Comments on: Towards a bigger, better, faster, stronger free culture movement Blog, news, books Tue, 10 Oct 2017 06:01:00 +0000 hourly 1 By: poptones Thu, 28 Jul 2005 01:30:03 +0000 Fairness in the market? Take it to the streets?

I pulled this from the first link on this page – the summary of the fre culture movement in latin america…

…He recently reported that the Mexican version of the RIAA – SOMEXFON – was planning an aggressive campaign of enforcing copyright royalties which included “the use of songs in establishments like restaurants, gymnasiums (including trainers who put on music), bars, hotels, commercial centers, hospitals, school dances, buses, urban transport, party halls, among others.” Arcos lists an example of prices which includes US $370 to listen to music at a party of more than 200 guests and US $1,650 a year to play music in a cafe. Then, pro-actively, he finds a Mexican senator in disagreement with SOMEXFON’s fees and encourages his readers to write the senator encouraging reform.

This is what I was talking about in another post here about the naivete of the “free culturists.”

As I said I am totally down with free culture. I am even considering moving to Brazil because I like so much of what I see from there.

So don’t think for a minute I am some mole for the RIAA sent here on a mission of subversion when I say I totally support what this “RIAA like” organization is doing.

Culture is a choice made by us all. It’s not something that is forced upon us, it’s something that we embrace in bits and pieces as it suits us. For example, the difference between what is being taught kids in schools now about government and commerce is very different than what we were taught when I was kid way back in the 1960′s. Does that mean these new corporate-centric teachings reflect my “culture?” Hell no!

There is an alternative out there. In this case, Gilberto Gil should be all over this move – he should be organizing marches demanding these publishers more strongly enforce their copyrights.

And, when the restaraunt operators and bar owners are faced with increasingly stiff fees they will seek other sources for this sort of material. And one of the venues they will surely find is in the “Free” markets where young bands desperately want to be heard and where young film makers want to be seen; a market where artists are hungry and courageous and competing for their chance to contribute to culture.

If you want to take “free culture” to the streets you must give it a chance to compete. The old school doesn’t want to give away their goodies – so encourage them in their greed. Explain to Jorje Sixpack how strong copyright also protects his work from being unfairly exploited by those greedy publishers, and offer a compelling alternative. Let the greed of the old school become their undoing.

Fostering a culture of entitlement is not going to help liberate anyone. Fostering “IP entitlement” in these still developing countries is just going to help culturally enslave them to Hollywood and Redmond.

By: Rob Myers Wed, 27 Jul 2005 10:03:44 +0000 Whilst relative income may have increased across the board, it has increased relatively more if you’re on the board. Of a corporation.

Where are the graphs comparing increases in blue collar and executive compensation since the 1950s? They’re much more fun.

As for the idea of a fair market: markets aren’t meant to be fair, they are meant to be efficient. Or, if you look behind the curtain, they are meant to excuse rank unfairness by appealing to impersonal forces.

If markets are fair, how come we get so much price fixing on media, and how come artists are so poorly compensated?

By: Lemi4 Wed, 27 Jul 2005 07:13:41 +0000 You talk as if the market isn’t fair. But it is.

Forgive me, oh Person of Superior Intelect™; excuse my ignorance while I ask, is the free culture movement arguing the fairness of the market? Or about how the ‘fair’ market has taken away the right to reproduce culture so thoroughly that I can’t distribute anything freely without losing all rights to it?

(I’m not even gonna begin debating how fair a market which made Britney Spears a multi-millionaire. Assuming we’re talking about the market for commercial pop music here, of course)

I wish I could respond more intellectualy than this, but you must forgive me for having such a stunted brain. Feel free to flame me.

By: Branko Collin Tue, 26 Jul 2005 12:23:13 +0000 Bill, you seem to think that artists are helpless creatures. They are not. The reason publishers exploit them, is because artists let them. Nobody forces a band to seek out a record deal. But the problem is this: most art sucks. The market for art where artists and publishers deal is a buyer’s market because of this. Every band thinks they are the next U2, and this is where the record companies derive their enormous power from.

The alternative market where artists sell directly to their audience isn’t going to become bigger, because artists aren’t interested! Why sell ten CD’s at performances when you’re the next U2?

You talk as if the market isn’t fair. But it is.

The only alternative is some form in which artists get paid per use, through levies on bandwidth and disk space. Again, artists aren’t interested, or we would have this today, no matter how many bribes our representatives receive from the publishing industry.

By: Tom Mon, 25 Jul 2005 21:01:07 +0000 Bill Korner refers to “the increasing concentration of wealth” as if wealth were a fixed quantity that an oligarchy has somehow stolen from the rest of us. Wealth is constantly created. Most of us get wealthier as we age, at least up until we retire, when we begin to live off our wealth. Some of us do better than others at becoming wealthy, but that’s the result of things like ambition, talent, and entrepreneurship, which are deployed in the making of goods and services valued by others and for which others willingly pay.

Some may say, nevertheless, that those with huge incomes don’t “deserve” what they earn. If you’re of that belief, I suggest reading this and this.

And if you’re concerned about the apparently skewed distribution of income in the U.S., read this and this, for example.

By: Bill Korner Mon, 25 Jul 2005 18:55:56 +0000 Nelson: I see and definately want free culture in your sense.

I guess I was also struck by the manifesto’s dismissal of “intellectual property”. That was the real motivator for my comment… more than taking issue with “free as in not paid for”.

By: Edna Sednitzer Mon, 25 Jul 2005 18:08:36 +0000 Students for the most part, already have a social network they belong to. They do not need to give it a name or organize it in an institutional way, that’s what the University or College they attend is for.

My humble opinion is that, in order to get the Free Culture movement off the ground, it needs to open up to other areas of society. Why limit it to students? What about the contributions of those who do not have formal education but do have the willingness to participate and get organized? I suspect those who do not belong to institutions would find it more appealing, as it would be a chance to network and meet like minded individuals.

By: Nelson Mon, 25 Jul 2005 15:23:49 +0000 Bill, I’m not quite sure you understood our manifesto, and that may be our fault for not making things clearer. Where did you get the idea that we are against paying for art? I suppose the line “We will listen to free music, look at free art, watch free film, and read free books.” could be misinterpreted to mean “we will listen to music that we didn’t pay for.” However, clearly we mean Free, in the sense of free speech, free software, and free culture. Free culture does not mean unpaid culture, or even necessarily cheap culture (although I do sympathize with the cheap art manifesto). Free as in freedom, not as in free beer, folks. How many times do we have to say that? What is important in this context is the *freedom* to build upon the past.

By: Bill Korner Mon, 25 Jul 2005 14:57:38 +0000 I’d like to help advise Free Culture cause I’m sympathetic. But I have to express a few (perhaps ignorant) doubts about the mission (based on a reading of the manifesto):

Decentralization is a good goal, but does not itself justify opposing intellectual property rights per se. Seems to me the problem with IP currently is largely that, because of centralization and attendant bargaining power (etc.), huge media companies (recording, etc.) are able to get the rights to artists IP on the cheap… exploiting those artists. That’s why I personally am attracted to free culture as I understand it.

But I AM willing to pay for art IF the artists are getting enough of the proceeds. I want as many people as possible to be able to break into the middle class (including artists), but preferably without reinfocing (1) the increasing concentration of wealth and (2) a managerially dominated economy.

So, as far as the price of culture goes, I want it to be free if the only alternative is the aforementioned reinforcing. But going in whole hog for free culture might be to some extent defeatist. Individualistic artistic expression as a means of making a bourgeois living should be encouraged as much as possible.

I doubt that most free culture people will find much to disagree with here, but the manifesto leaves me wondering.

By: Melody Mon, 25 Jul 2005 12:33:19 +0000 Nelson,

I think you’ve got the right idea – you need to take it off the internet and into the streets.

1) Write guest op-eds in student papers across the country
2) Come up with a viable definition for non-techies (student journalists, student politicos, student activists, student music-junkies, student-researchers) and explain how the movement pertains directly to them
3) Use humor and real-life examples.

By: Nelson Mon, 25 Jul 2005 12:05:37 +0000 Yes, Branko, that is exactly what I mean. There are a lot of young programmers, artists, musicians etc., but they are not aware of many of the political dimensions of their work. One of the early formulations of our mission was to “make activists more geeky and geeks more active”, when we were more focused on the technology side of things.

By: Branko Collin Mon, 25 Jul 2005 10:07:55 +0000 When you say that the youth are absent, I take it you mean absent in the political arena, right? I haven’t seen any shortage of young people in the areas of sharing and creating.

By: Daywalker Mon, 25 Jul 2005 07:17:20 +0000 I am an Indian and am really interested in your Free Culture Movement. I would like to get more information regarding the above said. Could you get back to me.

By: Elizabeth Mon, 25 Jul 2005 04:53:46 +0000 Oso– we do in fact have several students involved from Latin American countries and they are currently working on starting chapters. While we have not had direct involvement with organizations in the region, we do of course support and work with Creative Commons. I am actually planning on traveling to Brazil soon to work with CC and find out more about the FC movement there.

By: Seth Finkelstein Mon, 25 Jul 2005 03:45:13 +0000 “How can we take free culture mainstream, and make the movement relevant to people who may not be computer geeks or copyright nerds? Together, I trust that we can find some answers to these questions.”

One possible answer – go find an old activist organizer, one who has actually deal with people who aren’t computer geeks or copyright nerds, and listen to him/her. DON’T take any advice from people commenting on this blog, with the exception of advice to go find someone who isn’t commenting on this blog. Because almost by definition, those commenting here are so deep within the geek/nerd culture (self not excluded!) that their advice won’t be helpful. It’s selecting for what the culture *thinks* is good advice, not what actually *is* good advice.

By: oso Mon, 25 Jul 2005 01:37:57 +0000 I recently wrote a summary of the Free Culture movement in Latin America. I was wondering if there is any interaction between the people at and some of the people/organizations I mentioned in the post as well as those who commented on it.