History and cultural heritage as a source of inspiration is truly amazing in many ways. The fastness of it, the depth and richness. The endless possibilities in analyzing histories, comparing the past and the present or juxtaposing those. You can interpret it endlessly and use it as a foundation for study, fiction, research and art. This makes it very great, but not unique in the complete body of work we call culture. What makes it so special is that, as property in the public domain, no part of history can be owned by a single person or cooperation.
It may seem really straightforward to you that when I take an era in history, say the French revolution and write a narrative history of this era, that I do not automatically own the rights to that historical event. I have copyright of my work, but the foundation on which this work has been build does not default into my care completely. I can’t bar people from entertaining the same narrative or a completely new interpretation of the French revolution just because I wrote something about it in a particular context.
Now where am I going with this?
The slogan the dutch lobby group BREIN and its operational manager, Tim Kuik, go by is the cheesy and awkward “The art of protecting the creating”. This is an interesting slogan not only because only three words here have merit and the other three have not. These three words are… naturally… “The”, “of” and “the” (again.. so arguably only 2 words.. (but i digress)). These words only have merit because, structurally, these tie the sentence together, regardless of content. The other three words are completely inappropriate for BREIN in every imaginable way. Continue reading The farce of protecting the creative→
This week a film distributor, Dutch film works, in the Netherlands announced that they have a list of IP addresses and will go after individual downloaders first with a warning and after multiple infraction with a “fine” or a court case. These strong arm tactics have been deployed elsewhere in Europe and are admittedly meant as a deterrent.
What is notable here is that these actions have been mostly undertaken by middleman in these industries like distributors not the authors or producers nor television and cinema companies. This is telling because it tells us something about the relation between the audience and the different parties involved in providing film entertainment. There is a very clear reason why a distributor would go after individuals whereas TV stations of creators rarely do so. Also, there is a very good reason why distributors like Dutch film works are in the wrong when they assume that they have a right to do so. Continue reading Cultural re-appropriation : Why going after individual downloaders is wrong and misguided→
“I don’t even know why I would want to be on a label in a few years, because I don’t think it’s going to work by labels and by distribution systems in the same way. The absolute transformation of everything that we ever thought about music will take place within 10 years, and nothing is going to be able to stop it. I see absolutely no point in pretending that it’s not going to happen. I’m fully confident that copyright, for instance, will no longer exist in 10 years, and authorship and intellectual property is in for such a bashing.”
2002 ~ David Bowie
For years around the world, especially in western nations, copyright watchdogs for the content and entertainment industry have predictably pushed and pushed to gain more rights and reduce peoples privacy and disown us of our active cultural environment. In the Netherlands we have BREIN as a shill for the industry and they have again increased their target spectrum, now by having gained the right to use intrusive, possibly fishing software, to find and match uploads.
At this time of writing BREIN claims only to go after “BIG” uploads, whatever the metric for that would be, but it is barely a slippery slope argument if one predicts that this will lead to “smaller” uploaders or even .torrent file downloads in the future. These thugs have been pushing the acceptable boundaries for years now and I do not see them having any reason to stop here.