Imaginary Museum Projects/Tjebbe van Tijen on Wed, 9 Feb 2005 10:07:25 +0100 (CET)

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Re: <nettime> Where's the real debate on fair use, copyright, piracy? (in the past)

It is almost ten years ago that at the Nex 5 Minutes Conference (on 
tactical media) in Amsterdam I helped to organize a debate on intellectual 
property and copyright...

These are the first lines from the press statement of that time:

With the 21th century approaching and the dramatic changes taking place in 
the media landscape, the basic principles of copyright and intellectual 
property are still rooted in the response of society to the development of 
the art of printing four centuries ago. These responses range from the 
early book-privileges in France and Italy in the 16th century, to the 
English statue of Queen Anne against book piracy in 1710 and the 
international Bern Convention created in the 19th century. Government 
interference with multiplication and dissemination of information always 
has had a double character, the protection of business interests of 
printers, publishers and authors on the one hand and the control of 
content and dissemination of what is published on the other.

You may like to check the whole text and some of the references in it on 
the following web-archive

(a list on libraries and technological change)

I like to suggest also reading of the late Ithiel de Sola Pool (former 
professor of the history of technology at MIT) 'Technologies of freedom, 
on free speech in an electronic age' (1983) and 'Technologies without 
boundaries, on telecommunications in a global age' (1990).

These are titles BEFORE the "new media" hype from a man who had a real 
grasp on the history of technology and its relation to society.

Last... piracy always has been a major moving force of human societies... 
be it legalized piracy by governments or the pioneering work of free 
individuals and corporate crime

These phenomena were and are all closely interrelated...

Last do not forget that most legislation on what we call now copyright and 
the like... had control and censorship by those in power as the main 
moving force...

and also that many great works of literature did arrive at their status 
only because they were pirated...

and I am not even talking here about the electronic age...

Do some more reading back in time to get an idea of how you want your 


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