Why Creative Commons Hasn't Caught On In Serbia: They're Happier Without Copyright At All

from the freedom-is-a-nice-thing dept

This is from a few weeks ago, but I'm just getting around to it, though I found it quite fascinating. Rick Falkvinge, in discussing a recent trip to Serbia for the Share Conference, points out that Serbian content creators haven't really embraced Creative Commons, not because they prefer the full limits of copyright, but because many don't seem to like copyright at all:
He gave the story of what had happened when then-Yugoslavia was under an international embargo in 1990-1995.

Yugoslavia was allowed to import food, medicine, all the basic necessities of life, but not luxury items. Copies of digitized works counted as luxury items that weren't allowed. Importing copies of bitpatterns was not permitted, stupidly enough. It turns out, therefore, that this was not a problem. The people living there could make do themselves, copying themselves. It showed on a country-wide scale just how unnecessary the copyright monopoly is -- not just to academics studying the situation, but to the very people, too.

The result was that it was seen as a step backwards to start using Creative Commons in Serbia. It was perceived as unnecessarily restrictive and, well, unnecessary. Later, the copyright industry has been aggressive in Serbia just like everywhere else, but they have a serious uphill battle for hearts and minds.
I'd love to learn more about what happened in Serbia during that time and what happened in the aftermath as well, because I think it would be quite educational and useful in understanding some of the debates on these issues. Does anyone have any pointers to publications or people who can share more info?


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  •  
    icon
    Jay (profile), May 5th, 2011 @ 7:29pm

    WIPO and Kosovo

    Looks like they now have a similar framework to the WIPO.

    Link

    I would gander that perhaps the Kosovo War might have had a few things to do with the change.

    Clinton did authorize the bombing of a pharmaceutical company during Milosevic's reign, and with 1998 being the year of the DMCA, it's not far-fetched to believe that industry didn't steamroll over Serbia during those 3 years.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      Jay (profile), May 5th, 2011 @ 9:20pm

      Re: WIPO and Kosovo

      Ok, I read the article wrong. I was under the impression that this was an older story, not recent. I'll have to do more research on this topic.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 5th, 2011 @ 7:51pm

    "Why Creative Commons Hasn't Caught On In Serbia: They're Happier Without Copyright At All"

    Looks like it's time for the U.S. government to start helping them write their laws.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    Prashanth (profile), May 5th, 2011 @ 8:21pm

    I do believe Creative Commons founder Lawrence Lessig and GPL creator Richard Stallman both said that their respective libre licenses wouldn't be necessary if copyright didn't exist, and their strength only derives from the status quo strength of copyright. So it's nice to see that such a situation isn't just hypothetical but is quite real indeed.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      chris, May 6th, 2011 @ 8:48am

      Re:

      Yes. If a work isn't under copyright, you wouldn't need to accept a license in order to redistribute it, so one could simply ignore the terms in the GPL/CC and copy away. One thing that bothers me is when folks start applying CC to works that don't even fall under copyright such as recipes, instructions, software specs, etc. IMO that leads people to believe that such works are in fact copyrightable and only ends up broadening copyright, first in peoples minds and eventually in law.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    Ajax4Hire (profile), May 6th, 2011 @ 5:34am

    Even an animal knows that freedom is

    Even an animal knows that freedom is better than captivity.

    If you want security, get arrested, go to prison. They will cloth you, feed you and give you medical care. You will be relatively safe from the everyday worries.

    Safety or Freedom.
    I choose freedom.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 6th, 2011 @ 6:59am

    So, how do I become a serbian resident in say 10 years? Also, I love Zastava rifles

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anna, May 6th, 2011 @ 7:54am

    I am from Serbia and teachers here even use pirated software in school or universities. People share it among themselves freely. The one theory is that just we are poor, and the other one is that people are now so used to it, that they consider it normal. Consequences are that we have a large number of educated IT experts and programmers, which present an excellent outsourcing opportunity for western companies.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      chris, May 6th, 2011 @ 9:06am

      Re:

      This reminds me of that story where Microsoft was trying to make US companies liable for buying from foreign ones who used "non-genuine" copies of Windows in some aspect of their business. Now I know how it can get worse. I'm imagining there next step to be preventing companies from employing workers who at some point in there lives were taught using such a copy of Windows :)

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Ivan NYC, May 6th, 2011 @ 3:20pm

      Re:

      Anna, yes - I would say it's both theories. I worked in BiH 1996-98 and Belgrade 1999-2001. At the time, even if I wanted to buy legal CDs or software, it was impossible to - it was simply not available. As a foreigner, I was lucky to be able to afford it, though I would estimate that fewer than 5% (1%?) of Serbian citizens could.

      And it was everywhere - in every shop and every kiosk on every street. You can't flood a society with something so ubiquitous (and so inexpensive) for decades and suddenly expect the entire society to one day turn around and shun pirated software as 'wrong.' Every single person there who's touched a computer in the last 20 years has used (or is now using) pirated software.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 6th, 2011 @ 12:11pm

    Completely inappropriate post

    So the yugoslav wars in which Serbia was te major culprit: Slovenia Croatia Bosnia ...
    150 000 people dead, ethnic cleansing etc.
    N u r curious about copyright in that period ?
    How about the copyright of human beings ?
    What an ignorant narrow minded American u are

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      The eejit (profile), May 7th, 2011 @ 12:13am

      Re: Completely inappropriate post

      Since when could we clone viable human beings? I can't take you seriously when yuo try and apply copyright to nature.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Andy, May 6th, 2011 @ 2:15pm

    Anyone have a video of Falkvinge's speech

    Anyone have a video of the speech? The slides don't cut it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    PaulT (profile), May 7th, 2011 @ 4:51am

    People say that copyright hinders creativity, and yet one of the most mindblowing films I've seen in recent years came from Serbia (A Serbian Film)...

    {shudder}

    Luckily, Serbian attitudes to copyright clear my conscience of having "pirated" that film in protest (Westminster Council blocked my scheduled viewing of the film at Frightfest in London last year, and it's official release is heavily cut in the UK - I just downloaded it uncut instead).

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This