http://www.cic.unb.br/~rezende/sd.htm > english: license debates

Creative Commons and The World Social Forum

Debate on Lawrence Lessig's Blog

Prof. Pedro Antonio Dourado de Rezende
University of Brasilia - Computer Science Dept.
Jan 29 - Feb 11, 2005



replicated under CC license (
by-2.0)
From Lawrence Lessig's blog, Jan 29, 2005

Returning Home

In 20 minutes, I'm getting in a car to go to the airport to fly to Sao Paulo, to fly to Chicago, to fly to San Francisco, to get in a car to go home. It has been an insanely intense few days in this astonishing place.

This morning's panel was packed in what seemed to be an old factory. The room was overflowing with at least 1,500 people, and a panel of 5. Manuel Castells began, with a careful and extremely interesting diagnosis of the net's development. I then described the remix culture culture has been (legal and free) and the remix culture culture could be (amazing and diverse) and the blocks to that new culture coming about (law). Christian Alhert told the story of the BBC's Creative Archive. And JP Barlow gave one of the most intense and powerful speeches I've ever seen him deliver. This place is personal to him.

Then Gil spoke. Needless to say, the warm up acts were just that. He electrified the audience, delivering a written speech as poetry slam. He promised more support for free software, and free culture. And he again embraced the Creative Commons movement in Brazil, which is exploding everywhere here. Again he took questions. Again he answered critics, directly, and passionately. I was reminded of his comment to me in the car the other night: we're just citizens here.

After lunch, I visited the Youth Camp at the WSF, where 50,000 tents, and 80,000 kids are participating in WSF events. At the core was a Free Software lab, with about 50 machines, all running GNU/Linux, and constant lessons about how to set the systems up, how do to audio, and video editing, how to participate in free software communities. This was organized totally by the kids who ran it. Machines in shacks, hay on the ground, wires and boxes everywhere.

I got to talk to the organizers of at least one part of the lab for about an hour. JP Barlow and I peppered them with questions as they described their "Thousand points of culture" project -- to build a thousand places around Brazil where free software tools exist for people to make, and remix, culture. The focus is video and audio; no one's much worried about Office applications, or the like. It is an extraordinary, grass roots movement devoted first to an ideal (free software) and second to a practice (making it real).

They have the culture to do it. Again, there were geeks, but not only. There were men, but plenty of women (and lots of kids). They were instructing each other -- some about code, some about culture, some about organizing, some about dealing with the government -- as they built this infrastructure out. Think Woodstock, without the mud, and where the audience makes the music.

I'm going to write more about this, elsewhere. But I've not admired more in as long as I can remember.

Lawrence Lessig (photo)
 

Hello,

This is why, as an ardent supporter of open source and Creative Commons, I am often in the uneviable position of envying the followers of the opposition.

Nobody will succeed at making open source or widespread use of CC comonplace by allowing it to be painted with a red brush as a new age form of communism. Brazillian rallies as described on this blog not only invite those stereotypes... they enforce them and make them appear to be valid.

If people want CC to be a reality it must be packaged and sold in a manner that makes those who are at first against CC want to buy in to the idea. It needs to be shown with analytical data, with economic models, with case histories.... not with slam poetry, brazillian rallies and all the left wing new age back patting that this blog all too often engages in.

You arent trying to convince Manuel Castells, Christian Alhert and JP Barlow to accept the notion of Creative Commons... they *already agree with you!!*

The people you *are* trying to convince are the Antonin Scalias and Bill Gates of the world...the message needs to be tailored to suit *them* not us.

When will the left learn to stop making the marketing mistakes that continue to allow people with lesser ideas to win the arguments. As someone on the left I find it nausiating.

Stop couching the debate in terms that conjure up pictures of Lesig and Castro sharing a cigar at some festival under a tent in a banana republic somewhere (yes im fully aware how inaccurate that depiction is) and start showing the message as if it were being generated in Fortune 500 boardrooms.

The battle for culture is as much about the marketing of ideas as it will be about their merits.

» posted by Relentless on Feb 1 05

Brazillian rallies as described on this blog not only invite those stereotypes [communism!]... they enforce them and make them appear to be valid....
You arent trying to convince Manuel Castells, Christian Alhert and JP Barlow to accept the notion of Creative Commons... they *already agree with you!!* The people you *are* trying to convince are the Antonin Scalias and Bill Gates of the world...the message needs to be tailored to suit *them* not us.

Wrong. As described on this blog, the people they *were* trying to convince at the Brazillian rally was, first and foremost, the people who cared to go there to see them.

"Relentless" should get some respect for those who payed for the speakers' airline tickets, and for the speakers who accepted. Getting Gateses and Scalias, who do not wish to be convinced in this lifetime, to fathom what is going on would be enough, and consequential. They'll red-bait regardless, get real!

If "Relentless" was not language-impaired (as he seems to be by the way he talks, so self-centered about something he did not witness and perhaps could not understand), misreading the background and the political climate of the event, of the act and of the gestures therein performed, he could, at least, read a witness testimony contradicting his naive rationalization: An article by Daniela Matielo, a confessed until-then-prejudiced professional native journalist. For those who are not, her very teaching testimony is at http://www.softwarelivre.org/news/3651

» posted by p rezende on Feb 3 05 at 5:17 PM


Wrong. As described on this blog, the people they *were* trying to convince at the Brazillian rally was, first and foremost, the people who cared to go there to see them.

I fully agree, the speeches made at that rally should have been tailored specifically to those people who attended the rally. Logic dictates that the media reports following that rally should also have been tailored specifically.... to the people who are viewing, listening or attending them.

Relentless" should get some respect for those who payed for the speakers' airline tickets, and for the speakers who accepted.

I have respect for all those who attended, if I didnt id have said "why hold the rally?", that is not what I said in the least. What I said is, why characterize it in the media (and on this blog) as a leftist rally in Brazil aimed at convincing the people who were at the rally itself rather than as one public example of a discussion regarding a new approach to intellectual property that serves as a platform from which to continue the discussion on the terms those in need of convincing might be open to.

Getting Gateses and Scalias, who do not wish to be convinced in this lifetime, to fathom what is going on would be enough, and consequential. They'll red-bait regardless, get real!

If you truly believe that the people in power to make significant changes and the people in positions of ardent opposition to change are never going to be convinced... then you may as well spend your time milking a goat. "Milking a goat" and "not convincing the Scalias of this world" that creative commons is a real, beneficial way of handling intellectual property, will have EXACTLY the same impact on the real world end result. None.

Widespread use of more reasonable intellectual property restrictions, or no restrictions at all, will ONLY result from a successful effort to inform and convince those able to institute change and those opposed to change. Im not much of a goat milker, so ill continue to believe that the best ideas can eventually win.... provided they are shown in a light that is truthful and compelling.

If "Relentless" was not language-impaired (as he seems to be by the way he talks, so self-centered about something he did not witness and perhaps could not understand), misreading the background and the political climate of the event, of the act and of the gestures therein performed, he could, at least, read a witness testimony contradicting his naive rationalization: An article by Daniela Matielo, a confessed until-then-prejudiced professional native journalist.

Ignoring the irony of your attempt to insult my language skills by using a sentence that is flawed; lets look at the more important flaw in what you wrote....

You are upset because you feel im mischaracterizing the event that took place. What I wrote was that I was disasspointed in the way the event had been characterized and the way it will allow detractors of CC to pigeon hole an important social movement in terms that while not true will in fact be compelling to many people who oppose CC or are on the fence.

READ what the blog says about the event. Read it as if you were a Scalian or a Gates world view supporter. Im not the one mischaracterizing the CC movement, in this instance Lessig is.... and *that* was the whole point of what I was saying in the first place. You do not convince person X by pandering to person not-X, you convince person X by talking to person X in a way that person X will find compelling.

Wake up.

» posted by Relentless on Feb 4 05 at 9:54 AM

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The problem afflicting this whole issue I think is the unnecessary connection between the argument for free culture and ideology. WSF, for example, certainly seems to be more about ideology than ideas. (Not that Prof's Lessig participation was not a good thing).

But the fact is that some groups will support Free Culture only if and for as long as it can help specific ideological goals, not as something that has any value on itself. One thing is to want to reform copyright and patent laws to make them better, another is to use it as a 19th century revolutionary tool. If something can't be used as a class warfare weapon, it´s useless. Is this all we want it to be?

I just don’t think that the whole "lets burn American flags", "America isn’t a democracy and is ruled by corporations" and "Brazil is a colony of the US" things are necessary to the argument for free culture, creative commons and all that. If they were, than Bill Gates would've been right. Wouldn't that be bad?

» posted by Delance on Feb 4 05 at 12:18 PM


READ what the blog says about the event.

I read what the blog says about, well, whatever. Following the advice, I'll recap what stands out to me:

Before: If people want CC to be a reality it must be packaged and sold in a manner that makes those who are at first against CC want to buy in to the idea. It needs to be shown with analytical data, with economic models, with case histories.... not with slam poetry, brazillian rallies, ...

After: I have respect for all those who attended, if I didnt id have said "why hold the rally?", that is not what I said in the least.

Looks like a marketing lesson here, a poor one at that: censorship of what brazilian rallies can address, wrapped up as respect. Or maybe some case history of goat milking, for CC *IS* a reality. Period.

If you truly believe that the people in power to make significant changes and the people in positions of ardent opposition to change are never going to be convinced...you may as well spend your time milking a goat.

Convinced OF WHAT? Scalias and Gateses "buy[ing] in to the [CC] idea" just sounds incomprehensible to me: it conflicts with llifetime interests tied in with the ongoing success of their carreers. Whereas "Fathom what is going on" can be construed as being convinced TO GO ALONG. That is what politicians do. From which we can deduce that goatmilking is a subjective skill.

Before:...in terms that conjure up Lessig....under a tent in a banana republic somewhere (yes im fully aware how inaccurate that depiction is)...

After: Ignoring the irony of your attempt to insult my [***] by using a sentence that is flawed; lets look at the more important flaw in what you [sic] wrote...

Fill in the asterisks between the brackets above with your prefered type of milk (and also below, if you liked the game).

Before: Stop couching the debate in terms that conjure up... and start showing the message as if it were being generated in Fortune 500.boardrooms.

After: Im not much of a [***], so ill continue to believe that the best ideas can eventually win.... provided they are shown in a light that is truthful and compelling.

Marketing CC as if it were being generated in Fortune 500 boardrooms sounds fishy (or gooey, since we're talking goatmilk here). It shines tarnished. It IS UNTRUTHFUL, at least of yet. CC is and has been a grassroots movement. I've waked up, from my upbringing, to the fact that truth can not be bought, sold or wrapped up in marketing hipe. I suggest you stop couching Lessig and his friends on how to debate, if what you have to offer is this kind of advice. It devalues marketeering.

IP racidalization is as ideological as CC can be, or be gullibly or credibly portrayed. IP radicalization is the road of survival for the market fundamentalist ideology. Because of that, I repeat, CC detractors will pigeon hole the CC movement as ideological regardless. It is not because how Lessig, the media or the leftists see it, portray it, or talk about it. This pigeon holing is not a rational act. So, when they call Lessig a priest of the Church of Open Source, why should I not call them the Church of Corporate Greed? Why shall we be censored for showing them a mirror? Just because you may pray under their dogmas, judging from your marketing lessons here? If so, this is an insuficient reason for my acceptance of censorship.

You and those align with your thinking do not hold a monopoly of view and use of the CC movement. It is yet to be seen who and/or what can best counter the preaching from the Church of Corporate Greed. When we all wake up.

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"I just don’t think that the whole "lets burn American flags", "America isn’t a democracy and is ruled by corporations" and "Brazil is a colony of the US" things are necessary to the argument for free culture, creative commons and all that. If they were, than Bill Gates would've been right. Wouldn't that be bad?"

 I agree Delance, and find it a pitty that most here missed the chance to wonder along with Gilberto Gil on this very same question, during the event at WSF. Why are these things you mentioned, so disconnected by history, finding there a common stage? he challenged us to answer, in a drive Lessig described as slam poetry.

It seems wiser to ponder along in wonder, as you and I are trying here, than deprecate from Lessig's labeling, in self-righteousness arrogance and greedy prejudice.

» posted by p rezende on Feb 4 05 at 2:35 PM


Um, now, why is it wrong of me to charge for my software and take steps against its piracy? If you want all software to be custom in-house software, go ahead and do that. But I write software for the masses, I have the audacity to charge for my effort, and don't take kindly to people pirating it. Those of you that don't care if your work is distributed for free, that's fine for you, but I take great offense to being portrayed as evil, elitist, greedy, undemocratic, or whatever other left-wing lable you want to use just because I'm trying to make a living from the software that I produce.

Oh, and no offense, but Brazil favors this stuff because it's to their advantage. Of course they want all software to be "free", their software industry pales compared to that of the US. Americans may as well say that all coffee should be free and see if Brazil goes along with that.

And Lessig's shots at Bill Gates lessened my respect for him (Lessig). Let's resort to petty insults to try to make our point. Or let's insult Brittany Spears by saying, "I don't think that music should be shared freely because I don't think anything made by Brittany Spears should be heard by ANYONE!!" hahaha Ya, very funny, Mr. Lessig. Grow up, people.

And what's this "IP should be free, therefore the tools to make IP should be free" nonsense? What does one have to do with the other? If I'm using a word processor to write a book that I CHOOSE to distribute for free, then the makers of the word processor should also distribute the word processor for free? WTH are you talking about?

Somebody explain to me how Intuit remains in business if they have to make TurboTax for free. Oh, by charging for support, right? Please. That gives software makers an incenteive for making poor software so as to increase support calls. The "perfect" piece of software is easy to use, powerful, and flexible, and requires no support to charge for. Ever wonder why OSS is so unpolished compared to commercial efforts? Ever wonder why so much OSS is poor man's imitations of commercial software? It's because the software is "free" and the support is "charged".

Lastly, someone above brought up that Apple makes money from OSS. So what? Apple doesn't distribute Mac OS X for free. They charge for their software. Even for the minor OS upgrades. OS X 10.3 cost $130 even if you already had 10.2, and 10.3 is a minor upgrade. And what makes OS X so much better than the Linuxes is the closed portion of OS X, not the open stuff.

» posted by M. Brown on Feb 4 05 at 4:56 PM

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Perhaps the food that fuels a free society should also be free. And speaking of fuel...would a truly free society "pay" at the pump? I am greatful to the programmers who voluntarily chose to write free software, but I also acknowledge a programmer's need to pay his/her mortgage.

But I am interested in seeing what fruits are borne of your labors. Good luck.


» posted by Melanie on Feb 4 05 at 5:36 PM


Um, now, why is it wrong of me to charge for my software and take steps against its piracy? If you want all software to be custom in-house software, go ahead and do that. But I write software for the masses, I have the audacity to charge for my effort, and don't take kindly to people pirating it.

No one that I know of from the "church of open source", here on this blog or there at the WSF Autonomous Thinging track (track A), ever said, implied or suggested that it is wrong for anyone to charge for licenses of digital copies of their work, or to fight against unlicensed use.

Some may want all software to be either custom in-house, open source or GPLed, but this is not the point, for this is just a dream of a few of them. The point is that all of them want the right to choose how to license their work, and the right to choose software considering the licensing terms. Their common ground does not want to force others into choosing among open source or GPLed, the same way they dont want others to force them otherwise. Its gospel just announces that those choices are avaliable and are feasable, for believers are proving them to be. That not every programmer is audacious enough to want to charge for every digital instalation ever made of their work, and yet be happy, pay bills and live normal lives. Take note that this is not a call to arms. If not convinced, please read Benkler's "Coases' Penguin".

Now, considering this, I think it is wise for the audacious to understand the difference. The difference between what the poster seems to believe the FOSS camp is saying, and what we are actually saying. For what will the audacious do when they find themselves competing in the marketplace against software from the non-audacious? The greed label is not intended as an offense, but as a necessary step to dialog. The aim is to gather that by holding greed as an absolute value, one loses the capacity to connect dots to come to the understanding of how a less greedy strategy can, scale permitting, be technically, legally and economically more efficient. And how the moving threshold for such efficiency can globally impact bottom lines. In perhaps less offensive words, if less greedy strategies can be more efficient, this can only be comprehended by first waving absolute predication in greed's axiology, be it moral, economic or both. Taking offense on its mention, specially extreme, is a pointer to an unwillingness for this first step, for this "change or referential". And thus, for the opportunity to understand what is going on, what that camp is about, is doing and is up to.

I know it sounds like an envious attack at the protestant work ethics by lazy little dark-skinned banana-people, but we have to be open minded and forgiving, for time changes the world and tech revolutions shrink it. While attempting to explain Brazil's position, for instance, you fall into the ubiquitous semantic trap of confusing free *as in beer* (actually, an abbreviation of "free of charge!") with free *as in speech*, an inevitable trap for the unwilling. Incidentally, a trap more visible in the portuguese language, with distinct words for *free as in beer* and *free as in speech*. Free (as in speech) software is borderless; Brazil's interest in it is more for autonomy and auditability than for economicity. By the way, Brazil's in-house banking software industry does not pale. It rather shines for pioneerism and domestic capilarity in the world (historic rampant inflation did it), not to be confused with the cheap intelectual labor for-hire market of the Bangalore kind.

If something sounding like a call to arms is heard from the open source camp, it will not be against the right to be audacious, in the sense taken here and above. Nor will it be against the protestant work ethics. It will be against the stiffling of innovation and suppression of new competition through casuistic and forceful radicalization of IP legal regimes, tailored to sustain aging monopolies at the expense of emerging paradigms. (EU broader software patenting rules slipped under the rug in a *fishery commission*?). If you dont understand what free culture or free content have to do with free software, I suggest you begin, assuming you WANT to understand, by reading Koleen Kotally's "punitive" sentence against Microsoft for its predatory abuses during the browser war, allowing the desktop monopoly to charge whoever for the use of file formats set by some or its softwares' APIs. It helps if you start by reading some MS EULAs (only possible during instalation, of course). Lesson two can be to follow the unfolding billionaire self-exploding suicidal legal attack by SCO against former allies, hopefully also its money trail. Groklaw may help on this.

The problem with this "war on terror" fad --Jack Valenti calls his IP radicalization cruzade "his war on terror" -- is that the concept is an oximoron. In fact, both concepts are. The greatest classic ever on the subject of war, 2000 year old Sun Tsu's "The art of war", lays down in the first page the first golden rule for a non-losing strategy: KNOW THY ENEMY. Terror (free software, free culture, and other weird ideologies) is (for some) the strategy of some perceived enemy, not the enemy itself. If s/he/it is smart enough, you will never win if you don't know your enemy. Knowing the enemy's strategy is necessary, but not sufficent for a non-losing strategy. The enemy is not its stratety, forget Clausewitz. On the other hand, despising an unknown enemy's strategy or inteligence is sufficient for a losing one.

And by the way [before I forget to mention]: Brazil's coffee is still free (as in speech), and Brazil has gone along with that forever. Free (as in speech) while Monsanto does not get a patent for its genes from USPTO, with some arm twinsting at WIPO and WTO.

» posted by p rezende on Feb 4 05 at 9:00 PM


P Rezende, I really think there's much more to it.

A lot of folks still think Free Culture and Free Software in the sense of Free Beer, but not Free Speech. It’s possible that support might fade when they figure out that both things are actually very beneficial to the Free Market, the least popular of the "Free" Family. He's like that odd cousin no one wants to talk about.

» posted by Delance on Feb 5 05 at 11:51 PM

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Obviously a whole lot of guys are getting uptight about the alternative perspectives and approaches coming through here! We in India appreciate the worth of these ideas. It will help the majority of this planet, not a tiny minority.

» posted by FN on Feb 6 05 at 1:27 PM

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The greed label is not intended as an offense, but as a necessary step to dialog. The aim is to gather that by holding greed as an absolute value, one loses the capacity to connect dots to come to the understanding of how a less greedy strategy can, scale permitting, be technically, legally and economically more efficient. And how the moving threshold for such efficiency can globally impact bottom lines. In perhaps less offensive words, if less greedy strategies can be more efficient, this can only be comprehended by first waving absolute predication in greed's axiology, be it moral, economic or both. Taking offense on its mention, specially extreme, is a pointer to an unwillingness for this first step, for this "change or referential". And thus, for the opportunity to understand what is going on, what that camp is about, is doing and is up to.

That is by far the stupidest thing I have read in a long long time... perhaps ever. We need to call people names like "greedy" so they can understand why being not-greedy would be better?

Perhaps I should start calling people Commie as a method of reaching meaningful dialogue. Heck, why not open debates on racial equality by calling people nigger or cracker?

You dont start reasonable discussions by insulting the people you are trying to discuss something with. You start reasonable discussions by opeing them in a manner that THEY will find paletable.

If you believe CC and reforms to copyright will lead to a more efficient marketplace, to a "larger pie" that will yield greater prosperity even if the size of each slice shrinks a bit.... and you know that those are the issues your opponents are most interest in... then you talk about how and why that will happen... you dont stand there with your arms folded and call them names like some arrogant jackass.

Gates and Scalia and the powers that be WILL prevail in all matters UNTIL they are convinces otherwise or proven to have the lesser view. The status quo is on their side and that means the burder of proof is on our shoulders not theirs.

Stop calling people names, stop chanting poems in a brazillian tent... and start proving that they have the lesser view or convincing them to change their view.

Do you want to talk about CC, or do you want to make it the dominant scheme for copyright? Name calling is the way to keep talking, proof of theory is the way to make it happen.

» posted by Relentless on Feb 7 05 at 6:48 AM


P Rezende, I really think there's much more to it.

Yes, Delance, but how much can you say in a blog? In a EU-Latin American inter-ministerial forum, what I could pack in a 15 minutes talk is here.

Stop calling people names, stop chanting poems in a brazillian tent... and start proving that they have the lesser view or convincing them to change their view.

Please, read what reuters, for example, has to say here

Heck, why not open debates on racial equality by calling people nigger or cracker?...You dont start reasonable discussions by insulting the people you are trying to discuss something with. You start reasonable discussions by opeing them in a manner that THEY will find paletable.

Please, lets get the story straight here.

a) We don't agree this debate is reasonable: all the misrepresentations of what was previously said, even before I started posting here, is a sign that it is not. People proud of their greed -- t'is capitalism! -- taking offense when reminded is another sign.

b) I did NOT start either the discussion, the arrogance or the name calling. I took the opportunity presented by the complainer's arrogant name calling to flash a mirror here. Calling someone a nigger is indeed not a good way to open a debate on racial equality, but being called a banana citizen is a good chance to engage in one.

c) As FN previously observed, a whole lot of guys will get uptight. So what? So be it. Strategies have to be tested to be proved worthy. As to our tests, go to the link at my previous post.

» posted by p rezende on Feb 7 05 at 9:18 AM

I don't think it requires being said, but Relentless is very on target with everything he said.

Though, I disagree that Gates needs to be proven anything. Time and the evolution of ideas will make him (or not) a dinasour. What he believes (or doesn't) isn't really that important.

Similarly for all of us. This debate isn't because we're trying to convince anyone of anything, but rather engage in a dialog so we can all learn from it.

Mama Time is the only one that really matters, and she doesn't need to be convinced of anything.

» posted by blaze on Feb 7 05 at 9:54 AM


I don't think it requires being said, but Relentless is very on target with everything he said.

Agree, except for the "everything he said". I think it requires being said he is way out of target by annonimousy blaming others for what he has started here. I am not yet convinced of his right to censor here what is done in Brazil, specially through arrogant self centered elitist and racist name calling.

By saing that you are not only condoning these ugly prejudices, you are also here inciting it, which Mama Time has been trying to convince us is not a good idea.

» posted by p rezende on Feb 7 05 at 10:48 AM


I think it requires being said he is way out of target by annonimousy blaming others for what he has started here. I am not yet convinced of his right to censor here what is done in Brazil, specially through arrogant self centered elitist and racist name calling.

At this point im guessing there is some kind of language barrier at work... that or you are simply not reading what I am writing:

1) I am not blaming anyone for anything annonimously. I am blaming Lessig (the person who wrote the Blog entry) for speaking of CC and the open source movement in terms that its detractors will draw fuel from rather than in terms that they might take heed from. He is fanning the fire of the left when in fact what he needs to be doing is convincing those in opposition to CC that he is correct (regardless of their politics and based on more tangible business data).

2) I have no interest in censoring what is done in Brazil. My point is that what is done in a tent in Brazil will in no way be convincing to those undecided or powerful to those in opposition as a method of creating change. Those in Brazil can do what they like, Lessig and others can go to 1 rally after another... if you think that will make the US Congress enact laws more favorable to CC or courts strike down laws that need to be taken down, or Gates' supporters rethink their business models... then you are sorely mistaken.

I am not here to talk about esoteric ideas that would be nice one day... im here to discuss factual plans and to collaborate on ways in which they can be brought to reality. Calling people names, holding rallies in Brazillian tents and acting like thats all very important may feel good... but it isnt going to make ANY significant changes happen.

Thats not an arrogant or racist statement, its a plain simple fact.

» posted by Relentless on Feb 7 05 at 11:11 AM


At this point im guessing there is some kind of language barrier at work... that or you are simply not reading what I am writing:

OK, For the benefit of all, lets then work out the language barrier THROUGH a more careful reading of what's been written.

I have no interest in censoring what is done in Brazil. My point is that what is done in a tent in Brazil will in no way be convincing to those undecided or powerful to those in opposition as a method of creating change.Those in Brazil can do what they like, Lessig and others can go to 1 rally after another... if you think that will make the US Congress enact laws more favorable to CC or courts strike down laws that need to be taken down, or Gates' supporters rethink their business models... then you are sorely mistaken....

Well, when you twice said "stop chanting poems under a [whatever] tent", it could have been inferred that the reason for the advice was a common goal, to best influence those in positions to enact laws more favorable to CC, but it was not clear that the only place where those laws can be so enacted was the US Congress.

The tent was set up in Brazil, but the forum was international. The 2005 World Social Forum had 155 K people from 136 countries attending, willing to raise voices in counterpoint to those emanting simultaneously from the World Economic Forum, in Davos, another international Forum.

It was, therefore, natural to those who know about these facts, I and maybe also Lessig included, to assume that places where favorable laws can be enacted include the European Parlament, WIPO, WTO and national assemblies, besides the US Congress. In fact, I think it is safe to assume that those in the WSF track A rallies believe the US Congress would be the least likely such place to be so influenciable at this point, regardless of strategy.

Since it is also safe to assume that those same people also believe that not all other assemblies are yet rubber-stampers of the US Congress, time urges for them to be influenced by what happens in those tents, before the rubber-stamping "upgrade" happens, if it happens. I even guess that some of them also believe that such actions can contribute for these other assemblies NOT being, or tard in being, "upgraded" to rubber-stampers. And some, that the main drive for them to be at the WSF being just that. And they are not loonies, just wake up and take a look at how the battle for software pattent law in the EU is unfolding!

So, it is only now, when you finally spell out what you believe to be the common goal of those rallying there under tents and in here at Lessig's blog, that we are able to spot this missunterstanding: We (Lessig, I and others) were there and are everywhere trying to influence assemblies that are more likely to be influenciable, in the hope or with the goal of

a) self-interest;

b) sending a message to US congress, for laws like DMCA can not be trully effective without universal jurisdiction;

c) before its too late.

We're not only chanting poems in tents, which is a good hook for a hostile local media (which I suppose you dont know), we're dead serious about what we want. For it means a lot more to us, non-US citizens, that you may suppose. If not convinced, please read the article by reuters, with tangible business data, linked above.

I believe that our misunderstanting, leading me to read your "stop chanting poems in [whatever] tents" as an attempt of censorship, to previously undetected differences of oppinioin on how the world operates, including the motivation of those 155K people from 136 countries to be under tents in Brazil. A difference I would call a cultura gap, rather that a language barrier, posed by different centers of gravity. So no, I don't believe we (Lessig, I and others) are mistaken about the US Congress, I think, rather, that some here are demeaning the rest of the world.

Now, to the next misunderstanding.

I am not blaming anyone for anything annonimously. I am blaming Lessig (the person who wrote the Blog entry) for speaking of CC and the open source movement in terms that its detractors will draw fuel from rather than in terms that they might take heed from. He is fanning the fire of the left when in fact what he needs to be doing is convincing those in opposition to CC that he is correct (regardless of their politics and based on more tangible business data).

After quoting an entire paragraph that I wrote regarding the greed label, someone posted under pseudonym "Relentless": "That is by far the stupidest thing I have read in a long long time... perhaps ever. We need to call people names like "greedy" so they can understand why being not-greedy would be better?...You dont start reasonable discussions by insulting the people you are trying to discuss something with. ...... you dont stand there with your arms folded and call them names like some arrogant jackass.". When I read that, my limited skills in the english language led me to believe that someone identified by a pseudonym was blaming me, not Lessig, for starting flames here. I can only appologize for my impairment.

But when you, whoever, earlier summoned Lessig to "Stop couching the debate in terms that conjure up pictures of Lesig and Castro sharing a cigar at some festival under a tent in a banana republic somewhere" my english skills were enough to register the insult.

The term "banana republic" was coined from the process of violent overthrow of the elected governent of Guatemala by CIA operatives in 1954, installing one of the most ruthless and bloody dictatorships our continent ever witnessed. The phrase became an emblem, not only in Latin America, for ruthless lawless imperial dominance, a modern label for slavery. Something not too good to be thrown around lightly as a joke, nowadays

Forget Lessig: now THAT'S fanning the fire of the left!! (outside the US, where it's the most flamable!). A confessed christian should be careful, for instance, with the word "cruzade" while in heated discussioins with moslems. Dare you not now pretend you didnt know you were playing with fire, for you ended your sentence with a "never mind" sign which only added insult to injury "(yes im fully aware how inaccurate that depiction is)". Why use it then? You've already elected a president who shows poor knowledge and respect for other cultures, why aggravate the situatilon in cyberspace?

Finally, I think we can atribute this last misunderstanding to the same cultural gap. And move on, more gardful of our tempers and tongue.

» posted by p rezende on Feb 7 05 at 2:39 PM


Now that I'm back in cyberspace, I must appologise for getting Brazillian politics wrong. Then again, I wasn't in Brazil for political reasons, and I didn't follow the election too closely while I was there, as foreigners don't vote in any country other than Iraq (where foreigners complained there weren't enough foreign polling stations). It's also been a few years, and I wasn't taking notes.

And all this time a nice debate was raging over mischaracterizations of the most extreme Free Software viewpoints, and a representative who appears to hold a view of IP similar to mine.

And Brazil is a perfect backdrop for the debate, since the country was one of the first to ignore US patents on AIDS drug medications as a way to fight AIDS. Not only is that proof that Brazil isn't a US colony, it has paved an easier road for other companies to do similar things.

And if you recall, the reason given for the Copyright Extension Act of 1998 was that European countries provided longer copyright terms than the US, and international politics required the US to extend its own copyright terms.

Of course there won't be a "Copyright Shortening Act of 2005" because some countries provide shorter terms or copyrights of smaller scope than the US, but international politics can have an effect on copyright, trademark and patent law

» posted by ML on Feb 7 05 at 4:57 PM


Of course there won't be a "Copyright Shortening Act of 2005" because some countries provide shorter terms or copyrights of smaller scope than the US, but international politics can have an effect on copyright, trademark and patent law.

There will certainly be no time for a "copyright shortening act" in 2005, but we can have some loosening up in a longer span, if a process similar to that which affected ITARR unfolds over IP. Which is not unlikely, given the traction FOSS, CC and the like are gaining (the level of noise + FUD around'em being a sign).

Paranoid rules from ITARR on cryptographic software, whose logic did not factor in the non-universality of its jurisdiction, ended up driving business away from state-of-the art US companies, into jurisdictions more favorable to consumers, inducing them to pressure the US congress into untightening ITARR. Even under the war "on terror".

But politicians tend to have short, selective memories, and we now see CDBPTA and INDUCE on the same route. The ebb and flow of life, like it or not the non-esoteric.

» posted by p rezende on Feb 7 05 at 7:43 PM


So, you really think that widespread change to copyright laws on intellectual property will be acheived regardless of whether the US Congress is moved into at least tacit agreement with these views? At least now I can clearly see where our difference of opinion comes from.

I dont foresee any possibility of meaningful copyright evolution taking place with regard to intellectual property on a world wide stage without backing from the United States. The Kyoto accords on pollution seem to be a similar example of world wide programs that lose an awful lot of their inertia without US support.

This isnt an argument born from ethnocentric blind patriotism or flag waving idiocy... its an opinion based on the fact that US provides most of the world's pollution and most of the world's technological patents and copyrights at this point.

In a world where copyright protections are evolved to a more sane status but where the US is either left out of that process or resistant to that process you will be setting up the stage for tarrif and trade wars that will act like some from of world wide value added tax on countries that dont police the illegal infringement of property" of US corporations.

Believe me, as a US citizen I would like nothing more than to be governed by a political group that took the views of other countries seriously and seeked to work within the framework of a world community. To the dismay of many, including myself, the US government as currently constituted could not care less what most of the world thinks.... see Iraq as a shining example of that foolishness.

Nonetheless, when you are in a position of extremely unequal bargaining power that doesnt mean you can accomplish more by choosing not to bargain with those in power.

» posted by Relentless on Feb 8 05 at 5:00 AM


So, you really think that widespread change to copyright laws on intellectual property will be acheived regardless of whether the US Congress is moved into at least tacit agreement with these views?

It already happend regarding AIDS-related patents. In general, I don't think it will happen if people just sit down whining about what's going on, taken aback by the black-and-white view of the world that the powerful want to sell us, as passive cattle in the self-fulfilling prophecy game they play.

I think it can only happen if people unconfortable with the state of the world brush up their innermost values, take charge of their own conscience and join in to do something about it, building their own view of the world in the process. This is what happened in the case of cryptographic software: stringent laws, not only the ITARR in the US, ended up being loosen, also because the ones in place from the cold war were being demoralized by a reality buit through grassroot actions. The battle for software patent law in the EU, at the moment we read, an interesting and unfolding example.

New ways of joining in and doing something are sprouting about every day, the digital revolution's unchartered waters reserves us many surpirises. There are just too many fronts, CC is only a piece in this chess game, and you just mentioned another important one. Look, for instance, how the global lobbying power of the Telcos will transform, under the widespread use of free (as in speech) VoIP software and (given DSL, as in beer) services. However, it can only happen if enough people try to make it happen, for the strategy of the powerful to sustain the status quo is devide-and-conquer. This is a time to be open minded, reviving McCarthyism is falling pray to their strategy. Fortunately, there were more that 1 thousand US citizens at the 2005 WSF, the other 154K honored by Lessig being one of them.

The arguments for the radicalization of IP are basically the same used by the segregationists leading to the US civil war of the 1860s. Brazil was the last country to free itself from pre-industrialized physical slavery, in 1888, it may pay its moral debt to history leading the fight to free the world of pos-industiralized digital slavery, affirming human rights to express and access knowledge in an information society. There will be a price for that leadership, but there will also be a price for inaction. And the choice here should be, I believe, ultimately guided by moral logic.

» posted by p rezende on Feb 8 05 at 7:44 AM


p rezende,

I wish you luck with that strategy and I truly hope that I am wrong in predicting it to be seriously flawed.

» posted by Relentless on Feb 8 05 at 10:35 AM

----------------------------------------------------------------

i m scared...

» posted by johnsoon on Feb 8 05 at 12:02 PM


I wish you luck with that strategy and I truly hope that I am wrong in predicting it to be seriously flawed.

If each of us reach out to implement one's strategy of choice at the same time, we increase each one's chance of success. Sling back the devide-and-conquer stuff, that's the WSF spirit! :-)

cheers

» posted by prezende on Feb 8 05 at 6:03 PM

I hate to tell you this, but Brazil isn't going to lead the world in anything except on how to play a beautiful game of futbol. Brazil is a backwater, relatively speaking, when it comes to the high tech world. [Law? Diplomacy?]

Blah blah blah....

Anyway, you do what you like. I became a programmer in the 80's, got rich, and retired, so I really don't care. But you're cutting your nose off to spite your face. Of course Lessig doesn't care, he's not a programmer. He's a misguided idealist. But he (and guys like RMS) are getting you guys to do harm to your own profession. It's almost comical.

» posted by Mr Magoo on Feb 11 05 at 12:34 AM