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Artists make more money with file-sharing

An extensive study in Norway found that artists income has seen a major increase in last decade. [30sep10]

An extensive study into the effect of digitalization on the music industry in Norway has shed an interesting light on the position of artists today, compared to 1999. While the music industry often talks about artists being on the brink of bankruptcy due to illicit file-sharing, the study found that the number of artists as well as their average income has seen a major increase in the last decade.

[...] the study refutes some of the most common misconceptions about the music industry in the digital age. Musicians are making more money than ever before. It is true that the revenues from record sales are dwindling, but that can be just as easily attributed to iTunes as The Pirate Bay.

The bottom line is that the music industry as a whole is thriving. Record labels may report a dip in their income from record sales, but more money is going to artists at the same time.

Read full article at TorrentFreak.

ACTA: A new obstacle for human rights?

A new publication by the 3D Association (on Trade, Human Rights, Equitable Economy). [23sep10]

This paper shows how the negotiations of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, or ACTA, have become the emblem of the maximum protection approach of intellectual property rights (IPR), reversing the public interest approach that underpinned IPR originally. It argues that if such a vision is realized, through ambiguous rhetoric and aggressive negotiating strategies, it could lead to a new international institutional framework that will hinder the realization of human rights. Download full PDF here.

3D is a Geneva-based association promoting collaboration amongst trade, development and human rights professionals, to ensure that trade rules are developed and applied in ways that promote an equitable economy.

Slovenian TV reports on digitalization...

...and public domain issues. [15sep10]

In August the Slovenian national TV aired a short report about digitalization, which included a mention for the Public Domain Manifesto and Communia, along with screenshots of both websites (at minute 7:13).

The next coverage in late September will be exclusively devoted to the PD Manifesto.

Musopen: free public-domain classical music

A project using donations to purchase and release music to the public domain. [13sep10]

Musopen is a non-profit library of copyright free music. This project will use your donations to purchase and release music to the public domain. Right now, if you were to buy a CD of Beethoven's 9th symphony, you would not be legally allowed to do anything but listen to it. You wouldn't be able to share it, upload it, or use it as a soundtrack to your indie film- yet Beethoven has been dead for 183 years and his music is no longer copyrighted. There is a lifetime of music out there, legally in the public domain, but it has yet to be recorded and released to the public.

The project asks people's help to hire an internationally renowned orchestra to record and release the rights to: the Beethoven, Brahms, Sibelius, and Tchaikovsky symphonies. They have price quotes from several orchestras and are ready to hire one, pending the funds.

People can also vote on what Musopen should buy with the money. Then we will release that music in lossless quality with a Creative Commons license.

Click here for more info.

"What's mine is y/ours"

The Collaborative Consumption movement is growing: sharing is contagious! [03sep10]

Collaborative Consumption describes the rapid explosion in traditional sharing, bartering, lending, trading, renting, gifting, and swapping redefined through technology and peer communities. In their upcoming book, Rachel Botsman and Roo Rogers describe in details this powerful cultural and economic force that is transforming business, consumerism and the way we live.

Also, Botsman examines a transition from a society based on ownership to one defined by access in a full-size infographic, while this "Sharing is Contagious" chart shows how we are increasingly growing up sharing files, photos, knowledge, and daily thoughts—and how these collaborative behaviors are moving into other areas of our lives.

No copyright law helped Germany expansion in 19th century?

Massive proliferation of books laid foundation for the country's industrial might. [31aug10]

Historian Eckhard Höffner has researched that early heyday of printed material in Germany and reached a surprising conclusion -- unlike neighboring England and France, Germany experienced an unparalleled explosion of knowledge in the 19th century.

German authors during this period wrote ceaselessly. Around 14,000 new publications appeared in a single year in 1843. Measured against population numbers at the time, this reaches nearly today's level. And although novels were published as well, the majority of the works were academic papers. (...)

Germany ... didn't bother with the concept of copyright for a long time. Prussia, then by far Germany's biggest state, introduced a copyright law in 1837, but Germany's continued division into small states meant that it was hardly possible to enforce the law throughout the empire.

Höffner's diligent research is the first academic work to examine the effects of the copyright over a comparatively long period of time and based on a direct comparison between two countries, and his findings have caused a stir among academics. Until now, copyright was seen as a great achievement and a guarantee for a flourishing book market. Authors are only motivated to write, runs the conventional belief, if they know their rights will be protected. (...)

Höffner explains that this "lively scholarly discourse" laid the basis for the Gründerzeit, or foundation period, the term used to describe the rapid industrial expansion in Germany in the late 19th century. The period produced later industrial magnates such as Alfred Krupp and Werner von Siemens.

The market for scientific literature didn't collapse even as copyright law gradually became established in Germany in the 1840s. German publishers did, however, react to the new situation in a restrictive way reminiscent of their British colleagues, cranking up prices and doing away with the low-price market.

Authors, now guaranteed the rights to their own works, were often annoyed by this development. Heinrich Heine, for example, wrote to his publisher Julius Campe on October 24, 1854, in a rather acerbic mood: "Due to the tremendously high prices you have established, I will hardly see a second edition of the book anytime soon. But you must set lower prices, dear Campe, for otherwise I really don't see why I was so lenient with my material interests."

Read full article on the Spiegel website

Czech Gov’t Drafting Copyright Bill...

..seems a direct attack to open & alternative licensing. [27aug10]

The draft of a new copyright law in the Czech Republic seems like a direct frontal attack on alternative licensing schemes (including Creative Commons licenses.

Under the draft text, anyone who wants to use a public license must report to a copyright collective administrator. The administrator would then review the work in question and the creator would have to prove that he or she has created that work in the first place. Then, and only then, can a creator legally use a public license of their choice.

One of the key aspects of Creative Commons is the ease to obtain a license. You just browse to the Creative Commons website, select the license you want by answering a few simple questions, and then you get a block of code you can paste on any HTML website you are building to tell everyone what you can and cannot do. This is one of many reasons Creative Commons is so successful.

Now, it seems, the Czech Republic is working to end this practice altogether. According to a very disturbing report by Czech media site Piratske Noviny. A manually translated version to English is available here.

Read full story on Zeropaid.

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