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As the deadline (June 7, 2010) for submitting extended abstracts to the upcoming 3rd Free Culture Research Conference in Berlin (see original post) is quickly approaching, I want to share a stunning talk by Johanna Blakley on “Lesson’s from the Fashion’s Free Culture” as a Video-Reminder:

(thanks to Frithjof Stöppler for pointing to this video)

Content hosting services such as Google’s YouTube or Facebook are among the most important digital public spaces. Many entirely new forms of creativity have been inspired and flourish due to new and easy ways of sharing (more or less slightly) modified content on the net. What is more, popular examples of such user-generated remixes or mash-ups rarely stay isolated but lead to video responses – often based on another round of remixing.

Precondition for this ecology of user creativity is not only the technological platform but also an enabling legal framework: while, at least in the U.S., many instances of remix culture fall under the fair-use exemption of copyright, this cannot easily be recognized and thus bears risks of costly litigation. As a result, platform operators such as Google are tempted to pursue policies best described as “delete if in doubt” whether a particular work might infringe copyrights.

But why should copyright holders persecute such “infringements” by ordinary users – often fans and dear customers – who engage in creative work without commercial interests? The reason are commercial revenues generated by platform operators, mostly via advertising. Copyright holders of works (re-)used in user-generated content distributed on these platforms demand their share of those revenues and use their copyrights as a collateral in the respective negotiations. Read the rest of this entry »

One of the things that make blogs particularly interesting are series. In this blog, for example, Phil features a series on “microcredit myths“. The “series” series recommends series at related blogs. This time I introduce the series “Party of the Week” at the official blog of the “Pirate Party International“.

While the website “” had been online for quite some time before, the official umbrella organization of 22 national pirate parties called “Pirate Party International” (PPI) was founded three weeks ago in Brussels:

“After a tour of the European Parliament and a speech of Swedish Pirate MEP Christian Engström on Friday April 16th, 32 delegates from 18 countries gathered in Brussels to discuss the statutes of the PPI. An easy way to follow the conference had been arranged for those who were cut out of Brussels completely, as all Pirates worldwide could follow the sessions over a video stream and take part in the group discussions over chat. Shortly after 22h00 on Saturday April 17th the delegates and remote participants accepted the statutes of the Pirate Parties International.”

Yesterday, the PPI started a new series on its blog entitled “Party of the Week“, which will “present one Pirate Party from one country, ask questions, publish the answers, promote their website, twitter accounts etc.” each week. For researchers interested in transnational and Pirate Party related copyright activism this sounds quite like a great service to get an overview. Probably due to the upcoming Britisch elections, the first national party to be presented is the Pirate Party UK. Questions answered include “Tell us why the Pirate Party of the United Kingdom is participating in the current elections?”, “Tell us more about the inner structure of PPUK” or “What is the message?”. Regarding the latter, the response reads as follows:

“To us, Pirate politics is fundamentally a civil rights question about liberties which were hard-won in past ages and – shamefully – need to be defended again in a Digital Age. Copyright is simply one facet of this – the attempt to enforce 19th Century concepts of copyright and “intellectual property”, by 20th Century business interests in the 21st Century result in a direct clash with people’s freedoms to communicate and share information.”

I am personally looking forward to reading about and thereafter comparing the different national Pirate Parties, especially with regard to differences in organizational structuring and how they define their mission.


The Book

Governance across borders: transnational fields and transversal themes. Leonhard Dobusch, Philip Mader and Sigrid Quack (eds.), 2013, epubli publishers.
May 2010

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