Free as in Free Culture

By EDRi · November 5, 2009

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Deutsch: [Frei wie in freie Kultur |]

Free Culture Forum (FCF), organized by the Spanish NGO Exgae together with
Networked Politics and the Free Knowledge Institute turned Barcelona in the
capital of free culture for 3 days. Of course, Free as in Free Speech.

The official Introduction of the 3 day event was a dazzling show, called the
Oxcars, where “free” music and video where blended with a showcase of
awards for the ones that changed the current situation of the digital
culture through their actions

This Free Culture Awards Festival, organized for the second time this year,
gathered more than 1000 people in Sala Apollo in Barcelona to see the parody
of the SGAE (Spanish music collective society) actions. The festival awarded
several people or events that were considered crucial in defending the free
flow of information and culture on the Internet.

One of the awardees, writer Alberto Vazquez-Figueroa, said in a public
statement “I prefer to be read for no money than not to be read”. The author
published his latest book “Por Mil millones de dólares” not only on a paper
format, but also gave it free on his blog.

Remi Gaillard, a French comedian, also won a prize for his extremely funny
videos distributed freely on the Internet. Among the winners there was also
the Electronic Frontier Foundation for the parodies after “bunker scene”
from the 2004 film “Downfall.” In the version presented at the OXcars,
Hitler is ranting about troubles with DRM and the failure of DMCA takedowns
to prevent fair uses. And the Spanish Campaign “Molina Pirate” received a
public ovation for the Grand Twitter Contest that encouraged Internet users
to express their creativity in 140 characters or less and to demand the
resignation of the Spanish Minister for Culture Cesar Molina who seemed set
on taking the rights to access information away from individuals and give
them to multinationals and private companies for free.

The fiesta was ended by a “Symphonic illegality” a free karaoke exercise
with the Original Jazz Orchestra of Barcelona (Original Jazz Orquestra del
Taller de Músics de Barcelona).

The next day was dedicated to a public event hosted by the Barcelona
University, with speakers from all mediums, from Felix Stalder who talked
about “The political implications of free culture” to the collective
identity Isaac Hacksimov or from US Students for Free Culture to Consumers
International. The subjects ranged also on a large scale starting with
Education and Access to Knowledge and ending up with the immediate threats:
TRIPS Plus, Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) or the Telecom
package. The entire event was broadcasted live, with live microblogging on in Catalan, Spanish and English.

In the next days over 100 high-profile specialists from 20 countries
participated in the Forum of Free Culture with the declared purpose of
starting a civil society offensive in the defense of fundamental rights in
the digital era. This includes rights of freedom of expression or access to
culture and knowledge.

The experts were divided, in the next days, into 5 different thematic
working groups:
– Legal Perspectives and User Access
– Economies, New P2P Models and Sustainable Distribution
– Education and Access to Knowledge
– Free Software and Open Standards
– Knowledge Sharing Hacker Philosophy and Action Technical Ware

After open discussions and explanations on sometimes different positions and
nuances, a “Charter for a free culture” has been agreed upon. The document
that will be finalized in the next 10 days will be dedicated to influence
the Spanish Presidency of the European Union, by defining the basic
principles for a 21st century society that makes use of new Technologies
Information for a free and fair supportive and fair digital environment,.
The document aims to have an international impact with a lot of participants
from US and with official observers from the Ministry of Culture of Brazil
assisting at the event, with just a few weeks before the Brazilian Digital
Culture Forum where the Culture Ministry will launch a new strategy on

Draft charter

Working documents from the 5 working groups

Live microblogging on Free Culture Forum

The free distribution of content has its rewards in oXcars (only in Spanish,

FCForum, the rebel alliance (only in Spanish, 29.10.2009)

P2p escapes from Internet (only in Spanish, 30.10.2009)

AntiSGAE Gala in Barcelona: P2P or death (30.10.2009)

Press release