Copyright vs Community

David Spencer

May 29, 2004

Last week, a day out south of the river (ugh) to the one day Copyright vs Community [ ] event at Ravensbourne College. This featured talks from Fravia, Richard Stallman and Cory Doctorow.

Fravia's talk was great, although having slurped up much of his Searchlores [ ] site years ago, there wasn't much I didn't already know. He concentrates on locating and extracting information which is known to be out there. That isn't my current problem; to research those litigious bastards at SCOX, I need to use readily available information to discover connections. Nevertheless the talk was good fun (sadly, perhaps a bit misleading about Moldova [ ]) and his ability to hold an audience whilst performing a live demonstration was very impressive.

On this occasion Richard Stallman concentrated (as was appropriate) on copyright. His was the most conservative, nay, boring and measured of the three talks - why is he constantly depicted as some sort of loony? - until the audience egged him on to ever greater condemnation of the music business. That brought his talk to life; clearly it's not just software that RMS cares about.

Cory Doctorow's talk was hugely entertaining (lots of arm waving, agitation and good points bluntly made) but very much to the point. In some ways his was the most, er, (ahem) well-developed critique of modern copyright practice, but very reassuring that he made such a good case for current-day radicalism being just another iteration of the historical orthodoxy of innovation.

The most memorable bit was when Fravia took his radiomike with him for a quick pee before he started, treating the lecture theatre to an impromptu broadcast.


Copyright 2004