the vonderful vorld of virtual v

5. April 2013

A Proposal for Legalizing Small-Scale Physical Copyright Piracy Book Publishing, Video Films and Music in Developing Countries

Filed under: English,text — Schlagwörter: , , , , , , — vg @ 02:02

Grassmuck, Volker Ralf, A Proposal for Legalizing Small-Scale Physical Copyright Piracy Book Publishing, Video Films and Music in Developing Countries (April 4, 2013). Available at SSRN:

The paper looks at the formative phase of media systems particularly in developing nations. It finds that copyright piracy in those situations serves a purpose not only in providing access to knowledge and creative works to audiences who would otherwise be excluded but also as the original accumulation of media infrastructures, know-how and capital that over time leads to the establishment of original forms of creative expression and legal media industries.

Looking at the examples of the publishing of books by foreign authors in 19th century USA, the emergence of the video film industry in Nigeria and briefly at the popular dance music in northern Brazil it shows the beneficial effects of piracy. From a public policy point of view, the paper then considers the benefits of copyright piracy and its harms, the most severe ones of which are caused by its illegality. In order to balance benefits and harms, it concludes by proposing to legalize small-scale physical copyright piracy in developing nations.

Keywords: piracy, copyright law, informal copyrights, access to knowledge, book publishing in 19th century USA, Nollywood, Tecnobrega

19. Februar 2013

„TPB AFK“ – Simon Klose’s documentary about The Pirate Bay out now

Filed under: English,News — Schlagwörter: , , , , , — vg @ 19:44

tpbafkThe Pirate Bay – Away From Keyboard,  a close encounter with the three founders of the world’s largest peer-to-peer file-sharing site, premiered at the Berlin Film Festival and synchronuously on the Net on 8 February. Now, the film can be watched and bought at its official site and torrented at — where else — The Pirate Bay.

„One reason for making this film was that I couldn’t relate to the media industry’s claim that sharing files was a threat to creativity. To me, the unrestricted access to culture was the very spark in the online revolution, where every imaginable artistic expression exploded with creativity.“ (Director’s Statement)


23. Oktober 2012

Digitalia 2013, Salvador da Bahia, 1-5 February 2013

DigitaliaDigitalia 2013
Salvador da Bahia
1-5 February 2013

After a grandiose start in 2012, the music-based digital culture conference and festival Digitalia goes into its second year. It is part of an ambitious endeavor that includes research, education, publications, numerous events and the establishment of a Centre for Digital Music and Culture. Digitalia is organised by the social network Audiosfera and the research group of the same name, hosted at the Institute of Humanities, Arts and Sciences Professor Milton Santos at the Federal University of Bahia under the direction of Messias Bandeira. I’m honored to have been invited as one of the curators of Digitalia.

Next year’s themes are: Music and digital culture; economy of online music; copyrights, music and digital culture; music, digital culture and innovation; transversalities. For more details see (in Portuguese):

Chamada de Trabalhos (Call for Contributions), open till 15 November 2012.

24. September 2012

Cultures and Ethics of Sharing

Filed under: English,text — Schlagwörter: , , , , — vg @ 17:51
Cultures and Ethics of Sharing

Cultures and Ethics of Sharing

Wolfgang Sützl, Felix Stalder, Ronald Maier, Theo Hug (Eds.): Cultures and Ethics of Sharing / Kulturen und Ethiken des Teilens
2012, innsbruck university pressiup ISBN 978-3-902811-74-5 • Download the book here.

This is a volume of essays about sharing. Few people could have predicted that practices of sharing would gain such prominence in contemporary society. It is, arguably, one of the most unexpected developments of the early 21st century. Surprising, but not inexplicable. Over the last decade, numerous developments have taken place that created conditions under which new practices could flourish and the roles of sociability and sharing are being re-examined. For example, the very idea of man and woman as homo economicus, that is creatures that will naturally gravitate towards the pursuit of narrow self-interest and, thus, the need of society to organize itself as to make productive use of this supposed essential characteristic, has been called into question with renewed vigor.

With contributions – half in English, half in German – by Manuela Farinosi, Manfred Faßler, Leopoldina Fortunati, Michael Funk, Doreen Hartmann, Andrea Hemetsberger, Aletta Hinsken, Tobias Hölterhof, Nicholas A. John, Magnus Lawrie, Claudia Paganini, Julia Rone, Klaus Rummler, Katherine Sarikakis, Hans-Martin Schönherr-Mann, Sebastian Sevignani, Alexander Unger and Karsten D. Wolf.

My own contribution – „The Sharing Turn. Why we are generally nice and have a good chance to cooperate our way out of the mess we have gotten ourselves into“ – will come online shortly.

12. August 2012

How the U.S. is Controlling the Internet

Filed under: English,Video — Schlagwörter: , — vg @ 18:42

Must-see AlJazeera documentary. From SOPA that was brought down by the Internet public, only to be followed-up by CISPA, an FBI man declaring that „any type of activity online can be considered a security threat,“ to NSA whistleblower Thomas Drake talking about the total surveillance put in place after 11.9. Anything goes under the guise of protecting the US economy or its national security.

20. Mai 2012

Portuguese Law Draft on the Sharing Licence

Filed under: English,News — Schlagwörter: , , , , — vg @ 14:46

The Communist Party of Portugal has proposed a law on legalizing file-sharing in exchange for a levy: Partido Communista Portuguguês (PCP): Projeto de Lei n.o 228/XII/1.a. Regime Jurídico da Partilha de Dados Informáticos, 4 de Maio de 2012.

Here are the main features of the proposal:

  • It permits non-commercial sharing of works whose rights holders have not expressly prohibited their sharing.
  • ISPs shall pay 0,75 € per customer and month.
  • The rate shall be adjusted annually to inflation.
  • 70% of the levy goes to collecting societies, of which 40% to authors, 30% to performers and 30% to producers and publishers. 30% goes to the public arts and film funding agencies.
  • Prohibiting sharing is done by a declaration to the Minister of Culture and/or by making it explicit on the original work.
  • The Minister of Culture maintains a public list of prohibited works.
  • The communications authority provides data on Internet access, fixed and mobile.

15. Februar 2012

Sharing: Culture and the Economy in the Internet Age

Aigrain_Sharing_coverPhilippe Aigrain, Sharing: Culture and the Economy in the Internet Age, Amsterdam University Press, Amsterdam 2012, ISBN 9789089643858, Rights

In the past fifteen years, file sharing of digital cultural works between individuals has been at the center of a number of debates on the future of culture itself. To some, sharing constitutes piracy, to be fought against and eradicated. Others see it as unavoidable, and table proposals to compensate for its harmful effects. Meanwhile, little progress has been made towards addressing the real challenges facing culture in a digital world. Sharing starts from a radically different viewpoint, namely that the non-market sharing of digital works is both legitimate and useful. It supports this premise with empirical research, demonstrating that non-market sharing leads to more diversity in the attention given to various works. Taking stock of what we have learnt about the cultural economy in recent years, Sharing sets out the conditions necessary for valuable cultural functions to remain sustainable in this context.

Some reading impressions coming up soon.


18. Januar 2012

No Disconnect! SOPA dead … for now.

Filed under: Call for Action,English,News — Schlagwörter: , , — vg @ 21:35

12-01-18_SOPA-Blackout-WikipediaThree days before a protest blackout of major Internet sites including Wikipedia, SOPA’s main sponsor Eric Cantor announced that he will stop to move the bill forward … unless there is consensus.

While Neelie Kroes, Vice-President of the EC in charge of the Digital Agenda launched Europe’s “No Disconnect Strategy”, the USA driven by the mighty culture industry was set to go the opposite way. First in 2010 there was COICA, the Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act, which failed and was re-written as the Protect IP Act (PIPA) in the US Senate in 2011. In October 2011, it was followed by the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the House of Representatives. All of them were intended to make US service providers like domain name registrars, advertising and payment providers stop servicing alleged copyright infringing sites abroad. Search engines, social networking platforms, cloud storage providers, universities and other institutions would also have come under pressure to monitor and filter Internet activities of their users.


22. Dezember 2011

Guttenberg is back

Filed under: English,News — Schlagwörter: , , , — vg @ 15:34

After the depths of the plagiarism scandal leading to his ousting as German Minister of Defense, Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg moved to exile in the US of A, where he joined the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). Now he is back in the European political arena. When on 12 December, Neelie Kroes, Vice-President of the EC in charge of the Digital Agenda announced the launch of Europe’s „No Disconnect Strategy“, she also announced that she has invited Guttenberg to advise „on how to provide ongoing support to Internet users, bloggers and cyber-activists living under authoritarian regimes.“ As top CSU politician, Guttenberg was favoring Internet blocking and data retention. Now he is supposed to bring „Arab Spring“ to Syria, Russia and China. Kroes defended her controversial choice to bring him on as voluntary CSIS advisor: „I’m looking for talent, I’m not looking for saints.“ Nevertheless, her important intiative was nearly drowned out by the causa Guttenberg. In explaining why he thinks he is qualified for the job, the fallen minister shared a remarkable piece of insight:

„Last but not least, I have been personally exposed to the power of the Internet just this year. And I recognize and value its ability to hold those in power to account.“

Here is the video from the press conference with Kroes and Guttenberg:

Update 18.1.2012
Tim Gerber, Wie Europas Digital-Kommissarin den gestürzten Minister zu Guttenberg engagierte, Telepolis, 18.01.2012

19. Dezember 2011

LiMux: Munich goes Free Software

Filed under: English,News,text — Schlagwörter: , — vg @ 13:18

LiMuxlogoMunich’s LiMux project announced that on 12.12.2011 the 9,000th PC workstation in the city’s administration was migrated to the new LiMux Client, putting the project ahead of its schedule. With a few exceptions all MS Office suits have been uninstalled and replaced with OpenOffice. The migration of the remaining 3,000 workstations will be concluded in 2012. For a background story on the project that was initiated in 2003 see:

Update: Joe Karaganis also revisited our 2005 book and the conclusions drawn: Learning from LiMux, 20 December 2011.

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