Copyrights And Wrongs Nov5 2009


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  • overview of the current spectrum of offerings for digital media producers each has critical ideological dimensions each has consequences for... copyright has historically evolved in the interests of commercial intermediaries (publishers, broadcasters, media companies). it is not an inevitable regime for governing the circulation of texts and media. if we shift the unit of analysis to “circulation of ideas” (rather than “ownership” of ideas) then the way we approach the accessibility of our works privileges public communication, knowledge over commerce. this is an ideological choice and a political act.
  • Jean to do more on this
  • walk through the process of creating a license is this a stopover for the workshop use examples before we run through the terrain
  • The copyleft movement emerged out of the free/open source software movement and continues as a complimentary but distinct movement, also embracing social currents such as free culture and creative commons. The idea of copyleft originated with Richard Stallman (1996), who sought a “general method for making a program or other work free, and requiring all modified and extended versions of the program to be free as well” (What is copyleft?). Copyleft utilizes copyright law to eliminate restrictions on distributing copies and modified versions of a work. In other words, it uses private rights to create public goods. The original copyleft license, the GNU General Public License (GPL), was released in 1989 and was designed specifically for software. It was more than a decade before the concept was adapted, through the Creative Commons project, for works traditionally protected by copyright law, such as books, plays, movies, music, articles, photographs, blogs and websites. A copyleft licensing scheme enshrines the four freedoms of the free software movement: the freedom to run, modify, copy and redistribute a work. Where copyright regimes increasingly seek to restrict access and constrain use of original works, copyleft contests the notion that intellectual property can be commoditized, bought and sold like any other good in the capitalist economy. In this way, copyleft issues a fundamental challenge to capitalism, particularly with the rhetoric of the Information Age framing the debate.Copyleft dovetails practically and philosophically with tech activism. Not only do tech activists develop free software, which by its very nature is copyleft, they premise their social movement objectives upon its founding principle - that information should be free. Implicit in this notion is a radical critique of capitalist society that attempts to privatize everything, from fundamentals like the DNA that comprises human beings, to essentials like the water that sustains us, to intangibles like the information that empowers us. Copyleft aids and informs processes of open knowledge production, which generates information outside the bounds of capitalism, enabling it to circulate freely based on public need and interest. This is a self-conscious practice that has historical and theoretical roots in the technical development of the computer, and computer networking, as discussed above. Open knowledge production, or the unihibited circulation of information, is a critical component of the global justice work in which tech activists engage. It is a founding premise of Indymedia, which challenges the journalistic objectivity and gatekeeping of corporate mainstream media through its open publishing software and . Open knowledge production is fostered by the use of social software, such as wikis, used to facilitate many open source and tech activist projects.As this lineage show, tech activism is a social current that arose out of multiple and overlapping social movements. As complementary and intersecting social movements, the free software, global justice and copyleft movements have provided rich and mutually supportive environs for tech activists, who both produced and were produced by technological advances in computing and computer networking. As part of a global movement contesting the transnational rule of capitalism and armed with a belief in the liberating potential of technology, these geeks contribute to progressive social change in two ways. The first is by reconstructing the Internet “from organizational business tool and communication medium [to] a lever of social transformation” (Castells, 2001, p. 143). Indeed, Kahn and Kellner (2004) argue that the use of the Internet by the global justice movement has corresponded to a radical transformation of the Internet into a more participatory and democratic medium, what Feenberg and Bakardjieva (2004) call the community model of the Internet. Secondly, tech activists prefigure progressive change offline by constructing alternative technical systems that challenge the dominant mode of social organization and promote democratic communication. These systems use exclusively free software and have the explicit goal of creating a freer society. They are based on social values of trust, equality, mutual aid, volunteerism, and cooperation, and on organizational values of autonomy, decentralization and collaboration. The subversive use of new technology to undermine the existing social hierarchy suggests the possibility of organizing society in ways that enhance democracy, rather than capitalist efficiency and control. Through my various case studies, I hope to show how the democratic development, use and control of software enables a different Internet and, broadly considered, a different world.
  • David Weir, Anarchy and Culture:,M1 SHOW examples from surrealism and situationism dadaism not surrealism. John Hartfield.
  • Copyrights And Wrongs Nov5 2009

    2. 2. AGENDA Talk & Examples (55 Min) Break (10min) Demos And Tools (55 Min)
    3. 3. WHY TALK ABOUT THIS? Know The Cultural Context Of Copyright/left Know The History Find Where You Are In All Of It
    4. 4. AUTO-TUNE THE NEWS group of friends utilizing legally obtained news footage to produce satirical take on US news everyday practice of youtube - remixing or answering other youtube content This practice has long historical precedent what's new about it is the scale of distribution/participation and the form of disembodiment/alienation in that participation Video credit: The Gregory Brothers [CC-PD],
    5. 5. THE GREY ALBUM this vid represents technologies bringing people together (dialectical w/alienating practice) Jay-Z made his tracks freely available, Beatles did not. Beatles are one of the worst examples of the excesses of locking down music. (outside the law; cultural critique) commentary on race, hiphop, sampling/remixing sampling/remixing as done by the Beatles - like Disney, they draw from the cultural commons, but don't give much back Video credit: DJ Dangermouse [CC-PD], . However, reproduce at your own peril, as portions of this video may violate prior rights of sampled work of other rightsholders.
    6. 6. GIMME THE MERMAID Negativland - band/pirate radio phreaks, started in the 1980s, culture-jammers (a term they invented) : re-use of media as a direct cultural critique (of capitalism, copyright, etc) their critique is embodied in their practice - as with the Little Mermaid, where calls from a Disney lawyer are integrated into the composition along with images from the film. another rich commentary on the problems (and gendering) of copyright and capital Video credit: Negativland [CC-PD?], . However, reproduce at your own peril, as portions of this video may violate prior rights of sampled work of other rightsholders.
    7. 7. OVERVIEW - COPYRIGHT/ COPYLEFT SPECTRUM copyright fair use/dealing creative commons GNU/copyleft cultural anarchism
    8. 8. PREINDUSTRIAL COPYRIGHT originally a perpetual, exclusive right the Statute of Anne limited this right to 14 years from the date of a work's publication. Scottish booksellers argued that the Statute did not extinguish the perpetual rights in common law. In 1774, the House of Lords rejected this argument, affirming copyright’s limited term (14 years) to preserve a public domain (repository of cultural history) (Lessig 2004:93). In 1790 a similar law was adopted in the Unites States. Canada's first Copyright Act came much later, in 1921.
    9. 9. INDUSTRIAL COPYRIGHT The 19th Century saw the evolution of copyright law generally in step with industrialization enshrining of mechanical processes in international copyright law: The Berne Convention of 1886 rights as being "fixed" in some physical medium, rather than in the works themselves.
    10. 10. 20TH CENTURY growth of royalty collection societies during this period marked the separation of the idea of the work from a fixed medium (mechanical vs performance rights) broadcast media demanded new models for remuneration for creators and creative businesses (to pay performance royalties, they required advertising $) new (re)production tech (movie studios, broadcast infrastructure) increasingly designed to preclude mass participation in culture
    11. 11. 20TH CENTURY - 2ND HALF growth in advertising, profit motivations for cultural creation Beginning in 1962, the call for an extension in the term of copyright began (since extended 11 times) Meanwhile - growing demand for consumer-grade recording technologies, such as analog tape, 16 and 8 mm camera (and later video) formats - disruptive of elite modes of creation
    12. 12. AND NOW? successful lobbying by groups representing media corporations has curtailed our right to legally participate in our culture DMCA (1998) - the rights to modify the very technologies we use to listen, watch, or read media are prohibited by law current Copyright ‘reform’ in Canada - hotly politicized but digital media threaten the corporate media regime more than prior tech (open code, componentization of computer equipment)
    13. 13. FAIR USE/DEALING fair use in the US/fair dealing in Canada - differences: no category for parody in Canada covers “research and private study” in Canada (& generally int he U.S. too) - must meet certain criteria under siege by Bill C61/other copyright ‘reform’ initiatives
    14. 14. CULTURAL ANARCHISM historical relationship of anarchist politics and avant gardism (Weir 1997) from Surrealism to Situationism to Sampling to Negativland, the breaking of dominant institutional codes of intellectual property isn’t anything new, and isn’t going away any time soon
    15. 15. GNU/COPYLEFT Image credit: Aurelio A. Heckert [FAL 1.3],
    17. 17. Image credits (both): Marcus McCallion [CC-BY-SA 3.0], . Incorporated into this animation by Jean Hébert.
    18. 18. Image credits (both): Marcus McCallion [CC-BY-SA 3.0], . Incorporated into this animation by Jean Hébert.
    19. 19. ~break~
    20. 20. walkthroughs and interactive demos
    21. 21. Creative Commons: Get a License!
    22. 22. ccmixter (open source media repository and community)
    23. 23. opensourcecinema (remixing media resources online)
    24. 24. jamglue (remixing online audio in real-time)
    25. 25. This slideshow is... Kate Milberry Jean Hébert