Archive talk:What is free culture?

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We should pump this page full of links so that the complete newbie can become well-informed. Everything that can be link should be. This isn't that hard (I think/hope) and it makes a site impressive.

Too many links reduces readability

It is indeed a good idea to have this page be a way for people to get a good education in our philosophy, and part of this is making sure that the page is linked well, but please be careful not to make every single word into a link. It makes pages ugly and hard to read.

Open Content

So, one thing that's bothering me with this site is the parallelism between Free Software and so-called fair use of copyrighted media. I don't think it's really reasonable to equate filesharing with Free Software. In one case, people make things and give it away willingly; in another, they make things, and other people use it without permission.

Yes, I realize that fair use and rights of first sale allow you to do things with copyrighted works that copyright owners may not like: time shifting, loaning, resale, etc. I realize that this is an important fight that needs to be addressed. But it doesn't carry the same moral weight as making and giving away things for free.

There doesn't seem to be much promotion of Open Content, such as Creative Commons-licensed works, public domain works, or other free or copyleft licenses. Isn't that really where we have a digital commons? When filmmakers, musicians, writers, and visual artists willingly share their work with the world, to be spread far and wide?

Freeculture.org has a great opportunity to fill the vacuum as a rallying point for Open Content. Although there are a ton of Open Content licenses, there is not an Open Content Definition along the same lines as the Open Source Definition.

Putting rights into the hands of media consumers is absolutely important. Breaking down the lines between consumer and producer more so. We see that in Free Software: how the barrier between programmer and user is eroded, so everyone is both programmer and user. But maybe a little less concentration why sharing Britney Spears music isn't all that bad, and a little more on how to make your own music and share it with the world.

Just a thought. --EvanProdromou 21:35, 18 Mar 2004 (PST)

Freeculture.org is not Downhillbattle.org

Thank you for your input Evan! It is important to note that Freeculture.org takes a slightly different tack on filesharing than Downhillbattle does.

We agree that filesharing is the key to freeing artists from the oppressive major label system, as it is a decentralized mode of distribution that is not controlled by old media, but we're not for sharing files against the wishes of the artists. We just wish to make the case that it is in the best interest of the artists to share their art freely, and that they're misinformed if they think "trusted computing", widespread DRM, and autocratic IP laws will result in a better creative world. Although we believe that filesharing is good for artists, we don't want to be seen as paternalistically making that decision for them.

On the other hand, many artists quietly support filesharing, although their labels would be very unhappy if they came out publicly in favor of peer-to-peer, and since the labels essentially own their souls, the artists cannot safely speak in opposition. Also, we think that laws protecting "intellectual property" are a necessary evil at best, and there is a case to be made that when IP laws are obviously harming creativity one should attempt to mitigate the damage. Ignoring artists who do not want their songs to be shared can only be counterproductive and paint our movement in a negative light, but we think many people understand the disconnect between the wishes and interests of the artists and the record labels that own them. Once we have convinced people that the existing copyright system is a bad idea (which shouldn't be hard), we can make the more difficult case that no such regime of control is good for creativity, although certainly less restriction is always better.

The major difference between our approach and that of Downhillbattle is that they advocate downloading major label music for free without the intention of paying as part of their plan for boycotting the RIAA. FreeCulture.org, on the other hand, believes that you should only download what is offered freely. Just as we advocate free and open source software instead of pirated proprietary software, we believe people should only download free mp3s, preferably of copylefted music. If we really believe that filesharing is good for the artists, why would we wish to share music that helps enslave us? Why would we want to listen to music that makes us less free? Don't support artists who don't support your rights, and this means don't listen to their music. There are much better bands out there than Metallica anyway (especially since they've sold out and/or run out of ideas), who don't get airplay because of payola radio.

Allow me to paste in a post I made to the SCDC site a while back (feel free to edit):

Music Piracy?

Let me make one thing clear: I'm not a fan of "music piracy". However, most bands that are not on Clearchannel's top 40 can only benefit from P2P filesharing: most people haven't heard of them, and nobody will buy CD's from bands that they've never heard or heard of. Therefore, there are only a handful of super-popular artists who may stand to lose from P2P technology: they have huge record companies promoting them, and an oligopoly on the radio, perhaps they don't need the word of mouth from P2P. However, there are in fact many top 40 artists who seem to think that P2P is still in their best interests despite their popularity. Maybe that's because they see that it has the potential to free them from the control of their labels.

P2P is a disruptive technology in the industry, because it is possible for an artist to spread their music across the nation without being signed to a major label, or without even having high bandwidth bills on their website. You don't need to have a huge record company promoting your music and pushing your songs onto the radio. You just need to have GOOD MUSIC, because then people will recommend you to their friends, who will then download the songs and pass them on. Many bands both large and small understand this truth, and release mp3s for free on their websites, with the tacit understanding that this mp3 is freely distributable for promotion purposes: this is the poor man's alternative to a radio single.

The RIAA wants to shut down P2P because it makes their business model obsolete. They are only necessary as long as they have a monopoly on the listening public. If this more efficient distribution model wins out, the RIAA can just fade away without anyone noticing or caring. And good riddance, I would say.

We need to support artists and labels that don't treat their customers like criminals: I have only bought CDs from local bands and indie labels in the past year and a half. If we can boycott the RIAA, and make it clear to them why their sales are disappearing, we will be clearing the way for a future in which anyone can become a popular artist, based not on their industry connections, but on their merit. If we can save the P2P networks from destruction, and keep the internet free, we will have done a noble thing for both the artists and the audience. --Nelson 23:28, 18 Mar 2004 (PST)

More on ecnomics

As a big supporter of the open source movement and lighter copyright laws, I'm pretty interested on the economics of a free culture. I've been reading up on copyright issues, open source, the Creative Commons license, GNU, etc., but I have yet to see a solid description of what would replace copyright, or a modification of copyright with a practical side to it. I'm sure one will come up eventually, since there are plenty of smart people working on the movement, but has it happened yet, and if it has, what is it? Edit: And if there is one, I'd sure love to see it in this article. // Montag (talk) 22:02, 26 October 2006 (UTC)