Standards for sustainable digital culture

7 November 2012 - A Workshop on Other in Baku, Azerbaijan


Emerging Issues - Question 2 "...acceptable and proportionate measures..."

Concise Description of Workshop:
The workshop will address the question of how digital works which are shared via the Internet (either with permission, e.g. granted by means of a Creative Commons license, or without permission) can be effectively linked to a website of the artist(s) or author, so that they can have a significant positive marketing effect (and not just the effect of often undesired competition to commercial offerings). The workshop will focus in particular on audio formats like MP3 and OGG and the possible addition of standardized URL metadata. The motivation for exploring this idea is that on one hand, copyright holders are complaining that the Internet environment is not sufficiently conductive to their legitimate interests of earning money through cultural contributions. On the other hand, the frequently heard call for ever more heavy-handed measures to enforce copyright on the Internet threatens the Internet's essential freedoms (which are in fact essential for the human rights foundations of information society) and is in fact contrary to the fundamental property of culture that culture is something that people share. Therefore, it is important to explore how digital cultural goods can be produced in economically sustainable ways that do not conflict with the freedom properties of the Internet, nor require heavy-handed copyright enforcement against people who wish to share digital cultural goods in non-commercial ways. This workshop explores specifically the contribution that technical standardization can make, in particular with regard to the inclusion of URL metadata in e.g. MP3 and OGG audio files, so that anyone who received a copy of the file can easily visit the copyright holder's website and spend money there. Panelists will discuss possibilities and difficulties of amending the relevant technical standards, and discuss what can be said about realistic expectations for economic benefits.

Agenda for the workshop:

1. Conceptual overview of the idea to further sustainable digital culture by including the artists's website URL e.g. in audio files.
2. Would this be beneficial to artists? Would the benefit be significant?
3. How does this relate to online freedom of expression? What are the risks? What are the potential benefits? What can be done to make the benefits outweigh the risks?
4. What are the challenges that need to be overcome in order to implement the idea? How can they be addressed? What roles can governments play?
5. Comments and questions from the floor and from remote participants, and responses from the panelists.

Organiser(s) Name:
Norbert Bollow, Swiss Open Systems User Group /ch/open, civil society

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