for lunch. Anti-gambling laws aren't triggered when you bet your kids an ice-cream cone that you'll bicycle home before them. Copyright shouldn't come between an end-user of a creative work and her property.

India At The Forefront Of Knowledge Commons Debate

An IP-Watch.org article by Frederick Noronha includes:

NEW DELHI - What do seeds have in common with software? Or age-old medicines with copyright lawyers? And, what’s the link between ayurvedic medicines and techies talking free software in Bangalore?

I first read this article on the same weekend that I was visiting a family friend. My in-laws were born in India, and many of our family friends were also born in India with their children born and growing up here.

We were talking about educational systems. I was expressing my view that I worry about North America as we are moving to a knowledge economy and yet our educational system and most knowledge-based businesses are stuck in the industrial era. I spoke about the global economic inefficiencies involved in industrial-era "marginal cost" (royalty/etc) based business models. I also spoke about the competitive environment in classrooms in India and how children there are learning advanced topics much earlier than their Western counterparts.

Publishing, not perishing: How media, small and large, competes openly for eyeballs online

An ITBusiness.ca article by Shane Schick has some great insights into the changes he sees with media with the growth of the Internet.

Good bloggers and good wiki contributors help make choices about content that has value, especially for readers who don’t have the time to choose on their own. Perhaps I’m optimistic, but I don’t see a reduction in options to readers through the Internet anytime soon.

I'm just doing my bit as editor, suggesting this article by Shane which anyone who shares my interests will likely also find interesting. Even when bloggers are only offering media monitoring services, I believe it is important value-add. I don't read articles, online or offline, that I'm not pointed to online by a trusted "virtual editor".

CopyCamp: Who are "they" in the various "us vs them" copyright debates?

One of the hardest things at CopyCamp for most creators will be to get past thinking that the "them" they are fighting against are large transnational corporations. In my personal experience most of the debates are not of the form "us vs them", but really "us vs. us", meaning it is disagreements (sometimes quite strong) between fellow authors/creators that are at the heart of most copyright issues.

I was reminded of this when reading the Session List on the WIKI, and the entry submitted by Andre Cornellier under the title of "How to turn all this talk into action".

Download for our troops! (?)

As always, John Degen has some interesting things to say. He has posted some thoughts in his blog on This magazine based on some comments that Cory Doctorow made on his BLOG.

I offered the following as my own comments.

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It is interesting, but there will be a few people talking about the economics of creativity at the upcoming CopyCamp. I just looked at the session list on the WIKI and notice that there is not only my "Making sense of a full spectrum of business models for works of the mind", but there is also Chris Moore and his question, "Can someone explain the economics of Copyright to me?".

Battle brewing in the art world

An article in the Globe and Mail by Val Ross discusses the controversial idea of a droit de suite which is a further diminishing of the property rights of people who have purchased copies or originals of copyrighted works.

But many in the arts community, from auctioneers to public museums, fear that licensing fees for images is only the "opening shot," in the words of John McAvity, executive director of the Canadian Museums Association. "Artists groups really want droit de suite -- that is, to profit from the resale of items in secondary markets. Droit de suite has killed most art markets in Europe. In my opinion, charging fees for images in catalogues is just the tip of the iceberg, and a step in the wrong direction."

Interesting thread off of "Has Hollywood Beaten Silicon Valley?"

An interesting thread has emerged in the ExtremeTech forum attached to an article about DRM. It contains many of the traits of the ongoing debates between different camps in the creator community, including those who believe that DRM is capable of working, those who engage in the Jefferson Debate, and those who believe that collecting royalties is the "one true business model".

There is also the common misconception some creators have that anyone who disagrees with them is anti-creator, when in fact most of the disagreements come from fellow creators trying to protect the rights of creators.

I have advertised this forum and CopyCamp in this thread.

Wired: The Rise and Fall of the Hit

A Wired article by Chris Anderson in their July 2006 issue includes a discussion of the "long tail" and the belief that "The era of the blockbuster is so over. The niche is now king, and the entertainment industry – from music to movies to TV – will never be the same".

This will hopefully spell the end of the dominance of the major labels and major studios, paving the way for a more vibrant and competitive marketplace for entertainment. In my case I've always believed that what is good for the incumbent monopolists is bad for the industry as a whole, whether that industry is entertainment or any other marketplace.

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