[-empyre-] PRNMS notes-- forward from Steve Cisler
for some unknown reason, Steve's post keeps bouncing. We can't figure
out why, and so must forward.
apologies to Steve and thanks for participating on our list.
Christina McPhee asked me to post something about the
PRNMS and my group's involvement.
San Jose, California
Pacific Rim New Media Summit: Piracy and the Pacific
August 7-8, 2006
Unlike many of you at this summit I took part in this
working group on piracy without much specialized
knowledge, other than my work as a librarian most of
whom have the recently isolated (and unpatented)
sharing gene. In some places this gets us into trouble
with existing intellectual property laws and
However, some legislation has made libraries an
exception, a sort of legal sharing oasis. In 2005,
After seeing an amateur video of street activity in
Bangalore, India made by Solomon Benjamin at the
incommunicado conference in Amsterdam, I thought it
would be interesting to make a video about pirate and
underground economic activity in some of the market
places in the Pacific rim. What I collected was
limited to the Americas, but it is representative of
what you might find in China, Korea, or Australia.
At the same time I began collecting other videos,
articles, and books about the enormous topic that
includes the following.
technology of copy protection
legal battles between companies and against consumers
documentary film making
combinations of existing media to form a new work of
music, art, or data set--as in Google map mashups.
Last month there was a mashup camp here in Silicon
Valley, and it was not backed by pirate, open source,
or anarchist collectives but by Adobe, Intel,
Microsoft and O'Reilley Press.
Other topics included
counterfeits and forgeries: money, fashion, art,
documents, almost every conceivable article from
shrunken heads (South America) to shoe polish (Rwanda)
to fake eggs (China) and of course watches, lighters,
fake drugs and airline parts--which are probably the
most harmful to the general population, at least
compared to knockoff DVDs, tiffany jewelry, or golf
Indigenous IP issues are a whole industry full of
declarations and manifestos that try to address
commonalities among the thousands of ethnic groups
fighting to hold on to valued parts of their cultures.
American Indians have some legislation that could
protect their crafts and art businesses, while others
are just becoming aware of some of the possibilities.
The language of IP and piracy is value-laden. Some
challenge the concept of property, of individual
ownership, while others stress enclosure and
protection of creativity and innovation. Piracy was
once reserved for sea going crimes (14 c onward) that
were considered abhorrent by all peoples (except the
pirate) and to extend that pejorative word to those
who freely copied books (17th c) was sort of overkill.
Land-pirates was the early term for copyright
infringers. Sea-going pirates rose in certain seas
and declined with changes in trade and enforcement.
There has been a resurgence in recent times,
especially around Indonesia, Somalia, off Basra, Iraq,
and off the W. African coast.
I wondered what the consequences would be if sea-going
pirates raided a container ship and seized a cargo of
pirate DVDs bound for the U.S. Would that be a crime?
Environmentalists, some ethnobotanists and local
peoples talk of bio-piracy on the part of
pharmaceutical companies and research arms of
From my observations and readings over the past year,
the appropriation/theft/piracy/plagiarism activities
by individuals, organizations, and nations depends on
their own desires and needs. I worked with an
indigenous webmaster in Northern thailand whose
software came from a disk i wish I could show you. It
was entitled "Steve Jobs Personal Library" and had an
old photo of Jobs in an Indian ashram in the 70's. On
the CD (cost about $2) was a full suite of web
development tools from macromedia, Adobe, plus
Microsoft office. He was using to for his tribal web
site whose goal was to publicize and protect his
people's cultural properties.
Apple's founders began by selling blue boxes to bypass
long distance phone charges, and the company
appropriated Xerox technology (the Alto design
manuals), got into copyright and look and feel suits
with the Beatles and with microsoft. Most recently
Jobs called France's efforts to open up access to the
iPod, "state supported piracy." Such shifts in point
of view are common, and the Chinese know quite well
the history of technology policy of my own country
which went from a nation officially advocating
technolgy theft in the late 18th century and very lax
copyright and patent laws to the one with the most
stringent and with the clout to try and force it on
The one common value I think all parties (from Lessig,
Stahlman, Louis Vitton, Acoma Pueblo potters, Pfizer,
to the entertainment trade groups like RIAA) is the
need to protect in some way the reputation/identity of
an individual creator, a collective or ethnic group, a
corporation, or even a nation (witness Nigeria's
ongoing problem to change its image). For many but not
all, this is related to money; for others it is
related to innovation, artistic creativity and
recognition of such accomplishments.
The IP garden is full of some very strange mushrooms.
We could spend days telling odd anecdotes. I'll finish
with just one:
Konrad Kujau was born in Germany in the 30's. Growing
up in the DDR he made money by selling fake
autographed photos of East German dignitaries. He
became very famous when he was found to be the forger
behind the infamous Hitler's diaries purchased by Der
Spiegel. He was also a fine artist, and his forgeries
of grand masters, Miro, and Klimt drew high prices.
However, after his death his niece opened a museum of
his fakes and earlier this year she was arrested for
buying large numbers of Chinese produced fakes--an
area called Fushan is notorious for these factories--
and signing her uncle's name and selling them for
large sums on eBay. The forger/fake artist had such a
good reputation that it became a crime to misrepresent
In Gallerie des Fälschungen in Berlin there was a
children's workshop where Kujau's fake Miro art was
used to inspire young children to make their own
copies. According to a German who is boycotting this
conference, the gallery is closed.
Late last year Dept. of Justice secretary Alberto
Gonzalez spoke to students at a middle school here in
San Jose. His message to the kids was why it's wrong
to download and share music and games. It's part of
the greater government message that:
"Global trade in pirated and counterfeit goods
threatens innovation.” Sec.of Commerce Carlos
Anti-piracy efforts are being pushed at many fora such
as the g8 meetings, the Central American Free Trade
Agreement, Asia-Pacific economic forum, bilateral
negotiations with smaller hotbeds of piracy such as
Paraguay and of course countries like China and Russia
Pirated VCD (up to 100) are included in the purchase
of Chinese VCD players, thus the 500 manufacturers
benefit from the growth of this favored pirate format
for movies. Chinese consumers will not tolerate the
camcorder copies because VCD from DVD is much better
Currently, one of the popular routes entails a master
from the US, a stamper made in Malaysia or Taiwan,
replication in Hong Kong, distribution first in
Mainland China, 39 and then going for the global
Our working group assembled a CD of videos, articles,
entire books, white papers, and manifestos about
intellectual property. While it includes the views of
industry and law enforcement, social scientists, and
journalists, there is also a section advocating other
IP regimes. What follows is a listing of this section.
At this time I do not have the URLs, but you can
search for the titles and key words.
San Jose, California
--Commons & Digital Culture--
alfsarai.html Intellectual Property and the
Knowledge Culture Commons, an Indian collaboration
that is critical of the "property model."
anarchistlibrary.txt. The Anarchist in the Library:
The Moral Panics over Copyright and Free Speech. Talk
by Siva Vaidhyanathan.
Artists Rights Euro.pdf. Artists Rights in a European
During the 3rd Session of the European Cultural
December 3-5, 2004
Benkler_FINAL_YLJ114-2.pdf Sharing Nicely: On
Shareable Goods and the Emergence of Sharing as a
Modality of Economic Production
Benkler_Wealth_Of_Networks.pdf The Wealth of Networks:
How Social Production Transforms Markets and Freedom
booklet.pdf. Contested Commons. Trespassing Publics: A
Conference on Inequalities, Conflicts and Intellectual
Property. Indian meeting critical of IP regimes.
brazil.html Report on IP projects in Brazil.
comedies of fair use.txt. NYU symposium on IP program
and pointers to files.
cspdcomichigh.pdf Comic: "tales from the public
domain. Bound by Law?
DB01introduction.pdf. INTRODUCTION TO ‘THE (DIGITAL)
CULTURE INDUSTRY’ Geoff Cox, Joasia Krysa & Anya Lewin
DemocInn.pdf. Democratizing innovation. Eric von
enclosurewithin.pdf Enclosure Without and Within the
Anthony McCann, Ph.D.
free_use.pdf Yes you can, Fair use, by Peter Jaszi.
FutureOfWIPO.pdf. Geneva Declaration on the Future of
the World Intellectual Property Organization
Information Feudalism.pdf alias Information Feudalism
(book) Peter Drahos with John Braithwaite.
Lessig. Includes the book Free Culture
mashup.txt The mash-up revolution, by Roberta Cruger.
Musical mixes and combinations.
Open%20Letter-english.pdf Appropriation Art (Canada,
politicalcommons.pdf "open knowledge" journal
Survey of Artists' Rights. SURVEY OF ARTISTS' RIGHTS
During the 3rd Session of the European Cultural
December 3-5, 2004 Genoa, Italy
Updated_BPFAQ.pdf The “Statement of Best Practices”
FAQ fair use for film makers
wi_ipcityedition.pdf World Information IP City
Edition. Open source, knowledge monopoly
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