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Re: <nettime> a free letter to cultural digest [2x]
Aymeric Mansoux on Thu, 19 Jun 2014 14:22:00 +0200 (CEST)

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Re: <nettime> a free letter to cultural digest [2x]

Rob Myers said :

> [...]
> I do share your wistfulness regarding the state of Free Culture. But
> I'm unwilling to turn the lights off just yet.

The point that I'm trying to make is that free culture has succeeded
already in the way it has reached critical mass. However the
consequence of the tipping point has been miscalculated as it
did not lead to a revolutionary cultural phenomenon, but instead
created a rich nested territory of free culture practices within
the overwhelming non-free cultural domain. The former could even be
extended to what Mike Linksvayer coined semi-free culture to encompass
the different ND and NC style licenses and I'd be happy to throw in
as well the so-called copyfree licenses in what would be a mix of
things that, in a way or another, try to address issues of freedom in
relationship to different forms of production and distribution.

Regardless, we have at this point a rather amazing collection of
things being produced in this territory and even if it could be
criticized as too much self-referential or inbred, there has been
already been enough iterations and mutations to bring enough cultural
diversity so that one can happily decide to join it and develop
their own practice without the feeling it's mere template copypasta.
However, looking closer at it, this territory is nothing but an
emulation running on a host that can still threaten its execution
or make it very hard to sustain itself. More importantly, I foresee
a scenario, and here I'll stand on my doomsday soap box, where the
cooperation mechanism in free culture will simply collapse because
it failed to recognise the ideological conflicts that constitute
it, and instead kept cheering the bigger picture of innovation and
disruptive economics while only superficially looking at the ethics,
conditions and motivations of participation in such a system. Right
now these tensions and conflicts are the engine of free culture as it
allows different systems of beliefs to interface with each others and
gives infinite room for others to bootstrap their own (as long as one
compromises on some shared contractual elements). But as seen with the
increasing fractal proliferation of licenses, the increase of cynical
Left-Right blaming games when it comes to understanding the nature
of free culture, the growing disinterest of younger generations to
even bother licensing their work (as best seen in Github repos), and
the after party effect where one realises that everyone else had a
different dress code, I don't think this is leading to anything good
or sustainable for the whole free culture environment, whether it's
defined, semi-free or unspoken.

So, while everyone is still around, and the light is still on, we
should take advantage of this and think together about what should be
the next step to take.


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