"Money was maliciously introduced in ancient times as a tool of enslavement" -
Michael Tellinger

"The present belongs to the future and future generations, and all old laws, religious and other, should be abrogated immediately. Free us!" - Vinay Gupta on Twitter

"You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete." - R. Buckminster Fuller

"You find the strangest ways to be positive!" - Diane Duane, Wizards Abroad

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Internet democracy, and Rip!: A Remix Manifesto (film recommendation)

Yesterday I got one from demandprogress.org saying that Sen. Wyden (OR) is willing to filibuster to help hold back the current attack on Internet freedom, and suggesting that we send him our names to read on the floor if it comes to that. I eagerly signed and Tweeted. Here's the link to go there directly, and add your name if you  haven't done it yet: 

Now, 50,000 in less than a day. Apparently I'm not the only one who knows this is important. Hooray for Sen. Wyden. 100,000 names would keep him filibustering until he dropped (not that I'd want to see that happen) but really, what a great way to help him in the fight. I know politics don't often measure up these days, but when the system is working for us, all the more reason to lend our voices in support, I think.

To me, this is a wonderful story - both about online life and what we can accomplish with it, and about the fact that many people really DO care about Internet freedom (and are, dare I hope, waking up to the crisis). Corporations have already made deep inroads, and will continue to push, but this gives me hope that we can push back effectively. Until we have our own resilient Internet systems functioning, anyway, an online Commons not owned by corporations. Which I hope we'll see before too long.

All of which has everything to do with an important cultural issue that often intersects with restrictions on Internet freedom: copyright and copyleft, human creativity, sharing of work and building upon the past.
The remixers manifesto:
1. Culture always builds on the past.
2. The past always tries to control the future. 
3. Our Future is becoming less free. 
4. To build free societies, you must limit control of the past.

Looking for poster I came across this greatwebsite
Ever since I started this blog I've collected good links on the issue of intellectual property, copyright and copyleft, and the Cultural Commons movement to reclaim human culture for the benefit of humans. I love the reference to the Commons, because it places this issue in a historical context. It's not just about the Internet, the Internet is just the most recent Commons territory, or shared resource, that those in power want to grab for themselves. It all comes down to that: what (other than laws they wrote themselves, fronted into law by legislators in their employ) gives the powerful the right to put fences up limiting life for the rest of us? Certainly no moral, ethical, or even commonsensical right. The Earth, and human culture, belong to everybody. Anyway, some links about all this are collected in a section of the right-hand column of this blog.

Which brings me to this film recommendation. This week on Free Speech TV I stumbled upon a great documentary, Rip!: A Remix Manifesto, which does a beautiful job of telling the story and defining the issue of intellectual property as a concept, and explaining about the ongoing lawfare (I love that word! Saw it first used by John Robb) by monied interests on the creative commons of human culture as it functions naturally. You can also view the documentary online; in keeping with the values propelling it, the film is there for anyone to see, mash up, and even pay for, at whatever level you feel is right for you. Now that's democracy in action. And authentic culture.

Here's a wonderful example of global culture at work in a mashup project - Star Wars Uncut. Now think: why would the filmmaker and the whole creative crew have wanted to discourage this? They probably wouldn't because obviously it only increases the original film's popularity and demonstrates the public's love for it. And makes you appreciate the artistry of the original film even more, even as you love these hilarious but affectionate recreations of it by people without those means. Who would object? Idiot studio executives and their lawyers would. Fortunately they didn't get in the way. I wonder what the story was there. 

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