Brazilians Ask President Not To Throw Out Years Of Progress Towards A More Reasonable Copyright

from the sad dept

For years, Brazil has been a very interesting country to watch on copyright issues. It embraced Creative Commons early on. The government seemed to really care about understanding what works and what does not work in copyright law. After various discussions, there were serious proposals that would seek to elevate the importance of fair use and the public domain. There was even a proposal to legalize file sharing. But all of that has apparently changed with a new administration. Back in February, Brazilians got worried when new Culture Minister Ana de Hollanda removed the Creative Commons license from the Ministry's websites. When asked about this, she said: "We will discuss copyright reform when the time comes." Of course, Creative Commons has nothing to do with copyright reform, so the response was bizarre. More fears were confirmed recently, when the MPAA sent someone to Brazil, saying how worried they were before... but now they're happy with the direction of copyright in Brazil.

For many artists and content creators in Brazil -- especially those who have learned that overreaching copyright can be stifling to creativity and art -- this is a huge concern. Glyn Moody points us to the news that "a broad coalition from all wakes of culture, from academia and the Internet community and from all parts of the country" have put together an open letter to the President of Brazil, Dilma Rousseff, expressing concern about de Hollanda and the direction she's taken on copyright:
The signatories of this letter believe in the need for continuing and deepening of the successful policies of the Lula government. These policies are summarized in the National Plan for Culture, which is the result of a process of extensive public consultations and was signed into law by the president, but is now being ignored by the minister. We affirm that where the previous administration had successes, it was because the Ministry approached the prime movers of culture, understanding the new protagonism of individuals, groups and parts of the population that hitherto were considered “peripheral” and the extraordinary possibilities of Digital Culture. This is not just a discussion about technological and legal tools, but about a whole new creative and cultural context, as these technologies have been appropriated and reinvented in various ways by these new actors. It is essential in this territory to place Digital Culture at the heart of the discussions of cultural policies of the Ministry and to pursue the capillarity of programmes like Cultura Viva and the Points of Culture where the Minister strongly signaled a setback.

By blocking the reform of the copyright law and ignoring the opinions received during six years of debate, 150 meetings held throughout the country, nine national and international conferences, 75 days of public consultation on the Internet which received 7,863 contributions, the Minister affronts the entire enormous democratic effort of understanding and elaboration. If there is a compelling explanation for the urgency to obstruct such a healthy political dynamic, it is to come to the rescue of institutions threatened in their privileges, such as the music collecting society ECAD (Central Bureau of Collection and Distribution) and the associations that compose it, which in the presidential election campaign explicitly and determinedly supported cultural policies and the candidate that were defeated.

But this “rescue” is contrary to the Law 12.343 of 2 December 2010, which approved the National Plan for Culture and clearly establishes the obligation to reform the copyright law (according to clauses 1.9.1 and 1.9.2 that stipulate “the creation of an institution specifically dedicated to the promotion and regulation of copyright and the activities of collection and distribution of copyright royalties” and “the review of the Brazilian copyright legislation, in order to balance the interests of creators, investors and users, establishing fairer contractual relationships and more transparent criteria for royalty collection and distribution”). By alleging that the text of the law is “dictatorial” and that the proposal developed during the Lula government is “controversial” and does not meet the “interests of the authors,” the Minister deliberately confounds the interests of creators with those of exploiters and smuggles into the midst of the government Dilma precisely those positions that were defeated in the presidential elections.

The issue of withdrawing the Creative Commons license from the webportal of the Ministry of Culture is also worth mentioning for its symbolism. The Ministry of Culture of the Lula government was a pioneer in recognizing that the laws that govern the rights of authors are not in step with the practices of our times and that it is imperative to improve them in favor of creators and broad access to culture. This advance was expressed in the National Plan for Culture in clause 1.9.13, which provides for “the encouragement and promotion of the development of knowledge- and technology-intensive cultural products and content, especially under flexible intellectual property regimes.” Contrary to what the minister has said, the CC and similar licenses are intended to regulate the form of remuneration of the artist, not prevent it. They seek to expand the power of the author in relation to his work and adapt it to new forms of production, distribution and remuneration and to the new business models that these technologies enable.
Anyone want to bet that there's been a lot of behind the scenes diplomatic pressure from a large country a few thousand miles north of Brazil?

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. icon
    Wayne Borean (profile), May 2nd, 2011 @ 6:38am

    Considering what Wikileaks showed they did to us

    No. Not is the slightest.


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

  2. icon
    Wayne Borean (profile), May 2nd, 2011 @ 6:39am

    Re: Considering what Wikileaks showed they did to us

    Oops. That was supposed to say:

    No. Not in the slightest.

    Guess I'm not awake yet.


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

  3. icon
    CatsPaw (profile), May 2nd, 2011 @ 6:49am

    Maybe even a few soft checks to pad ease all that arm twisting? hmm.

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

  4. identicon
    Matthew A. Sawtell, May 2nd, 2011 @ 7:05am

    {Laughing} Behold the "power" of the BRICS...

    ... still holding out their hands for some brides!

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

  5. icon
    Not That Chris (profile), May 2nd, 2011 @ 7:33am

    First thought...

    "How many is a brazilian?"

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

  6. icon
    The Groove Tiger (profile), May 2nd, 2011 @ 7:51am

    That's an excellent word to describe how both the content makers and the content consumers are considered in today's culture: peripheral.

    It's not the artists who produce music and other content, they're "peripheral" to the great Conglom-O, made up by "the Music Industry", meaning, the guys who print tons of shiny discs.

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

  7. icon
    The eejit (profile), May 2nd, 2011 @ 11:23am

    Re: {Laughing} Behold the "power" of the BRICS...

    I fail to see the humour in a sovereigtn state effectively making an Act of War in order to further the interests of a small subsection of its citizens.

    Also, Osama is dead, you can fly free* now.

    *Where Free actually means being groped and fisted if you object in the slightest that Osama can't do any more diurect damage. It's like saying Carlin couldn't swear.

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

  8. identicon
    Justin Olbrantz (Quantam), May 2nd, 2011 @ 12:30pm


    Really, we haven't advanced that far from the days of the printing guilds. While people now "think of the creators" (at least in public), the largest benefactors of copyright are still the publishers, who generally do not create themselves.

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

  9. identicon
    Dohn Joe, May 2nd, 2011 @ 1:24pm

    It's Not the Country

    It's not the country to the north which is applying this pressure. If they are it is merely as a vehicle for those who recognize only profit, not borders or cultural allegiances...

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

  10. icon
    The eejit (profile), May 2nd, 2011 @ 1:41pm

    Re: It's Not the Country

    Eh, who needs cultural allegiances and borders? We need to feed our starving (Insert random profession here)s! WE can't do that if Brazil are out-Americanning America!

    Nixon's Head for 2012!

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

  11. icon
    Chargone (profile), May 2nd, 2011 @ 5:26pm

    Re: Re:

    if you think about it, it's worse. the guilds, at least, actually made something of use to the general population. their members were the creators, or at least a lot closer to them. of course, they still often gained far too much power and locked numerous towns and cities into economic strangleholds (one of the reasons london did so well historically was that its trade was NOT under the control of the guilds.)

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

  12. icon
    Brendan (profile), May 2nd, 2011 @ 9:30pm

    Re: Re: Considering what Wikileaks showed they did to us

    Howdy, Wayne! Nice to see you over here now, too.

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

  13. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 3rd, 2011 @ 6:16pm

    "Anyone want to bet that there's been a lot of behind the scenes diplomatic pressure from a large country a few thousand miles north of Brazil?"


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

  14. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 26th, 2011 @ 9:09pm


    Blame Canada!

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

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