This is reposted from my ooooold LiveJournal account, which I intend to delete if they let me!
The writing below is a little review I did after I got home.
Here I am in Toronto, at the CopyCamp conference: http://copycamp.ca/
It has been interesting checking out the generation gap at the conference and how the perspectives about copyright seems to fall squarely into the age & class divisions. As one friend put it “If you have money, you’re with copyright, if you don’t have money, you’re against it” (ha ha). Now that’s an oversimplification, but there is some merit to it for sure. At the beginning of the conference, I was secretly a little worried that the young people would be there for photo ops with some bad guys, but it turned out that everyone was very approachable and talkative, and many of the older people seemed genuinely interested in what the younger people have to say, even though I’m not sure if they really understood some of the values we were trying to present – like some people think money is only a necessary evil, or that young people today don’t want to support a system that condemns millions of people to die every year because of greed over intellectual property rights (e.g. Africa and AIDS medication).
I’ve also “re-learned” that many arts organizations are crumbling because they are failing to respond well to the needs of young media artists, which are different than the needs of the artists who started many of these organizations in the late 70s. The values are different. It’s all still salvageable, but good people with strong vision and connections to more underground artists are needed in order to keep organizations in touch with what’s really going on. This is easier said than done, though…nobody wants to lose their job, nor hire people that want to change things. The government has spent so much money on building these institutions, but there is a real danger of a lot of that going to waste if arts organizations don’t stay relevant to their communities and support the needs of more underground artists who they were there to support in the beginning.
Also, I’ve learned a clear distinction in copyright ethics: there is the issue of 1) moral rights (attribution) and 2) economic rights. Most “solutions” to copyright problems focus on only one of those two categories, OR if they focus on both, they often trample the very basic right to freedom of expression that is guaranteed in our Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
I did a talk as part of the SpeedGeek section of their programming. 200 people were divided up into 14 groups, then there were 14 stations where individuals gave 5 minute talks on a diverse selection of topics relating to copyright. The groups would rotate around the space, with a bell ringing every 5 minutes for peopel to switch stations. I did a talk on net.labels. I think they are posting the audio online soon, so check the CopyCamp website in a few days if your’e interested. Man, that was an excellent exercise in talking really mfing fast and answering difficult questions from super high up arts administrators in 10 seconds or less. Whew!
I also ran a session on VJing, where we discussed how some VJs are sharing clips through archive.org with permissive Creative Commons lisencing. The conference organizers seemed to be having a lot of problems getting the right AV and rooms for people, so it was a little frustrating getting set up and being moved around afterwards, but the talk was good, and it has inspired me towards other new directions for my work. I’ll post the session notes on the CopyCamp wiki in the next few days.
I had an amazing time being with my friends Aimé Dontigny (runs the NoType label, works for another record label, activist for artists, from Montréal) and Max Haiven (activist in glabalization studies, incredibly brilliant, lives in Hamilton). Meeting with old friends when traveling is the icing and the cherry on the cake. I love those guys so much! They remind me that I am actually kinda smart and I can do crazy big things with my life if I cut the crap and go for it.
This has been a very interesting and inspiring conference. Check out the website listed at the top of this page, as the notes from the sessions will be posted over the next few days.