Re: Future position of libraries towards copyright 2

Subject: Re: Future position of libraries towards copyright 2
From: Tjebbe van Tijen (
Date: to 08 tammi 1998 - 10:45:27 EET

Two years ago I organized as a part of a bigger conference a session
on copyright. No transcripts of that part of the conference have been
made but I think that the introductionary text might be relevant to
the questions posed by Martijn de Blaauw on this list. I feel that a critical
historical analysis is lacking in the copyright debate and I would strongly
suggest to study the works of the late Ithiel de Sola Pool (Profesoor of
Science at MIT) 'Technologies of freedom, on free speech in an electronic
age' (1983) and 'Technologies without boundaries, on telecommunications in a
global age' (1990).


Tactical media go beyond the rigid division that exists between
the mainstream and commercial, the marginal and independent
circuit. Tactical media are crossing borders taking the free
spaces that the media world still offers.

Copyright in the next century

With the 21th century approaching and the dramatic changes taking
place in the media landscape, the basic principles of copyright
and intellectual property are still rooted in the response of
society to the development of the art of printing four centuries
ago. These responses range from the early book-privileges in
France and Italy in the 16th century, to the English statue of
Queen Anne against book piracy in 1710 and the international Bern
Convention created in the 19th century. Government interference
with multiplication and dissemination of information always has
had a double character, the protection of business interests of
printers, publishers and authors on the one hand and the control
of content and dissemination of what is published on the other.

Freedom of speech and freedom of the press as now embedded in
almost all constitutions, consequently is a right won by struggle
as a response to undesirable government interference. As new
information and dissemination media were created such as
telegraph, telephone, radio and television, there have been no
continuation on the basis of achievements like 'freedom of the
press', but on the contrary from the beginning on the free use
of these 'new media' have been restricted. There is a danger that
the same thing will happen with a call for legal regulations and
restrictions for the new electronic forms of creation and
information transfer. The technical possibilities for re-use,
montage and collage, for duplication and dissemination have never
been so great, on the basis of this a cultural renewing could
take place. On the contrary the prevailing tendency is one of
limiting of possibilities, keeping to old market principles and
extension of the range and duration of copyright. There are
countless propositions for the deployment of the now available
technology just for control of the fulfilment and observance of
new restrictive laws and regulations.

Without questioning the reasonableness of compensation for
authors and a protection of the work of publishers and producers
altogether, it is necessary to develop another vision on the
functioning of 'intellectual property' in our society. The
defenders of the actual form of copyright have been able to
develop a powerful lobby which has a great influence on
governmental decisions, a voice which is so strong that even the
attempt to start a debate on copyright seems to be taboo. The
Next 5 Minutes Conference wants to call upon those who have or
are trying to develop another vision, as yet to open the debate
on copyright.

Bernard Timberg
Co-author (with John Shelton Lawrence) of the book "Fair use and
free inquiry, copyright law and the new media". Associate
professor of the Media Studies Department of Radford University
USA. Is involved in critical analysis of aspects of mass media
since 1976 on the basis of materials taken from those media
(montage critique).

Sut Jhally
Professor of Communication, University of Massachusetts Amherst
USA. Founder/director of The Media Education Foundation, a
non-profit organisation that involves itself with the study of
the social influence of the media. In 1991 he produces a critical
analysis of the television station MTV "Dreamworlds:
desire/sex/power in rock video" on videotape and did get a
juridical conflict about this with MTV.

Jaap Kloosterman
Director International Institute of Social History Amsterdam.
Archive, library and research institute since 1935 that collects,
catalogues and preserves a part of the (international) cultural
heritage. These materials, raging from personal archives and
libraries to photo collections and new media, are publicly
available for education and research.

Tjebbe van Tijen
Media artist and collector of publications from alternative and
radical social movements for the International Institute of
Social History, including pirate editions, anty-copyright
movement and 'forbidden publications'.

The discussion will be chaired by Margriet Koedooder, Amsterdam
lawyer specialized in copyright.

Friday 19. January 1996 Paradiso Weteringschans Amsterdam from

Tjebbe van Tijen/Imaginary Museum Projects
using the Antenna and NLnet Internet Services

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