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Eddankatz democratic culture_freecultureforum_slides


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  • 1. Democratic Culture and Freedom of Expression Eddan Katz International Affairs Director Electronic Frontier Foundation Free Culture Forum University of Barcelona October 29, 2010Wednesday, December 29, 2010 1
  • 2. Digital Revolution & Disruptive Technologies • lowers the cost of copying and distributing information • easier for content to cross cultural and geographic boundaries • lowers the cost of innovating with existing information, commenting on it, and building upon it. • lowering the costs of transmission, distribution, appropriation, and alteration of information • = Democratizes Speech & Expression • Talking about the Information Society within the Knowledge Economy.Wednesday, December 29, 2010 2
  • 3. Culture as in Democratic Culture not as in Mass Media Culture • Freedom of Expression - we make assumptions about what that means, but under-appreciate the extent to which free speech rights have been co-opted by corporations • what we care about in terms of freedom is self-determination of what our culture is. • Problem is individual autonomy as freedom now applies to companies as well as people and they’ve been successful at prioritizing their free speech rights. • need to distinguish between the wide dissemination of pre-packaged mass media content and the widespread participation in cultureWednesday, December 29, 2010 3
  • 4. Freedom of Expression in the International Human Rights Regime • Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights • Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers. • Article 27 • (1) Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits. • (2) Everyone has the right to the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which he is the author. • free expression values more-so than free expression rights - interactivity, mass participation, ability to modify & transform cultureWednesday, December 29, 2010 4
  • 5. Progressive theory of Freedom of Expression • Primarily concerned with political purposes. Had to control mass media and regulate the environment to force fair debate and focus on important issues • restricting and preventing media concentration • imposing public interest obligations • requiring broadcast media to grant diverse access • emphasizes political issues over other forms of speech • downplays the importance of popular culture • paradigmatic concern for mass media owned by small number of corporate owners.Wednesday, December 29, 2010 5
  • 6. Social Contradictions of the Information Revolution • On the one hand, democratizes expression for individuals • On the other hand, makes media conglomerates more capable of taking advantage of choke points to control & monetize technological environment. • Economic terms - industrial model of production vs. peer production • Value proposition is that controlling distribution networks is as important or even more than producing cultural works. Result = Vertical integration. • Maximizing protection in law has not been enough to succeed against unauthorized reproduction. • What used to be under the radar is now high risk of mass piracy.Wednesday, December 29, 2010 6
  • 7. Capitalist Theory of Freedom of Expression • Concentrated political influence of media conglomerates • De-regulate Telecommunications to avoid public interest obligations. • Diversity of media & channels of distribution. Challenge to network neutrality. • Government should not decide for communications platforms what to provide. • Expand copyright in duration & scope of protection • Extends reach of control over access & use of digital cultural works. • Technological control of Digital Rights Management makes legal protections which were selectively imposed an automated feature of cultural works.Wednesday, December 29, 2010 7
  • 8. Idea of Democratic Culture - Postulates • Internet ranges every possible subject • Internet taken as a whole is full of innovation. ordinary people & creativity. • much of the source of creativity is the ability to build upon something else • Internet speech is participatory and interactive. merges reading, writing. • Internet speech is a social activity, a matter of interactivity, of give and take. • individual’s ability to participate in the production and distribution of culture • From Consumers to users: fair opportunity to participate in meaning-makingWednesday, December 29, 2010 8
  • 9. Democratic Participation • Freedom of expression is about democratic participation not just democratic governance - that’s too narrow. • Democratic culture is the culture of a democratized society • Culture is a source of the self. relationship b/w individual & collective. • Participation in culture has a constitutive or performative value. • Cultural democracy is memetic democracy, the continuous distribution, circulation, and exchange of bits form mind to mind.Wednesday, December 29, 2010 9
  • 10. Threats to Democratic Culture • Pressure on Information Intermediaries to be liable for actions of users • Nov. 5 consultation on eCommerce Directive. immunity for liability. • Walled gardens. media conglomerates want to steer people in the direction of their own goods. • Response = network neutrality principles & protections. • Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement • expansion & international harmonization of private control over remedies & public enforcement of private rightsWednesday, December 29, 2010 10
  • 11. Consumerism vs. Democratic Culture • Mass Media wants people to be consumers • does not want people to engage in appropriation and innovation • threatened by the ability of individuals to route around controlled advertising and marketing environment • The Public as a Creative CommunityWednesday, December 29, 2010 11
  • 12. Need to Protect System of Free Expression • government policies that promote popular participation in technologies of communication • technological designs that facilitate decentralized control and popular participation rather than hinder them. • traditional recognition of rights against government censorshipWednesday, December 29, 2010 12
  • 13. UN Special Rapporteur Report • Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights • Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression: Frank LaRue. Report on Internet Freedom 2011. • Stuck in progressive theory of freedom of expression • Collective view of participation of culture rather than individual • Example = ability for groups to retain their culture & communicate with the world • Need to engage with UN Special Rapporteur on free culture & democratic cultureWednesday, December 29, 2010 13