[A2k] Ministry of Culture in Brazil - my account

corporacion innovarte innovartecorporacion at gmail.com
Fri Apr 15 11:52:29 PDT 2011

Any updates on what is happening on Brazil Copyright Office?

2011/3/14 Ronaldo Lemos <ronaldolemos123 at gmail.com>

> I would like to share my post at Freedom to
> Tinker<http://www.freedom-to-tinker.com/>about the Ministry of Culture
> in Brazil and hot it reversed its policies
> regarding the copyright reform.
> Best regards,
> Ronaldo
> http://www.freedom-to-tinker.com/blog/rlemos/legacy-risk-how-new-ministry-culture-brazil-reversed-its-digital-agenda
> A Legacy at Risk: How the new Ministry of Culture in Brazil reversed its
> digital agenda
> By Ronaldo Lemos <http://www.freedom-to-tinker.com/user/rlemos> - Posted
> on
> March 14th, 2011 at 12:14 pm
> Former Brazilian president Luiz Inacio Lula da
> Silva<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luiz_In%C3%A1cio_Lula_da_Silva>has
> become a prominent figure in the political world. When he completed
> his
> second and last term last December, 87% of Brazilians approved his
> government, an unprecedented high rate. So it is not surprising that his
> successor Dilma Roussef <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dilma_Rousseff>, the
> first woman elected president in Brazil, took office with his strong
> support
> and the promise of continuity.
> However, disappointment about that promise is growing, at least in regard
> to
> one of Lula’s landmark policies: his support to the so-called “digital
> culture” policies. “Digital Culture” is the expression Brazilians use to
> refer to a broad agenda. Its principle is that technology is a crucial tool
> for cultural policies, especially because it allows the democratization of
> access, and the production and dissemination of cultural artifacts. It
> includes also the reform of copyright, especially because the Brazilian
> copyright has become notoriously
> restrictive<
> http://www.consumersinternational.org/media/453199/a2k-reports2010_b.pdf>,
> preventing consumers from uploading their CD´s into an iPod, a library from
> digitizing an old book for preservation, or a professor from using excerpts
> of a film in classroom. Finally, the digital culture agenda also includes
> the support to open licensing models, such as free software or Creative
> Commons.
> These policies were successfully deployed by Gilberto Gil, a popular
> musician appointed Minister of Culture in 2003. He was profiled as early as
> 2004 by Wired Magazine
> <http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/12.11/linux.html>as a champion of
> free culture and free software. Mr. Gil became such a
> popular politician in the country that some started calling him “the Lula
> of
> Lula”, in reference to his high popularity and progressive policies, within
> an already popular and progressive government.
> Mr. Gil’s policies were continued by his successor (and former chief of
> staff) Juca Ferreira, who was appointed Minister of Culture in 2008 after
> Gil resigned to devote more time to his music career. One of the most
> successful policies implemented by Gil/Juca was the creation of the
> so-called “cultural hotspots”. The
> program<http://www.stanford.edu/group/shl/cgi-bin/drupal/?q=node/35
> >provides
> resources to grassroots cultural initiatives and organizations to
> acquire multimedia production equipment and broadband Internet. More than
> 4,000 hotspots were created, spread over more than 1,000 cities in the
> country. Many of them in poor areas, rural communities, or favelas (shanty
> towns).
> Mr. Gil described the idea of the hotspots as an “anthropological tao-in”,
> in reference to the Chinese therapeutic massage that when applied to the
> right spots of the body, awakens its internal energy. According to his
> view,
> with the right incentives, it was possible to energize and foster cultural
> practices in places often neglected. His view was that every citizen should
> be considered a producer, and not only a consumer of culture. The hotspots
> should provide the tools necessary for access, production, and
> dissemination
> of local culture, especially for those coming from poor or peripheral
> areas.
> Information technology and the hacker
> ethic<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hacker_ethic>was an integral part
> of that vision, including incentives for the adoption
> of free software and Creative Commons, what eventually led to a national
> discussion about the impact of copyright over cultural production, spurring
> the the ongoing copyright reform process.
> As Mr. Gil put it in his own words in 2005, at a
> speech<http://www.nyu.edu/fas/NewsEvents/Events/Minister_Gil_speech.pdf>he
> delivered at NYU:
> *I, Gilberto Gil, Brazilian citizen and citizen of the World, Minister of
> Culture of Brazil, work with music, at the Ministry, and in all dimensions
> of my life under the inspiration of the hacker ethic - and concerned with
> the issues of my world and my time present me, such as the issue of digital
> inclusion, the issue of free software and the issue of regulation and
> development of the production and dissemination of audiovisual content by
> any means, for any purpose.
> ...
> I want indeed for the Ministry of Culture of Brazil to be a laboratory for
> new ideas, capable of inventing new procedures for the world’s creative
> industries, and capable of proposing suggestions aimed at overcoming the
> present dead ends – I did indeed think that my country should dare and not
> wait for solutions to come from outside, from societies that would tell us
> Brazilians which path should be followed for our development, as if our
> future could only be our becoming a nation such as the ones that exist here
> or in Europe.*
> Gil´s speech seems now almost lost in a distant time. The reason is that
> the
> newly appointed Ministry of Culture, Mrs. Ana de
> Hollanda<http://pt.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ana_de_Hollanda>,
> has taken advantage of her first weeks in office to reverse much of what
> was
> built in the past 8 years. By way of example, one of her first actions was
> to remove<
> http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20110209/04320213024/brazils-new-culture-minister-dumps-creative-commons-ministrys-website.shtml
> >the
> Creative Commons license from the Ministry’s website, without any
> prior
> note. The license had been used for the past 6 years, and the Ministry of
> Culture was actually the pioneer in its adoption at the government level.
> It
> is worth noting that the CC licenses continue to be used at other
> government
> branches, including the official weblog <http://blog.planalto.gov.br/> of
> president Dilma Roussef. Ironically, at the same day the licenses were
> taken
> down by the Ministry of Culture, the Ministry of Planning issued a
> normative
> instruction <
> http://convergenciadigital.uol.com.br/inf/in_softwarelivre.pdf>fostering
> the adoption of open licenses, and expressly mentioning Creative
> Commons.
> This contradiction led prominent politicians in Brazil, including Congress
> member Paulo Teixeira, to claim that the Ministry of Culture has engaged in
> policies that conflict with the overall direction of the Federal
> Government.
> Mr. Teixeira reminds<
> http://www.cartamaior.com.br/templates/materiaMostrar.cfm?materia_id=17343
> >that
> during the presidential campaign, president Dilma Roussef met with
> Lawrence Lessig, founder of Creative Commons, during an important campaign
> act<
> http://idgnow.uol.com.br/blog/campus-party/2010/01/29/dilma-nao-acredito-que-esta-eleicao-possa-passar-sem-blogueiros-e-twitteiros
> >.
> She also publicly committed <http://mariafro.com.br/wordpress/?p=23731> to
> go ahead with the copyright reform and the digital culture agenda. Before
> that, in 2009, both president Lula and Dilma (then his Secretary of State)
> attended together the International Free Software Forum (FISL 10), one of
> the largest free software global events, which takes place in the city of
> Porto Alegre. There, Lula's
> speech<
> http://softwarelivre.org/portal/fisl10/veja-escute-e-leia-na-integra-o-discurso-do-presidente-lula-no-fisl-10
> >focused
> on his support to digital culture, Internet freedom and free
> software.
> Other source of criticism is the proximity of the new Minister of Culture
> with the copyright collecting societies. By way of example, in her first
> weeks in office, the Minister agreed to meet with Hildebrando Pontes, a
> lawyer that works for the collecting societies who has become notorious for
> arguing that copyright should last
> forever<
> http://arakinmonteiro.wordpress.com/2011/02/03/hildebrando-pontes-e-a-defesa-do-direito-autoral-com-duracao-perpetua/
> >.
> At the same time, the Ministry declined to meet with representatives of
> civil society, including those from the “cultural hotspots” program. She
> then fired the chief copyright officer who led the reform process for the
> past 6 years, and appointed Mrs. Marcia Regina Barbosa, a lawyer who worked
> with Hildebrando Pontes.
> Collecting societies are a controversial institution in Brazil. They face
> strong discontentment from rights holders, who claim they are not paid
> properly. They also face discontentment from their paying “customers”, who
> claim their criteria for setting royalty prices are simply obscure. They
> have also been declared by congress inquiry
> committees<
> http://dl.dropbox.com/u/513711/CPI%20ECAD%20-%20Relat%C3%B3rio%20Final.pdf
> >inquiry
> as lacking transparency and clear accounting. One of the goals of
> the copyright reform initiated by Mr. Gilberto Gil was precisely to
> implement a minimum set of regulation over the collecting societies. By law
> they have the monopoly over their business, but unlike other countries, no
> regulation applies to their activities, which remain excused from any sort
> of independent assessment. Regulation is also supported by many prominent
> Brazilian musicians <
> http://brasilmusica.com.br/site/destaque/terceira-via/>,
> who have recently become vocal about the issue.
> The Ministry of Culture change of policy has drawn the attention of both
> national and international organizations. Even before the Minister´s
> inauguration, an open letter <http://www.cartaaberta.org.br/> subscribed
> by
> more that 1,500 representatives of civil society organizations in Brazil
> was
> posted online expressing concern with the possible change of direction.
> Folha de São Paulo, the largest newspaper in the country, wrote a piece
> about the letter. The Minister, however, declined to provide any comments
> to
> the journalist. To this date, the letter has not been replied or even
> acknowledged by the Minister or her staff.
> The Minister´s actions, together with the absence of clear statements
> justifying her decisions, has generated considerable uproar. A public
> campaign called Sou MinCC <http://twibbon.com/join/sou-mincc> (“I am
> MinCC”)
> emerged (MinC is the acronym for Ministry of Culture - MinCC is the result
> of MinC + CC, in reference to the Creative Commons licenses). Besides that,
> the Commons Strategies Group, an international NGO, prepared an open
> letter<
> http://www.commonsstrategies.org/content/open-letter-president-dilma-rousseff
> >(led
> by Silke Helfrich at the World Social Forum in Dakar) to President
> Dilma, also expressing concern about the new policies. The letter was
> released on February, 21st, and gathered the support of organizations such
> as Creative Commons, the Free Knowledge Institute (Netherlands), La
> Quadrature du Net (France), among others.
> This is an important moment for the history of cultural policies in Brazil.
> There is a shared feeling that much of what was built in the past 8 years
> is
> at risk. A heated debate took over the Brazilian public sphere, with
> articles being published by all the major newspapers. The collecting
> societies and their members have taken the stand to argue in favor of the
> Minister, claiming that the decisions taken so fare are a “sovereign act”,
> and that the collecting societies should indeed be exempt of any external
> supervision, and the copyright reform should be halted for good.
> But the place where the debate is really developing on a daily basis is the
> Internet. Bloggers, twittterers and social network members have engaged
> fiercely in the discussion of the current situation. Many of them were too
> young to even acknowledge the appointment of Gilberto when took office. It
> is a new generation that has risen for the first time to debate the future
> of culture and technology policies in Brazil. Inadvertently, the new
> Minister Ana de Hollanda is contributing to the emergence of new generation
> of voices online. One now can only hope that she will eventually listen to
> them.
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Luis Villarroel
Director de Investigacion
Corporación Innovarte

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