Impressions from a Country Without Copyright

Share Conference Entrance, mid-day

I just left Share Conference in Belgrade, Serbia. The conference was top notch — 80 speakers, 50 bands, three days, three nights. Very laid back with cushions everywhere in the lobbies, people were lounging about and just having a good time.

The conference was opened by Bruce Sterling to a full room. I spoke shortly thereafter — my Shelters or Windmills presentation, but updated with the insight that the copyright lobby is behaving like religious people.

I was happy to meet Peter (Sunde) and Jake (Appelbaum) again. Seems like we only run into each other when we’re speaking these days. Also, Samir (Allioui) was there, and I was happy to meet Alexandar and all the people from Pirate Party Serbia (PPRS).

But the real kicker was hearing Vladimir Vlidi from Creative Commons Serbia. I had spoken to this guy before, in 2006, when he came to Sweden to make an interview with me and a few other guys. 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.

My key takeaway? Once people at large have experienced what it’s like to not have a (functioning) copyright monopoly, they don’t want anything to do with it ever again.

It should be equally noted that this was at a festival visited primarily by nascent bands and musicians. (Also: Photo gallery from the festival.)

Rick Falkvinge

Rick is the founder of the first Pirate Party and a low-altitude motorcycle pilot.

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Discussion

  1. RT @Falkvinge: on #infopolicy: Impressions from a Country Without Copyright http://goo.gl/fb/He8pA

  2. Impressions from a Country Without Copyright: I just left Share Conference in Belgrade, Serbia. The conference w… http://bit.ly/gpCzfi

  3. RT @Falkvinge on #infopolicy: Impressions from a Country Without Copyright http://goo.gl/fb/He8pA #svpol

  4. blaeks (@blaeks)

    RT @falkvinge Impressions from a Country Without Copyright http://is.gd/mq38h6 #copyright #infopolicy #serbia #share #shareconference

  5. RT @crosbie: Impressions from a country without #copyright Rick @Falkvinge
    https://falkvinge.net/2011/04/11/impressions-from-a-country-without-copyright/

  6. Børge / forteller

    This sounds like a really important “case study”. I really, really hope that the presentation will be available online and that you will write more about this!

  7. ♺ @glynmoody: Impressions from a Country Without # Copyright – http://bit.ly/hVOgd8 interesting #serbia

  8. Henrik

    Interesting read.
    “Later, the copyright industry have been aggressive in Serbia just like everybody else,…”
    Did you mean that everybody else has been agressive in Serbia, or did you mean “…like everywhere else…”?

    1. Rick Falkvinge

      thanks. fixing.

  9. RT @glynmoody: Impressions from a Country Without # Copyright – http://bit.ly/hVOgd8 interesting #serbia

  10. Astonishingly, it seems that economies can function without copyright… http://is.gd/CnlGSS

  11. Crosbie Fitch (@crosbie)

    Swapping #copyright’s cultural oppression for the emancipation of cultural liberty appeals only on hindsight: http://bit.ly/hVOgd8 #Serbia

  12. RT @glynmoody: Impressions from a Country Without # Copyright – http://bit.ly/hVOgd8 interesting #serbia

  13. RT @JakeDaynes: Impressions from a Country Without Copyright http://bit.ly/fxMb1V #votepirate #copyfight #kopimi

  14. RT @piratbloggar: Falkvinge on Infopolicy: Impressions from a Country Without Copyright:
    I just left Share Conference in Be… http://tinyurl.com/6jfwa97

  15. Marius Krinnan (@NannirK)

    RT @Falkvinge: on #infopolicy: Impressions from a Country Without Copyright http://goo.gl/fb/He8pA

  16. Nick Taylor (@ikostar)

    Once people have experienced what it’s like to not have copyright, they don’t want anything to do with it ever again http://bit.ly/gc8pKy

  17. Ross Pruden (@rosspruden)

    RT @ikostar: Once people experience life without copyright, they don’t want anything to do with it ever again. http://t.co/korMf3M #infdist

  18. RT @Falkvinge: on #infopolicy: Impressions from a Country Without Copyright http://goo.gl/fb/He8pA

  19. Stefan Pfeuffer

    A few years ago I talked with a lawyer in Belgrade about the copyright/intellectual property situation in Serbia. Seeing all those people selling copied movies in the streets for something like 1 EUR each made me ask what the legislation is like and whether the laws are actually enforced. His answer: “Well, there is now some legislation and the enforcement is getting better, so the situation is slowly improving for IP holders. By the way, if you need a movie, I know a guy. I can send you his list, it’s something like 10,000 titles.”

  20. Niklas

    If anyone ever think Patents are good insentives for research and development i beg you t read this article in latest Nature:

    http://www.nature.com/news/2011/110405/full/472020a.html

    perhaps the link doent work (Nature sort of doesn’t like people sharing their articles) otherwise i just refere to it in a scientific way: | Nature 472, 20 (2011) Patent dispute threatens US Alzheimer’s research doi:10.1038/472020a

    Researchers are beeing sued al over America, because they are using a “public” owned mouse model. just because this organisation ALA has a patent on an Alzheimer’s gene that was incorporated into the mouse model to study Alzheimer’s disease.

    So if you happen to be in the “risk zone” for Alzheimer’s, then good luck, because the Patent lobby cleary don’t want science to develope any possible treatment to help you.

  21. dikstorm (@dikstorm)

    Impressions from a Country Without Copyright http://bit.ly/fxMb1V

  22. On #copyright in #Serbia http://is.gd/mq38h6 @falkvinge’s takeaway: once people experience world with copyright, they don’t want to go back

  23. Rob

    Rick, it’s not just Serbia but all of Eastern Europe too.
    Even if legal alternatives existed nobody but the very rich here could afford to buy from a copyright monopoly. We’re poor and a monopoly by it’s very definitions exists to get away with raised prices because nobody has a choice.

  24. "Once people..have experienced [life without].. #copyright #monopoly, they don’t want..it ever again..": http://ur1.ca/3trsg (via @mlinksva)

  25. […] The founder of the movement, Rick Falkvinge, visited the country last year, and wrote about what happened during the 1990-95 international embargo against Yugoslavia, of which Serbia was a […]

  26. […] The founder of the movement, Rick Falkvinge, visited the country last year, and wrote about what happened during the 1990-95 international embargo against Yugoslavia, of which Serbia was a part: Yugoslavia was allowed to import food, medicine, all the basic […]

  27. […] at mounting opposition, and in Serbia, the Creative Commons concept is even seen as a huge step backwards as it imposes restrictions on how you can use culture and knowledge. So it boils down to a united […]

  28. […] at mounting opposition, and in Serbia, the Creative Commons concept is even seen as a huge step backwards as it imposes restrictions on how you can use culture and knowledge. So it boils down to a united […]

  29. […] at mounting opposition, and in Serbia, the Creative Commons concept is even seen as a huge step backwards as it imposes restrictions on how you can use culture and knowledge. So it boils down to a united […]

  30. […] mutatott ellenállásból, Szerbiában pedig még a Creative Commons licenszet is óriási visszalépésnek tekintik, mivel korlátozza a tudás és a kultúra felhasználási lehetőségeit. […]

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