The EC versus the FCForum: digital rights needn’t mean digital slavery
Only Europe, in this case the EC, would start a major document with an oxymoron: Effective means of enforcing intellectual property rights are essential for promoting innovation and creativity.
The document is the REPORT FROM THE COMMISSION TO THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT, THE COUNCIL, THE EUROPEAN ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COMMITTEE AND THE COMMITTEE OF THE REGIONS: Application of Directive 2004/48/EC of the European Parliament and the Council of 29 April 2004 on the enforcement of intellectual property rights, published in December 2010. And that oxymoron repeats, in one guise or another, throughout the report.
It is tragic that our political masters are so out of touch with reality and in the pockets of business. Consider the following graph, lifted unashamedly but with gratitude from the “How-To for Sustainable Creativity” produced by FCForum (the forum for the access to culture and knowledge).
And now ask yourself just whose rights are our beloved government seeking to protect?
FCForum has just published its own document: FCForum Declaration: Sustainable Models for Creativity. It declares:
- The restructuration of the cultural industries is not only necessary but inevitable.
- More culture is created and circulates in the digital era than ever before: in this context sharing has proved to be essential to the disseminate culture.
- The profits that the cultural lobbies are fighting to defend are based on the artificial production of scarcity.
- The cultural sphere needs to recognise the skills and contributions of all of its agents, not only producers.
- The digital context benefits creators as well as entrepreneurs and civil society. Appropriate models make it easier for users, consumers and producers to gain access to each other. The role of middle-men has to be revised in light of an approach based on collaboration.
- The Internet is an essential tool for establishing contact between creators and their audiences. This is one of the reasons why everybody must be guaranteed non-discriminatory access to it.
- Governments that don’ t promote the new forms of creation and diffusion of culture are generating lost profits for society and destroying its cultural diversity.
- As Free/Libre Software has shown, peer production and distribution are not incompatible with market strategies and commercial distribution.
Take a moment to read both the EC’s report and FCForum’s report: and then ask yourself which attitude you prefer. It doesn’t really matter, of course, because the European Commission is totally undemocratic and can and will do whatever it chooses regardless of what you or me or our national governments or the elected members of the European Parliament actually want it to do.