Free Culture reduces the economic and legal barriers to information, hence enabling education.
It is crucial to realize that a culture of freedom does not devalue the intellectual acknowledgement given to the originators of ideas. In other words, a free culture is not a gateway to largescale plagiarism. For example, Shakespeare's work is available under the freest agreement possible: it is part of the public domain. Although anybody is free to publish, modify, or do anything else they wish to with it, they don't have the moral right in the eyes of academia to claim it as their own creation.
Although many practioners of free culture allow their creations to be used without attribution, free culture is fundamentally about modifying culture to allow, not define, behaviour.
Free Culture is your field. Technology is the reason that contemporary law and attitudes are in upheaval about intellectual property. And the opponents of free culture want to cripple and negate your inventions to serve outdated economic models.
Free Culture removes barriers between your music and its audience, making it easier for you to connect with them. Your fans can share your music with their friends -- it's like having a worldwide "street team" promoting for you! Your music may even find its way to other musicians and artists, who can incorporate it into their own remixes, videos, samples, multimedia, etc.
On the financial side, Free Culture can make you money that would otherwise be lost to music industry middlemen. You'll get more fans to your live performances, sell more merchandise, and even make actual music sales to people who ordinarily would have never heard of you.
Free Culture may seem on the surface to be at odds with capitalism, but dig a little deeper: capitalism is fundamentally based on the principle of individual rights, including the right to create something of value that did not exist before -- not through theft or fraud but through production and trade. A Free Culture encourages the exchange of cultural products that have been explicitly shared by their creators, who are also free to sell their creations to anyone willing to buy.
Focusing on the music industry, it is clear that the current structure subtly subverts the capitalist approach while being seemingly based on it. The market for music in the Western hemisphere is controlled by a handful of media conglomorates. Basically, musicians are sharecroppers for larger companies, who own their property in return for publicity. This is problematic in many ways:
- Only artists signed to certain companies are exposed to mainstream TV and radio, hence ruining the chances of those who don't agree to give up their creative property to these companies.
- Artists are signed to contracts that keep them tied to companies for long periods, hence reducing their chances of actually being free to create whatever they wish to.
- The companies have already been sucessfully sued for price-fixing. It is clear that media companies have no interest in competitiveness.
In the area of software, monopolist companies are already losing ground to more innovative competitors. In the area of entertainment, however, it seems unlikely that independent artists will ever thrive in a permission culture.
"[Is there a way to reconcile the four paras above with the capitalist concept that the companies have the right to do whatever they wish with their property, so the government's laws just prevent them from being deprived of the means to control how it's used?]"
Free Culture is the way for people to use fully what each can contribute. Free Culture has already proven to be an extremely successful approach in this regard as displayed by Free software, high quality programs made collaboratively and shared widely. This is because intellectual property is a type of product that can be created in massive amounts without initial resources. Loose heirarchies can mobilize and organize massive amounts human effort without respect to borders.
Free Culture is the perfect way to advance a way of life unfettered by state-mandated structural control. Individuals may reuse material without being criminals.
Free Culture has always been the state of culture. Songs that were made by one person would spread throughout groups and eventually become folk songs. Most religious texts were also spread in this way. Absolute copyright for long periods is a relatively new phenomenon.
(Is there a way free culture can preserve tradition? I'm sure there would be a way to make this argument for the religious, the traditionalists, and other people who just don't like change without careful consideration of its effect.)
To some minds, Free Culture is a tradition. If, over time, a tradition fades away, then it was most likely not worth keeping. The traditions that endure are those with meaning.
Free Culture is the cornerstone of liberty. The more draconian copyright law becomes, the more authority interferes with daily life across political borders.
(This would just mix a lot of arguments from all across the political spectrum: free speech, lack of state tyranny, etc.)
[(Ok, this is kind of off topic, but this section has humor potential. Create a link to a "miscellaneous" page, in which free culture arguments keyed to not-quite-real or very inconsequential advocacy groups could be created. To try to start it off
Foucaultian: Free culture reshapes the discourse surrounding mass culture by challenging the current corporate-governmental knowledge regime which exists to control the social fabric towards its own ends. Free culture attempts to reshape this discourse, changing the knowledge regime created by "copyright" and "DRM" and its culture of permission, releasing the oppressive power forces inherent within to create a more free, democractically controlled discourse of culture.) ]