watch@_@bitch PL

While patiently waiting for the TRADE answer I asked Polish authorities few questions about TTIP. I started from Ministry of Economy (’cause I knew that this is the ministry that conducts TTIP’s related works ). I ask about Polish  position regarding to intellectual property rights (IPR). Last week I received very polite answer with that position:

Currently Polish positions on IPR is as follows: What is important for Poland it is the sensitivity to issues relating to the protection of intellectual property, in particular in the digital environment in the perspective of the rights and duties of citizens. Poland approvingly refers to exemption of criminal sanctions from agreement, which has been provided in the mandate. Agreement should not also contain provisions on intellectual property law not directly related to its trade  aspects, nor aimed at the liberalization of trade

/for Polish see attachment below/

I was also informed that this position was prepared not by ME itself but by other gov institutions, i.a. Ministry of Culture and National Heritage (MKiDN).

It seemed to me quite vague so I’d like to ask an author what does it mean. So I asked MKiDN who from ministry has been working on that statement. I assumed that some other people/organizations could had access to those works so also asked about their names.

How surprised I was (OK, I would if not read CEE authors like Kafka or Gogol before) when MKiDN that allegedly prepared the above position, informed me today that they have never seen any proposals of  TTIP.  Moreover I did not get a response to my question  who works on these issues, because the Ministry of Culture sent me back to the Ministry of Economy, as the only ministry that deals with TTIP. I did not get a reply to my  question whether there will be any broader consultations. But the statutory deadline for responses has not yet expired, so I remain in hope.

Oh and only plus is that now I know that the Ministry of Culture’s asking form is running.

Stay tuned!

Ministry of Economy’s answer

Ministry of Culture’s answer

 

/// quick update///

I just read info that „as part of its ongoing efforts to make its negotiations with the US the most open and transparent trade talks to date, the European Commission today launches a public consultation on investor protection and investor-to-state dispute settlement (ISDS) in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).”

Would it be too much if EC asks once about citizens protection instead of investors/rightsholders/intermediaries?

Literature and rebellion

Frederick_Douglass„Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet depreciate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground” – this is just one sentence by Frederick Douglass, amazing American activist and writer, leader of the abolitionist movement, whose spirit accompanies me recently.

His story was recalled during a debate on copyright and the Internet  which I participated in December. His story was also mentioned by Eben Moglen in his second lecture about Snowden and the Future:

„Frederick Douglass wrote in that first narrative of his life how his second owner, Mrs. Sophia Auld, when he was twelve, began to teach him letters, and to read a few simple words. But she was vehemently discouraged by her husband Hugh, who told her, when he came to understand what she was doing, that “You cannot teach slaves to read for it, will make them uneasy in their slavery, unmanageable and sad.” Frederick Douglass said “I now understood what had been to me a most perplexing difficulty—to wit, the white man’s power to enslave the black man.” Thus he began to learn more to read, and when Ms. Auld, having accepted her husband’s direction in the matter, found him reading a newspaper, she tore it away from him lest he become unfit for slavery. Thus he was required, as he tells us, to learn to read in secret. When hired out to Mr. William Freeland, he taught other slaves to read, until such time as the surrounding slave owners became aware of what he was doing, at which point the mob invaded his Sunday schooling place and beat the people and destroyed the school. Reading was the pathway, Fredrick Douglass wrote, from slavery to freedom”.

This anecdote shows why literacy is so important for sub-dominated and why it is dangerous for those who are determinate to sustain the power. People who can read are able to understand the unjust of their own position. And they start to dream.

„Once you’ve visited other worlds, like those who ate fairy fruit, you  can never be entirely content with the world that you grew up in.  Discontent is a good thing: discontented people can modify and improve  their worlds, leave them better, leave them different.” – this is how Neil Gaiman explain it in his interview for Guardian.

„There were noises made briefly, a few years ago, about the idea that we  were living in a post-literate world, in which the ability to make sense  out of written words was somehow redundant, but those days are gone:  words are more important than they ever were: we navigate the world with  words, and as the world slips onto the web, we need to follow, to  communicate and to comprehend what we are reading. People who cannot  understand each other cannot exchange ideas, cannot communicate” – argued Gaiman.

The exchange and communication is necessary to gather enough data and to interpret them (interpretation is a creative process and as so it requires collective input), to build a knowledge.
We can observe that as literacy of the world’s population increase, the significance of the words – their potential to change the reality –  becomes larger and larger. The words create a narration that can explain more and more complex world in a way that cuts straight to the hearts. Without words, and the information they carry, we will be just slaves, or puppets if lucky, in the hands of 147 companies that control 40% of corporations.
But before a child becomes a scientist, an activist, a businessperson or a parent, should fall in love with literature, even those of the average sorts. It is important because it also develop so called emotional intelligence. Reading helps to learn how to identify, to express and finally to communicate one’s emotions, needs and reflections, in a manner understandable to other people. It was all possible before the invention of writing, but writing allows faster and more effectively communication with people outside the circle of friends/family.

And „knowledge plus empathy” sounds like a potential recipe for  injustice.

So Hugh was right, reading makes people uneasy with their slavery and unmanageable, but I think he was also wrong – it doesn’t make us „sad” but rather angry. And when we will meet a critical mass, anger turns into rebellion.

Photo: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frederick_Douglass

re:publica#14 „Future scenarios of culture’s circulation” World Premiere!

My submission for re:bublica14 has been accepted so I will have a chance to present super interesting project I was working on last year.

I want to present results of the study „Future scenarios of culture’s circulation in  Europe in 2043” conducted by Modern Poland Foundation  – it will be our premiere presentation!

rp14_banner_300x250_1rp14

It  will be four scenarios of  possible changes in creating, using and sharing of cultural works in 30 years perspective.  In collaboration with experts (social science researchers, economists, entrepreneurs, lawyers, programmers)  we choose the European cultural policy and the role of intermediary business as a main factors that will shape the future of culture’s circuits (we were focused especially on digital ones). Then we built upon it  four possible scenarios and did  assessment of their impact on the society,  culture, education,  creative industries and the copyright  system.  Now we are working on final report and cool website to present our research output.

We did this research because we are convinced  that there is a serious public interest in  studies that explore  ethical, economical and sociological perspectives  over copyright  issues. Especially that impact of copyright law on our possibilities of realization the basic needs and universal freedoms of citizens seems to increase. We also want to influence public debate about copyright and so called piracy moving it from highly emotional level (owners vs. thieves) to constructive and practical discourse. This is one of the main goals of the „Right to culture” project carried out by our Foundation from 2012.

If you ever wonder what will be the future of culture in Europe you should see this.

Copyright consultations: education & colonialism

European Commission asked (in question no. 45) about our proposals concerning educational „exceptions”. This is my answer:

Copyright law shouldn’t ever limit the right to education. The Internet has created a tremendous opportunity for making available the knowledge, once available only for  a few, to billions of children around the world. The economic interests of a small portion of the inhabitants of the richest regions of the world can not justify missing this chance. European politicians should understand its role as guarantors of social justice, they were given a unique opportunity to repay a moral debt to communities harmed by the 500 years of colonialism. In addition to financial support,  full access to knowledge and education give such a chance. Such an approach would be also, of course, beneficial for the residents and of Europe. Any use of works related to education (the purpose of which is education) should therefore be permitted,  only commercial operators should obligatory share their profits with authors. Public institutions should support all forms of education on-line as a cheap and easily available way of teaching.

watch@_@bitch asks about CETA and TTIP

Very excited about watchdog course I’m taking I decided to use my newly acquired competence and have just asked The Directorate General for Trade about CETA and TTIP agreements.

As you probably know most of the documents about negotiations between UE and Canada/US are not publicly available but I decided to take my chance :)

I used cool website  designed by AccessInfo coalition. That’s what I wrote:

/// Dear Trade (TRADE), Under the right of access to documents in the EU treaties, as developed in Regulation 1049/2001, I am requesting documents which contain the following information:

1) the content of all correspondence (including e-mails) between the European Commission and the Polish Government (especially Polish Ministry of Economy) on a) the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) and b) the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

2) Polish negotiating positions or other documents presenting the opinions of the Polish authorities on the proposed provisions of CETA and TTIP agreements regarding to intellectual property, held by the Commission.

3) what individuals and organizations (private, social or public) have so far (up to the date of application) access to all or part of the proposed provisions of CETA and TTIP agreements. Please give me:

a) the names of these institutions and the names and positions of persons,

b) date of availability of documents,

c) their scope and

d) the purpose of availability, as well as

e) the legal basis on which this access was granted. ///

Here is the link where an answer will be published within 15 days. Keep your fingers crossed.

watch@_@bitch is watching  :)

/// update 3.03.14 ///

I received very nice letter from Indre VAICEKAUSKAITE from Unit A3. Indre informed me that „the time limit will expire on 24/03/2014” but also asked about „the period covered by the request”. I elaborated that „I’m interested in all documents mentioned in my request but particulary in the last period of negotiations. So it is from 1st of July 2013 in case of TTIP and 1st of May 2009 in case of CETA to the date of the request.”

….waiting….

/// update 9.03.14 ///

I also asked Polish Ministry of Economy about our negotiating positions and proposed provisions TTIP agreement on IP issues.

I didn’t received any confirmation so not sure if they get my request. I’m a little worry because as I read another Ministry (of Culture) has huge problem with their form for access to information requests. It’s been 3 months and still doesn’t work. For real.

 

///EC TRADE still keeps me waiting:

„An extended time limit is needed as your application concerns potentially very large number documents. In addition majority of the documents requested originate from Member State which must be consulted in line with Article 4(4) of the Regulation.”

The new time limit expires on 14/04/2014.

Copyright law should stand on the side of citizens, not big corporations //interview//

Copyright law should stand on the side of citizens, not big corporations

The link above is to an interview we (me and Pawel Stankiewicz) gave about copyright consultations for Polish newspaper. We spoke about general problem with this law and debate – nobody shares citizens perspective. And business just doesn’t care for our liberties.

BTW do you think that it should be treated as an infringement of copyright that I put a link to copyrighted material without asking rightsholder for permission?

Consultation platform in Polish: konsultacje.prawokultury.pl

or other languages: fixcopyright.eu

Digital rights as an ecological network

Digital rights are strongly bonded one to another because a violation of one of them leads to infringing the other. We can follow it on example of a right to culture*. This right is violated by strict enforcement of copyright law. IP regime leads to infringement of the right to education and knowledge. Companies chasing cases of infringement of their IP monopolies are using censorship methods what violates freedom of expression. To intercept infringement cases they must also use data collection systems which, in turn, leads to violations of the right to privacy, etc. Therefore we can say that Digital Rights create kind of ecosystem based on network structure.

Such recognition has it’s consequences: digital rights should not be considered separately. We need to defend them all and probably the constitution of Internet (like Brazilian Marco Civil) is a good idea because it helps to secure them all together.

Although there is no hierarchy in human rights and there should not be in digital rights, when we agreed that it is a network structure we can use network analytic theory as a Albert-Barabasi model to check if there is a particular right that bonds them all (or most of them) creating a hub. The attack on the hub would be particularly dangerous, because it would threatened all other rights. On the other hand, strong protection of that law would strengthen the position of others.

I would like to raise awareness of the correlation between different digital rights and to emphasize the importance of the reflection over network nature of these rights.

 

///

*

Article 27 – Universal Declaration of Human Rights:

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.

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.

How I become an anarchist, and you too

I can say that I become an anarchist much earlier than I realize it :) Just like David Graeber wrote: anarchists„At their very simplest, anarchist beliefs turn on to two elementary assumptions. The first is that human beings are, under ordinary circumstances, about as reasonable and decent as they are allowed to be, and can organize themselves and their communities without needing to be told how. The second is that power corrupts. Most of all, anarchism is just a matter of having the courage to take the simple principles of common decency that we all live by, and to follow them through to their logical conclusions. Odd though this may seem, in most important ways you are probably already an anarchist — you just don’t realize it.”

The first assumption that we are „reasonable and decent as we are allowed to be” is shared with all left ideologies. You can not be a socialist or communist if you consider people as „inherently evil”.  Left  believe that this is culture, not nature, that cause bed social practices or crimes, that’s why an education is so important for them.  But there is one difference between left and anarchist. Anarchist believe that autonomously people can act effective for the common good. Left people see the need of strong leadership, so they accept this kind of  violence that comes from hierarchical structure. It can be state power but also any type of organization where there is a group of people whose leadership does not come from a really democratic procedure and whose are not evaluated by those who are at the lower levels of the structure.

Probably most of organization that we are in are exactly this non-democratic type. And we can recognize a lot of (our own or our colleagues) practices that are aimed in changing this unfavorable power relations – directly or indirectly. Those are resistance actions. So we are trying to convince others to our point of view, we are trying to change the structure, we ignore commands, we do what we consider as a proper without regarding bans, we stop care, we cease to be involved in what we do, we start to play the solitaire instead to work. What and how long we are doing it depends on our temperament, upbringing, values, involvement in other matters, willingness to take a risk, assertiveness, the need to persevere in that organization for any reason (for example financial). I’m in this moment of my life that I’m willing to accept permanently „limitations and exceptions” of my autonomy done by others only if it is serious danger that my decisions would seriously hurt someone’s interest.

I believe that if someone proved that is trustworthy should have broad autonomy. As Graeber wrote: „Anarchists are simply people who believe human beings are capable of behaving in a reasonable fashion without having to be forced to”. But a lot of people are sure that  they can make people to do what they want from them only by using some kind of force. This is a problem „which came first, chicken or the egg” type. It seems that there is no answer but if you think outside the box, you realize that the egg was first, because reptiles laid eggs long before chickens appeared ;) This is how Graeber explain this seeming paradox: „If people are used to being treated like their opinions do not matter, they are likely to become angry and cynical, even violent — which of course makes it easy for those in power to say that their opinions do not matter. Once they understand that their opinions really do matter just as much as anyone else’s, they tend to become remarkably understanding. To cut a long story short: anarchists believe that for the most part it is power itself, and the effects of power, that make people stupid and irresponsible.” I would rather not call people stupid, but generally he made a point.

My own way to anarchism was by reflection over  corrupting nature of any power and the risk that arising from the acceptance of strong hierarchical structures. I saw it in my family story about decent people who at some point of their career accepted  structural violence as a necessary measure to the noble purpose. Post-Shoa reflection is also about it („I just do my orders”said Adolf Eichmann). The last element was my parenting experience which I from the beginning  contextualize in power subject. As a parent one have huge power over own kid, emotional as well as a physical, and it’s very tempted to ab-use it. For me this was a moment that I deeply understood what an anarchism is all about, but other people had their own way of course. Please, take your test and find out, maybe you  are an anarchist too. If so, let me know :)