Utopias battlefield

Legal proposals reflect not only current citizens concern but also try to create better environment for future generations. That’s why they inevitably become a battleground not only for present interests but also different utopias, to which the parties involved into debate strive for. Therefore the compromise is very hard to achieve and require broader reflection then only economical or strictly legal. Unfortunately those two dominate public debate (not only) about copyright law. An anthropological input can be relativization and historicalization of the ideas activated in the debate. For example such modern categories as „an individual property” or „an ownership of idea’s expression” belong to axiological system that is quite unique in global perspective.

Others than global North’s systems are based on broad commons domain and barely recognize the need to impoverishment of public resources by extrapolation cultural works from it. Unfortunately global South’s countries are now forced to implement the system dominated by the extraneous ideas. It is widely known problem, especially in an aspect of intellectual property in Africa and India. But this conflict can be also observed in my country, Poland, because of our experience of communist time – quite liberal regarding to copyright. Public ownership of media and culture was a part of state ideology, so a lot of people can not accept that their cultural heritage founded by society during 45 years is now unavailable because of copyright (mainly there is uncertain who is a right holder). On the other hand, part of society accepts „sacred right of property” as a main rule and experiences its questioning as a return to an oppressive ideology of ancien regime. When those two options meet it is very hard to communicate. Copyfighters should find a language to present own ideas to people who are not on the same page regarding critical reflection over neo-liberalism and over-consumption. One of the solution is in-politicization of the discussion and redirecting it to the ground of emotions, relationships etc.

But in such case there is usually another disagreement regarding to general humankind philosophy: leftists idea is that people do evil or follow wrong ideology because they are uninformed, non-educated or badly raised.  The right oriented people are convinced that human beings are bad by design and had to be curbing by law and other norms. So it’s hard to find common ground in this discussion also.

Another way could be focusing on such a value as freedom because of its wide recognitions and imprecise definition. This is a strategy that worked during Stop Acta protests but is efficiency is  limited in the long run.


downloading is caring

This month I was taking part into the debate about downloading of movies. It was during the Tofifest Film Festival. My point was that we should worry less about how big business will survive if people continue downloading, instead we should focus on development of civil society. So if we have to judge what is right way of using culture the commons should be our leading star. I was trying to put the issue of the meeting in context of constitutional liberties (art. 73 of Polish Constitution) and human rights declaration (art. 27).
Also watchdoging the language of the debate, for example pointing that there is no such thing  in Polish law as illegal source of culture. While there is nothing wrong in promoting authorized sources of cultural content, no one should suggest there is some cultural darknet where people sneaking in to watch Last tango in Paris. In Poland always downloading and watching streaming are legal and people shouldn’t be ashamed or threatened for such activity. And that only illegal content in Poland is child pornography and Mien Kampf ;)
All panelists agreed that monopoly lasting 70 years after death of an author is an absurd and should be shortened.
I really enjoy such activity :-)