June 27, 2010

30 minutes well spent

Stephen Fry: What I wish I'd known when I was 18 by Peter Samuelson om Vimeo. 29 April 2010. 32 mins.

June 26, 2010

(Self)censorship and freedom of speech

Here you will find some extracts from the seminar on (self)censorship and freedom of speech, that the liberal group in the European Parliament held last week. Among others – the artist Lars Vilks and the spokesperson for Wikileaks Julian Assange.

Traffic roundabout dog... There is some sort of Swedish context, I promise. ;-)

June 10, 2010

A New, Simple and Reasonable Copyright

Today's copyright laws are not suited for today's information society. We see some culture being locked in, orphan works and a huge part of our cultural heritige in company safes (where people nor can enjoy it or make money on it).

Positions in the discussion on copyright seems to be in gridlock. But, is it really that impossible to set up a legal framework that works reasonably well?

Below, I will outline one model. It is mainly based on Pirate Party policy - but with some personal add-ons. What makes this model attractive is not just that it would solve 90 per cent of the problems we see with today's copyright. Even more exiting is that it works well with people all over the political field; from right to left; from individualists to collectivists. And even better: It is simple and understandable...

i) If someone wants copyright protection, he or she will have to apply for it. (If people need to apply for welfare cheques, it is quite reasonable that people who wants society to protect their business and their products also will have to do so.)

ii) Works that are not acitively protected will become "public domain" - and could freely be e.g. shared, copied and sampled by others. It should, however, not be allowed to "kidnap" other peoples works in the public domain by copyright protecting them.

iii) The copyright protection time is five years, from the day the creator of a work has applied for it. (In today's world, normally the commercial lifespan is not longer than that.)

iv) The copyright protection time can be prolonged with five years at a time, for those who would like to do so. (But I´m pretty shure most works will become public domain after five years.) Prolonging the protection time must be done actively, with a new application.

v) The copyright protection for a work is transferable from the artist / author. It can be sold, inherited or given away to others. This way, it is possible for the artist to focus on creating - and leaving marketing and day to day business to experts. (One could also consider the possibility that the artist can lease the right to commercial use of his/her protected work to others.)

vi) With this system applied on an EU-level we would avoid the problems with 27 different licenses in the otherways single market. A data base could provide updated information on on the status of all works that once have been registered. (So that you e.g. can see if a piece of music is free to use or still under copyright protection.)

This is not a perfect model. But it might solve most problems. It is more reasonable than today's system. And I think most people would understand and accept it.

Starting at this point, it would also be simpler to handle the issue of file sharing of copyright protected works. (Witch I, by the way, think should be permitted if it is done without commercial intent. But that is an other discussion, that will go on regardless. And with higher stakes with today's system.) The point is that lots and lots of works in the public domain would be a goldmine for people who wants to enjoy free culture. The public domain would expand fast, as most copyright holders would probably allow their work to be public domain after five or ten years, when the commercial lifespan is over.

The model above would also stimulate new business models - even those that do not assume copyright protection at all. (See Chris Anderssons book Free, for plenty of examples and ideas.)

[This blog post in Swedish]

June 7, 2010

Elections i The Netherlands: Judge in copyright case scandal

Wednesday The Netherlands will elect a new Parliament. And it looks like the Dutch Pirate Party has a resonable chance to win a seat or two.

And now, a few days before the election, there is an emerging scandal concerning Pirate-related issues. It is about a judge that ruled that the publication of P2P file namnes in a forum, FTD, is copyright infringement.

Now, it turns out – this judge has been educating copy right holders in how to fight filesharers. And he has done it together with the lawyer representing the complaintifs in the FTD-trial!

This shuold get international attention. It might very well be the Pirate ticket to the Dutch Parliament.

(Read about the court case against FTD at the Torrent Freak site.)

[In Swedish]