[A2k] Financing the cultural and expressive commons (of which sharing is a part)

Philippe Aigrain (personal) philippe.aigrain at wanadoo.fr
Fri Sep 3 09:12:13 PDT 2010


Dear Fede and Volker,

As you know ,I like to try to find a level of description that can go
beyond disagreements between friends, even though the first immediate
result is generally to get both disagreeing with you.

Here is an extract of an exchange with Pedro Paranagua:

"- In my recent work, I became more and more convinced that the level of
the fee and the plans for redistribution should NOT be based on
compensating alleged harms for existing industry but rather on
addressing the specific need of creative activity in a time of
information technology and Internet. Is there any thinking in this
direction in Brazil? For instance, how are plans to distribute also for
voluntarily shared material? Any thinking on the increase of the number
of creators in comparison to those registered presently with the
collecting societies? and financing for Internet-native media?"

In other terms, it is wrong to consider a contribution to the creative
and expressive ecosystem as "a cost to access the Internet" or "having
to pay for file sharing". In this sense, I disagree with the expression
"monetizing file sharing". What we need to monetize (to provide money
to) are the conditions of existence of the information, cultural and
expressive commons. There are true needs if one wants to move towards a
many-to-all cultural society. It turns out that existing professional
creators will also benefit from this scheme. That's good, provided the
distribution is fair.

The Banda Larga Popular scheme or other regional and local inclusion
schemes can include the "creative contribution" for poorer households
(my name for a mutualized financing scheme to reward and fund production
of works on the Internet). It is a better solution in my opinion that
making it progressive on income because progressivity is inefficient
when applied to small payments. Better a highly progressive income tax
and flat small payments. "Highly progressive income tax, you must be
dreaming". Yes, but it is a very serious dream. Eleanor Roosevelt did
not stop at being called a dreamer in 1932.

Philippe


Exchange between Fede and Volker:
---------------------------------

Thanks for your comments, Fede.

> > it's just to realize
> > that people have decided to take culture in their own hands

I 100% agree on your analysis. I disagree on your critique of our
proposed solution.

> > These proposals will keep cropping up, of course, because a few
> > people and companies stand to benefit massively from it.

I don't keep bringing this up because I expect to benefit massively. I
expect to benefit the same as everybody who writes (makes music, films
etc.) publicly: in rough proportionality to the popularity of the stuff
I put into the common pool of culture. But more importantly, I expect to
profit, like all of us, from the formal recognition by law that
file-sharing is legal.

> > a solution looking for a problem,


The problem for which we are proposing the Sharing Licence as a solution
is this: law suits, 3-strikes, ACTA, DPI, DNS seizures etc. etc.

Another solution would be to start yet another ANTI campaign every time
another of these strategies pops up. Not much fun in the long run. More
promising to me is a PRO campaign for a solution that puts an end to
these futile attempts to re-establish scarcity for good.

What's your solution? You haven't said. Legalizing file-sharing without
levy?

> > R$3.00 may seem little, but if you take into
> > account the fact that the "Banda Larga Popular" in Brazil costs
> > roughly R$30, you realize that this is a 10% price hike for
> > low-income families.

You may want to add that the phenomenal Banda Larga plan will cost
Brazilians R$ 49 billion until 2014. Another form of collective
re-distribution for an investment the collective deems useful. I would
think that the same collective would also deem useful a collective
investment  that enables those who create much of the stuff that makes
these pipes so great to continue to create. Anyway, both the R$ 30
projected monthly access fee and the R$ 3 are, of course, moving
targets. And it's clear that the collective decision to bring as many
citizens online as possible cannot be counteracted by another one that
would prevent the very same low-income families from accessing the
Internet.

For those of you not familiar with it, here is the Plano Nacional para
Banda Larga:
http://www.mc.gov.br/plano-nacional-para-banda-larga

> > collects from the many
> > to feed the few to boot.


This is a structural problem indeed. But I do see a real chance of
rebooting collective management. With 100,000s signing a petition
against GEMA in Germany, the uneasiness and often outright hatred
against collecting societies across the planet, the time is ripe for
change. The Sharing Licence will create another massive push to create a
more fair, transparent and equitable system, that remunerates the whole
breadth and depth of cultural diversity we are enjoying, taking from all
and feeding the many.

I really don't see any meaningful alternative to the idea of collective
management itself. I am very eager, though, to explore how it can be
organized differently than in the nationally monopolistic, centralized,
bureaucratic bodies that grew in the 19th and 20th century. An
Internet-age, peer-to-peer based, largely automated, transparent and
audited system of collective re-distribution would be a really cool
project. Anybody interested to join?

The idea that, because culture has (again) become environmental, it
should be paid for by all, I still find plausible - like education, the
preservation of our cultural heritage in libraries and museums, the BBC.

But a fair distribution is tricky. I'm not assuming that it will happen
automatically. We will have to push for it.

If Brazil should actually decide to try the Sharing Licence, the real
work will start. The work of designing a system that takes everyone
along and has checks and balances hard-wired into it. If it really
happens, we will need the help of all of you.

Fede, if you think I've been mislead, please show me the light.

Abraço Fede, regards to all,
Volker



Am 02.09.2010 um 17:26 schrieb Federico Heinz:

> > I'm sorry, Volker, but as catchy as the headline "Brazil is putting
> > an end to the ‘war on copying,’ at R$ 3,00 per month" is, it is also
> > massively misleading.
> >
> > The whole idea of collecting a fee from all broadband connections is
> > a solution looking for a problem, and one that collects from the many
> > to feed the few to boot. R$3.00 may seem little, but if you take into
> > account the fact that the "Banda Larga Popular" in Brazil costs
> > roughly R$30, you realize that this is a 10% price hike for
> > low-income families.
> >
> > These proposals will keep cropping up, of course, because a few
> > people and companies stand to benefit massively from it. But the way
> > to stop the copyright war is not to take a fee, it's just to realize
> > that people have decided to take culture in their own hands after a
> > couple of centuries of delegating it to publishing houses, and get
> > over with it.
> >
> > 	Fede




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