Brazilian Librarians: Copyright Is A Fear-Based Reaction To Open Access To Knowledge

from the say-that-one-again dept

David Weinberger recently had an interesting blog post about his attendance at a conference of Brazilian university librarians, where he was very encouraged to learn of the many ways in which the librarians are embracing the internet to improve access to knowledge, and are hoping this leads to much greater things. Not surprisingly, questions on copyright came up, and Weinberger notes that many he spoke to are quite worried about how copyright is holding back access to knowledge:
The question of copyright seems to weigh heavily on just about everyone's mind. (Keep in mind, of course, the self-selection of those with whom I have talked.) Copyright is only perceived as an obstacle if you are intent on maximizing access to the works of human intellect and creativity. If you are afraid of what open access means, then copyright looks like a bulwark. But, if you are confident that we together -- with the invaluable aid of librarians, among others -- can overall steer ourselves right, then the current copyright regime looks like a fear-based reaction.
I think that encapsulates a number of important points. Historically, if you look at copyright, it has almost always been exactly that: a fear-based reaction to something new -- some new technology or innovation that helped spread knowledge in a way that potentially removed barriers from a gate-keeper. And, the deeper you look, you quickly realize that almost every single one of those "fear-based reactions" was massively overhyped and had little basis in evidence, fact or reality. And yet... the laws that were passed based on fear stick around. No one ever goes back and says "hey, we passed this law because we believed the fearful claims of industry X, but it appears those fears were unfounded."

It's good to see that folks in Brazil are taking this seriously, however. We recently noted that Brazil is considering new copyright laws now, with some surprising characteristics, such as penalties for those who inhibit fair use or the public domain. It's nice to see at least one country looking to move away from fear-based reactions when creating copyright laws.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  •  
    icon
    jupiterkansas (profile), Nov 1st, 2010 @ 1:44pm

    I don't know much about the legal system but is there some part of the Justice Department that continually reviews laws and repeals or revises ones that are no longer relevant or pose difficulties?

    Or do we just keep piling up more and more laws until nobody can do anything anymore?

    Just curious.

     

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

    •  
      icon
      A Dan (profile), Nov 1st, 2010 @ 2:10pm

      Re:

      No. That would be Congress's job. Some people propose that we require sunset dates in legislation to keep the number of laws from continually increasing (and so bad legislation dies off), but it's not happening.

       

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

    •  
      icon
      Jay (profile), Nov 1st, 2010 @ 2:12pm

      Sunset Review

      I'm aware of a few things like this but it's a joke. It's a bureacracy that is set up to stop bad laws. It's just like the DMCA process if you want to really get down to it. Basically, the more laws they keep going, the more work they have which keeps them employed. So they may get to a few laws but it's the laws that are EXTREMELY outdated or the laws that have a very large uproar to be repealed. You'll probably do better to sue in court and have the Supreme Court change the law.

       

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

    •  
      identicon
      mikej, Nov 1st, 2010 @ 3:10pm

      Re:

      lawyers do have to stay busy and prove their worth somehow, you know.

       

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

  •  
    icon
    Jay (profile), Nov 1st, 2010 @ 1:47pm

    Actually...

    Brazil isn't the only country that is looking into better copyright law.

    Isn't Spain also very balanced in the fact that their law also respects consumers?

     

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

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Nov 1st, 2010 @ 2:02pm

      Re: Actually...

      Not really.

      Spain has a tax on digital recording devices, so personal filesharing is already "paid for". It's still far better in Canada, where the push is to tax AND to DMCA, but it's not that good...

       

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

      •  
        icon
        Hephaestus (profile), Nov 2nd, 2010 @ 6:56am

        Re: Re: Actually...

        Actually spains tax on recording devices is going to be repealed over the next couple years. It doesnt fit into EU law in several places. It just hasn't been challenged along those lines yet.

         

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

  •  
    icon
    Hulser (profile), Nov 1st, 2010 @ 3:24pm

    Brazillion

    David Weinberger recently had an interesting blog post about his attendance at a conference of Brazilian university librarians

    That's a lot of librarians. Where are they from?

     

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

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 1st, 2010 @ 3:49pm

    Take away all public funding for libraries and universities in Brazil and see if you get a fear-based reaction then.

     

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

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 1st, 2010 @ 5:05pm

    At last, a government that doesn't throw orphans in jail because they sang Christmas carols without a performance license! If only more countries were so forward-thinking...

     

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

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Nov 1st, 2010 @ 7:08pm

      Re:

      Actually, Brazilian judges do overreact when applying copyright laws and tend to be as strict as sanely possible...

       

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

  •  
    identicon
    Anon, Nov 1st, 2010 @ 6:36pm

    I'm from the USA and I think copyright is as bad or worse than capitlaism which it feeds into.

     

    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