Revisiting copyright law – worldwide

By Anne Collier

Shades of the US’s SOPA (anti-anti-piracy legislation) debate in eastern Europe, quite literally (see this Associated Press story): Street and online protests in Poland, the Czech Republic, and Slovenia against the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, or ACTA, remind me of a killer TED Talk by copyright legal expert and Harvard University law professor Lawrence Lessig: “Reexamining the Remix.” Do watch it if you’re interested in understanding why it’s so important that we rethink copyright law so that, now in the digital age, it factors in both “commercial culture” or interests, which is all that SOPA aimed to address, and “sharing culture” (or social-producing/creative-networking culture/interests), which is the other half of the discussion. The AP looks at the economic reasons for the protests in eastern Europe, including why the majority of the protestors are young people, but I think that, as Lessig shows, until societies figure out how to work in the other, producing and sharing, part of digital copyright interests, protests will only continue, if not grow. Note in the AP piece how closely Polish activists followed the US’s SOPA debate (see “SOPA & citizenship in a digital age”). In effect, we all, collectively, are already revisiting copyright law outside parliamentary spaces, these online and on-street protests show.

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