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<nettime> Four Shreddings and a Funeral
Piratbyran Sweden on Sat, 5 May 2007 10:52:07 +0200 (CEST)


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<nettime> Four Shreddings and a Funeral


This is the manuscript for a ritual performed by Piratbyrån some
days ago, including a four-point communique declaring the so-called
file-sharing debate dead and buried.

http://www.piratbyran.org/walpurgis/

= = = =

The spring mountain. The highest point in Stockholm. It's twilight
time at Walpurgis Night. Four piles of the book "Copy Me" are
assembled in the formation of a rhomb.

In the middle stands the May Queen, in green clothing and a face mask
of feathers. In her hand, a burning torch.

"Welcome to Piratbyran's Walpurgis ritual year 2007: "Four shreddings
and a funeral". Today, we will finally put an end to the so-called
"file-sharing debate"; the same file-sharing debate that we once took
part in initiating has now served its time.

When Piratbyran was founded four years ago, there was no such
discussion in Sweden as there is today. There were anti-piracy groups
whose words stood unchallenged, but first and foremost there existed
a copying without historical equivalent, taking place in file-sharing
networks.

We gave a voice to that copying, but now it is time to move along

After two years of activity, Piratbyran collected the texts from our
webpage and let them be printed printed in a book, entitled Copy Me.
This book is the only enduring and burnable document from the past
years. By destroying that document we will sweep out the old and
frozen positions, and make room for new ones. Everything has its time,
and Walpurgis Night is the time to leave bygone stuff behind and greet
the spring and its playfulness.

Hereby we burn, in four book-fires, four conceptual opposites which we
are now done with, and which are already collapsing.

[The May Queen initiates fire #1]

# Legal/Illegal

Copying takes place everywhere and all the time. To use digital data
is to copy it. No matter if it's from hard drive to RAM memory, from
one portable device to another or from peer to peer. No matter if the
physical distance of the copy is measured in millimeters or miles. No
matter if the copy travels through a neurological path, through cable
or wireless, on plastic discs, chips or constellations of cells.

Still some people prefer to speak for or against file-sharing, as if
it was an isolated phenomena. As if the alternatives was no more than
two: file-sharing networks or selling digital files.

Yesterday we walked around with megabytes in our pockets, today
with gigabytes and tomorrow terabytes. The day after tomorrow, for
a reasonable price, we will have tiny storage devices that contain
more film, music, text and images than we can ever incorporate into
out lives. Everything ready for immediate transfer to another persons
device.

[The May Queen lights the second fire]

# Here/There

There is no longer an archive that is yours entirely. Neither an
archive completely open to all. The divide between private and public
networks, copies and performances does not comply anymore. What's left
are networks through which you have more or less access to different
archives. There are localities and communities to take part in,
technical and social barriers to access, but there is no fundamental
difference between a copy from your external hard drive and one from
an open file-sharing network.

File-sharing has a potential to create meaning, community and context
-- a bigger potential than most other forms of reproduction. We want
to keep talking about how that potential may be realized in the best
manner possible, how cultural circulation can be organized and how
the unleashed forces of the open archives can be used for more that
stacking a pile of objects which we care less and less about. However,
we want to stop explaining why file-sharing is righteous or not ? as
if there was a choice between copying and non-copying.

[The May Queen sets the third pile on fire]

# Free/Charge

To ask if distribution of film and music should be free or cost money
is like asking if it should be free or cost money to attend a party.
Sometimes, someone manages to charge a toll when we want to enter a
space that summons something better than the spaces that are free, but
no one would even think of banning free parties. When do you actually
have a party, and when are you just having some fun?

The files are already downloaded. The files are already uploaded.
They've been going up and down and in and out in abundance. Instead of
discussion how the forces of winter are going to sell snow to Eskimos,
we want to talk about how to extract meaning from this abundance.

[The May Queen initiates the last fire and performs a ritual dance]

# Art/Technology/Life

The digital networks makes processes, identities, contexts and
works infinitely connected. The division between creator, work and
consumer is a bleak way of describing cultural circulation and digital
lifeforms.

The cost of upholding copyright's abstract relations between art,
technology and life is a world that is mute and ever more depopulated.

Hence, we are not about anti-copyright but more ? Thank you and good
bay (sic!). Let's have a fucking party!

[The May Queen spreads the ashes by the wind. In the distance, more
fires are lit throughout the Stockholm suburbs.]

The file-sharing debate is hereby buried. When we talk about
file-sharing from now on it's as one of many ways to copy. We talk
about better and worse ways of indexing, archiving and copying ?
not whether copying is right or wrong. Winter is pouring down the
hillside. Make way for spring!





-- www.piratbyran.org



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