1500 bloggers, activists, artists and philosophers gathered around the theme: Shift happens! at this year’s Re:publica, a yearly blogger conference with focus on digital society, online media and free culture.
There where dozens of lectures with topics ranging from web user culture, collective creativity to the wider aspects of open culture and production. Visitors were introduced to open hardware, open film production, d.i.y trends and the open event format “Open everything”.
Moreover C-base – the hacker collective in Berlin, introduced their new project – C-base Open Moon – with the objective: Free (as in Libre) Space Travel. The project is initiated as response to the Google Lunar X prize – a “$30 million competition for the first privately funded team to send a robot to the moon, travel 500 meters and transmit video, images and data back to the Earth.” The C-base community is calling for participants.
Distribution and remixability
Lawrence Lessig entered the throne as one of the keynote speakers at the conference together with sci-fi author Cory Doctorow – who both gave highly articulated, snappy professional and well-practiced presentations. Both managed to place known and at times obvious facts of copyright regulation and remixability in an easy-to-understand context.
Lessig argued extensively for approaches for de-regulation and de-criminalization of distribution and remixed content.
He suggested a format of differentiating content that should be free and openly available for remixing, versus content that should be governed and regulated through law of copy (perhaps even by using traditional copyright regulation), as a way of meeting challenges of digital content today.
He proposes a divide between content created by professionals and amateurs, as well as a divide between distribution of copies and the ability to remix digital content. As he states it, content produced by professionals should be distributed under copyright law, and the ability to remix amatuer content should be free (libre and possibly gratis). However the realms governing the remix of professional content, and the distribution of amateur content lies in a border land.
No only that – dividing creators in groups of professionals and amateurs might be interesting enough – yet, Lessig was in no position to state what differentiates the two groups.
Keynote speakers aside, the conference swarmed with initiatives and takes on life in a digital society. And with the conference’s WLAN breaking down the two last days, the audience got a fresh take on the physical realm outside their laptops as well.