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Re: <nettime> a free letter to cultural institutions
Felix Stalder on Tue, 17 Jun 2014 16:00:10 +0200 (CEST)

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Re: <nettime> a free letter to cultural institutions

On 06/14/2014 02:20 PM, Florian Cramer wrote:

> For example, because it doesn't want - for political reasons - its
> music to end up on Spotify, Google or similar corporate services,
> against which free licenses provide no means of intervention.

I agree, Google & co represent a version of informational capitalism
does doesn't need copyright. Patents and trade secrets are enough.
So, no critique of copyright, practical or theoretical, does threaten
them, on the contrary.

But the strategy of restricting everyone's freedom in the hope of also
constraining them, seems to do more damage than good. Rather than
going backwards, we need to go forward, and think of ways that either
free culture can also profit from this (i.e. my making collecting
societies support, rather than fight the use of free licenses) or by
developing formats that do not fit so easily into the business models
of Google et al.

> Or because it wants to retain a means of preventing that work is
> being politically misappropriated. For example, if the punk band
> were the Dead Kennedys, and it would have released "California
> Uber Alles" under a truly free license, it would have no means to
> intervene if a Neonazi band performed the same song with no irony
> intended.

Yeah, this is the example that is always cited in this case: but what
about if Nazis play my music? The glib reply I tend to give in public
debates is: Then don't compose music that appeals to Nazis!

But to be less glib, the answer is: you cannot do anything about this,
no matter what. As long as the Nazis pay the performing rights fees,
the can perform your songs completely legally. Period.

The point in case is the song "Freiheit" (Freedom) by Marius
M?ller-Westernhagen. It is performed regularly by the far right NPD at
rallies. M?ller-Westerhangen hates this, but as a member of GEMA he
does not control his performing rights anymore. Gema does and handles
them as statutory licenses. Anyone who pays the fees, including the
NPD, can perform the song in public.

I know from his manager, Tim Renner, who is now secretary of state
(Staatssekret?r) for cultural affairs in the city of Berlin, that
M?ller-Westernhagen tried to use copyright to stop the NPD from using
his song, and failed.

Frankly, I think it's good that he failed. We should not use copyright
to stifle speech. If you want to suppress certain forms of speech, you
should be very explicit and restrictive by qualifying them as "hate
speech" (like, for example, denying of the holocaust is in Germany).



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