COPY.CULT&the original SIgN" (by way ofrichard barbrook) on 19 Sep 2000 20:29:57 -0000

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<nettime> Copy.Cult and the original si(g)nTM

Copy.Cult and the original si(g)nTM
 (a project investigating the moving borders of intellectual property in
the culture of the copy.)

   --- 26/09/00 - 30/09/00 ---
  --- a project by Constant ---
 --- ---

 --- ---
   ---  Brussels 2000 CENTRUM/CENTRE  ----
  ----50 Schildknaapstraat/rue de l'Ecuyer----
          ---- 1000 Brussels ----

  For the general public, any mention of authors' rights triggers a
caricatural response: an image of pirates and copyright-owners playing cat
and mouse. The media coverage of the Napster case is a striking example of
this particular state of mind. Viewed either as a symbol of free net
distribution or else dismissed as the latest piracy tool, this software
has been turned into an icon and the significant questions that it raises
have been reduced to a tussle between the opposing interests of
old-fashioned producers and new distributors. Who'll win - the Majors or
the file-swappers?

  However, the issue of author's rights cannot be reduced to this
simplistic argument. Various groups and networks, embracing artists,
curators, programmers, administrators, legislators and producers, feel the
need to rethink the copyright laws taking into account the three principal
interest-groups: the author, the producer/distributor, and the public
domain. As new licenses appear, like the GPL or recently the Licence Art
Libre, manifestos are published, and new logos ("no copyright",
copyleft"...) sprinkle CD covers and webpages, a recurring idea emerges:
readjustment. The idea of readjustment is connected to a desire to
rehabilitate the Public Domain in a world increasingly privatized, in
which every form of sharing is seen as a market failure, or rather, in
which every kind of exchange is viewed as potential "business". This
approach has led the contenders to search for legal ways to protect, under
European Law, the existence of "exceptions" such as the right of
quotation, parody, copy for private use and to entrench these exceptions
as fundamental principles of Copyright Law. In the same spirit,
programmers and artists are writing licenses that attempt to compensate
for the lack of protection afforded open source code and public
participatory projects. All these initiatives share an ethical concern for
the existence of a cultural common ground and a freer access to
information culture.

 What kind of impact will these licenses have? What is the future of this
readjustment? Is the idea of readjustment radical enough to counter the
power of the big mergers, the well-established monopolies of distributors
and producers? And, in view of the harm done to the developing world by
the enforcement of copyright law, should we not consider its total

 The association Constant invites you to participate in a week of
lectures, discussions and alternative scenarios regarding the subject of
Copyright. Each evening a particular domain will be on the agenda: music
and sound, visual arts, on-line museums... Our guests will share their
experience and expertise, engaging the public in the discussion and
inviting the audience, at the end of each session, to draw up scenarios
for the future of the culture of the copy. A follow-up group will keep
track of the variables discussed and, on the last day, will summarise the
discussions in a concluding, debate. Lectures and talks will be netcast on
Constant and Cafe9's websites and broadcast on Radiolab .The week's work
will be summed up by cultural historian Hillel Schwartz in a performance:"
What will we do for an encore?"

 Joost Smiers (NL), Suzanne Capiau(B), SÚverine Dussolier(B),Richard
 Antoine Moreau(FR), Annabelle Hagmann(FR,Christiane Carlut(FR), Rachel
Mader(CH), Federico Guzman(ES), Christine Van Assche(FR), Reinold
Misselbeck(D), Andre Itten(CH), Lysiane Lechot-Hirt(CH),Hillel
Schwartz(USA),Pierre De Jaeger(B), C-DRIK(B)
 and remote guest:Marcel Schwierin(D)

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