Yesterday I had the chance to attend part of a one-day conference organised by GRNET (Greek Research and Technology Network) that would mark the coming of the Creative Commons license in Greece. Taking place at the main hall of the first University building in Athens (that’s where my graduation ceremony took place too!) its obvious highlight was the speech by Lawrence Lessig. LL gave an impeccable presentation introducing his views on CC and arguing why it’s such a good idea to push it forward.
It’s quite obvious he’s a very able speaker who I think managed to keep the attention even of people who have only vaguely heard of the CC concept. In a presentation that could have been considerably boring, esp. given its duration of more than an hour, he managed to not have a single moment of ‘ok, move on now’ from his audience. Also, it’s interesting that a lawyer included pop culture references like anime videos and mashups in his presentation – probably says something about where our culture in general is heading.
Now the talk was nice and everything and it was very important that LL himself came over but the real work is only now just starting in Greece. I got the sense that, by and large, he was actually preaching to the converted: most people who attended the presentation had already adopted CC or had at least heard about it. Artists, all sorts of creators and of course lawyers need to know about it – CC needs to be made popular and to be used to fulfill it’s true purpose. Which is not only to protect the creators’ work but also to change the status quo in creativity, sharing, copyright and monetization of our work so that it complies with the technological advances and in particular the ease by which ‘copying’ takes place these days.
The only reason all the current model (multinationals, governing bodies and the law) reacts so strongly to all those who create and/or infringe on copyright is simply an attempt of those who are in power or on the receiving end of lots and lots of money (or both) to maintain their hold. LL talked about the arguments the lawyers of such parties presented which varied from morality to lack of humour to even terrorism but all these are just pretexts. The real reason is that those who are benefiting from the system as it is now want to keep it as it is to continue benefiting from it.
In other words, if someone was to suggest e.g. to a multinational record company the way to continue profiting in the new technological landscape as well as a means to move from the existing framework to the new model, no sane company would continue supporting the current model. It’s just too risky, too experimental and too much of an unknown territory for them to delve into.
So this won’t happen. Instead someone else is likely to emerge who understands the dynamics better and who will beat those that hold the power now to the chase. That other party might be Google, Facebook or influencing personas (e.g. Scoble?) or your next startup. And they will be the ones profiting from it. And by profit I mean not only in monetary terms but also in terms of fame and influence.
In a world where physical presence may not be as important, fame and influence might be the next currency.tags: analysis
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