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Inicio arrow Encuentros Copyleft arrow Copyleft: the power of the public domain [Málaga 2004]

Copyleft: the power of the public domain [Málaga 2004]

Coordination: Promotion Group, III Copyleft Forum
Date: 4th >> 5th June 2004
Venues: Instituto de Estudios Portuarios [Muelle Cánovas, s/n]; Centro Social-Casa de Iniciativas 1.5 [C/ Gaona, 6]
Sponsors: Arteleku-Diputación Foral de Gipuzkoa y UNIA arteypensamiento
In collaboration with: Autoridad Portuaria de Málaga




The I Critical Forum on Intellectual Property, promoted by the Universidad Nómada and organized by various individuals and groups involved with information freedom, was held in Madrid at the end of March, 2004. It attracted people from different backgrounds who felt that their creativity may be threatened by restrictive copyright legislation. It was a series of talks, debates and workshops in which time was taken to look more closely at all those terms that have recently become so familiar to so many of us, and some of which we practice without ever considering ourselves as pirates: piracy, plagiarism, photocopy and CD-R surcharges, anti-piracy boards, free software circulation, Napster, copyleft, "Top Manta", biopiracy, generic medicines, peer-to-peer technology…

For the first time ever, that meeting opened a public debate on the discursive arguments with which those in power attempt to criminalize the social dynamics of public property re-appropriation, and make culture and public knowledge producers and/or sharers believe that they are responsible for the profit losses of this or that corporation or company, or, worse still, of the artists themselves. Several topics arose when defining this common problem in the Madrid Forum. They included: opposition to the collective brain, development of positive strategies to carry out this process (freeware, movements supporting free music, etc), rejection of the idea of the "artist" as a genius, giving him a simpler, more public nature as "composer" or "re-composer" (of images, gestures, sounds, melodies, codes), analysis of the current status of new phenomena involving immaterial production (brainworking) and its relationship with free distribution rights, new ways of restructuring copyright-based production, promotion of actions and platforms to boost these ways of liberalizing knowledge, opposing capital's new enclosures, and providing a real legal framework to protect us against copyright extension abuses (such as the latest Creative Commons licences).

The month of May 2003 also saw the historical demonstrations against the war in Iraq, which drew millions of people to the streets throughout the world, and which were reflected in the Copyleft Forum, where there was discussion of the dynamics of free-for-all warfare, characteristic of the neo-liberal public domain privatization policies which are extending the property rights offensive to include the immaterial products (communication, arts, creativity, scientific divulgation) and which, as mentioned above, also leads to the criminalization of the free circulation of knowledge, and those who provide it.

Following the Forum, and with the memory of the good atmosphere generated in Madrid by the different participants still fresh, the possibility of addressing these problems in more detail from the perspectives of other regions within the Spanish state began to take form. The initiative to organize the II Copyleft Forum in Barcelona in 2004 collectively by means of a network based at Sindominio ( was the result. It is a telematic, self-managing project for social transformation, sponsored by Arteleku-Provincial Government of Gipuzkoa and the International University of Andalusia (UNIA artandthinking), on 15th, 16th, 17th and 18th April, and the III Forum to be held in Malaga and San Sebastian in 2005, under the same sponsorship.

Our aim is jointly to map out this unexplored territory, draw together the different areas of production that are affected by the growth in restrictive legislation, develop copyright free licences and go beyond improving new legal forms (like the Creative Commons licences under development) to build free distribution/access areas as a proposed solution for the thousands of workers involved in knowledge, communication and creation, who produce work only to see how copyright holders refuse to encourage creativity, instead preferring to watch the growth of their own economic benefits (the creation of the controversial SGAE being a case in point). Above all we propose to stimulate public debate about the problem of the privatization of the procomún1, or "common wealth", and our wish to defend it.

As a preamble to the future III Copyleft Forum in Malaga in 2005, and with the intention of providing an initial testing-ground for it, a short Meeting will be held on 4th and 5th July at the Instituto de Estudios Portuarios. Here we should like to sow the seed of this new critical forum in the city of Malaga and in Andalusia, and extend an invitation to participate in the Malaga Promotion Group (under construction) in the 2005 Symposium.

Promotion Group, III Copyleft Forum, Málaga 2005



1.- "(…) life exists beyond restrictive copyright. Here we should like to talk about an old term which ought to be brought back: the "procomún" - an old Castilian word meaning those fields that were exploited for the common good: the "common wealth". The word has always existed in popular culture, and now its finest hour has arrived in the era of digital culture, when the multinationals are trying to annul and criminalize it (...)". Excerpt from the introduction prepared by the Promotion Group for the II Copyleft Forum in Barcelona in 2004.



Friday 4th June 2004

· 18:00 h
Elsewhere with the music. SGAE, Top Manta, the music industry… Who are the pirates really?
Round table with Jorge Cortell, Ignacio Escolar and Miquel Vidal
Venue: Instituto de Estudios Portuarios

· 22:00 h
Cineclub Copyleft 1.5, screening of the documentary film: REVOLUTION 0S (original version, Spanish subtitles)
"…the story of hackers like Richard Stallman and Linus Torvalds, who rebelled against the owner software model and created GNU/Linux and the Open Source movement…".
Venue: Centro Social-Casa de Iniciativas 1.5

Saturday 5th June 2004

· 12:00 h
Protect or expoliate? What is the "Common Wealth"? The Critical Forum on Intellectual Property goes beyond the new copyright free licences
Round table with Miquel Vidal, Promotion Group for Copyleft Forum-Barcelona and Promotion Group for Copyleft Forum-Malaga.
Venue: Instituto de Estudios Portuarios

- Round tables: Instituto de Estudios Portuarios, Muelle Canovas, s/n. 29001 Málaga
- Film Projection: Centro Social-Casa de Iniciativas 1.5, C/Gaona, 6. 29012 Málaga



Jorge Cortell
He teaches Intellectual Property and Electronic Commerce at the Polytechnical University of Valencia. He is a member of the executive panel on the Financial Times and on the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), a key organization in the standardization of Internet protocols. He is an outspoken critic of intellectual property laws, patents and copyright.

Ignacio Escolar
He is a journalist and former member of the music group Meteosat. He has done freelance work on technical topics in different communication media (Telecinco, the Navegante, GSMBOX, Geo and Baquia), and won the I "José Manuel Porquet" Digital Journalism Prize, organized by the Aragon Press Association, for an article entitled "Please Pirate my Songs!", which was published at on 17th January 2001, and which has had a great impact on the Web.

Miquel Vidal
He is a Systems Administrador and Programmer with, an emblematic free software site in the Hispanic community. He has been involved for years in various initiatives concerning the social use of the World Wide Web in general and that of free software in particular. In 1997 he was one of the protagonists of the first telematic zone, set up in an occupied social centre in the Spanish state, using an Internet connection and free software. He also provides technical maintenance for Indymedia's Madrid node.

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