The Anarchist in the Library: an interview with Siva Vaidhyanathan
Good discussion of how “democracy and creative culture share this notion that they work best when the raw materials are cheap and easy and easily distributed. You can look at any cultural development that?s made a difference in the world?reggae, blues, crocheting?you can look at any of these and say, y?know, it?s really about communities sharing. It?s about communities moving ideas between and among people, revision, theme and variation, and ultimately a sort of consensus about what is good and what should stay around. We recognize that?s how culture grows? In the last 25 to 30 years, the United States government made a very overt choice. The United States government decided that the commercial interests of a handful of companies–we can name them as the News Corporation, Disney, AOL-Time Warner, Vivendi–these sorts of corporations were selling products that could gain some sort of trade advantage for Americans.
You can look at any cultural development that?s made a difference in the world–reggae, blues, crocheting–and say, y?know, it?s really about communities sharing. Therefore all policy has shifted in their favor. That means policy about who gets to own and run networks, who gets to own and run radio stations, how long copyright protection will last, what forms copyright protections will take. We?ve put ourselves in a really ugly situation though, because we?ve forgotten that a regulatory system like copyright was designed to encourage creativity, to encourage the dissemination of knowledge. These days, copyright is so strong and lasts so long that it?s counterproductive to those efforts….”