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Talking about the CulturaDigitalBR Forum at the FCForum in Barcelona

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My name is Jose Murilo, I come from Brazil I am representing the Brazilian Ministry of Culture and it's a pleasure to be here, thanks everybody and specially Simona (Levy) and all the people from eXgae for providing such an interesting place to talk about Digital Culture So.. Digital Culture is a term that has emerged in Brazil, and especially in government circles, as a result of the innovations in language and programs passed on to us by Mr. Gilberto Gil when he was the head of the Brazilian Ministry of Culture. He used to puzzle the media by calling himself a "Hacker Minister", in the sense of studying the government mechanisms in order to adjust and reconfigure them according to the dynamics and needs of present times. His reflections on the radical use of these new possibilities introduced by the Internet were soon translated into action through the creation of the Cultural Hotspots -- 'Pontos de Cultura' I don't know how many of you are acquainted with this project.. maybe... let me see... nobody.. :) The idea of this program was to empower established cultural groups or popular initiatives with the ability to digitize their content through open source audio and video editing software, and also to foster the exchange of this content among the network of hotspots. The program also encourages the use of alternative licenses like Creative Commons and Copyleft, allowing for the remix and open sharing of content and for collaboration with the other hotspots and the whole of society. The success of this program -- the Cultural Hotspots program a program which is broadly called 'Cultura Viva' facilitated the understanding of the new cultural dynamics offered by the global network and it became an important input to the Ministry's policies and actions from then on. It became clear that one important and powerful feature of the networked environment was the possibility of open collaboration. In this model, ideas are put out much earlier and less completely formed, so others are able to access and participate in their own ways in the subsequent developmental process. In a sense, we are talking about the same "release early, release often" principle that appears across all of the open source movement's spin-offs. But the real hack proposed by Gil, which is being implemented now with Minister Juca Ferreira, is to introduce these concepts, after being translated into cultural perspectives, into the government arena of public polices and programs. Another important element has been the emergence of a culture of using the internet by the governement. This "culture of use" includes exploring all of the new interactive possibilities to foster collaborative participation of citizens in the development of public policies. This vision impacts in a radical way the patterns of communication between governments and citizens because public discourse can now be turned into a real time conversation. For example, the institutional website of the Brazilian Ministry of Culture was developed as a blog aggregator, to explore the web 2.0 features that encourage participation and collaboration. THE 'AZEREDO LAW': During the last three years, there has been quite a stir around a cibercrime bill proposed by a senator named Eduardo Azeredo. The much hated 'Azeredo Law', envisaged a broad criminalization of many online activities, including file-sharing, DRMs, and other issues. The proposed law contained forty broad and comprehensive articles which designated and penalized various new crimes like 'unlawful access of data', 'dissemination of malicious code', and others. According to the proposal, Brazilians would be put in jail only by transferring audio files generated from a regularly bought CD into their mp3 players. Last year, a very strong reaction on the part of civil society took place when the proposed law was approved by the Senate. An online petition for a presidential veto quickly acquired more than 150 thousand signatures. The reaction demonstrated the power of networked mobilization on digital related issues and as a result, it prompted members of Congress to summon a vast range of representations by interest groups from Free Software leaders to Federal Police investigators to prepare an alternative text to the cybercrime bill. Yesterday was a very important day for us in Brazil. The Brazilian Ministry of Justice, in a partnership with the Ministry of Culture, launched a blog especially designed to perform a public consultation on a proposed civil-rights-based regulatory framework for the Internet in Brazil. The idea is to collaboratively build comprehensive norms about online privacy, freedom of expression, and limitations on the liability of internet users and internet providers. I would like to emphasize especially that this public consultation is being launched on a blog, and that this blog is located in a social network especially prepared to host the debate on all themes related to digital culture. This is the "Brazilian Digital Culture Forum" The "culturadigital.br" domain is the online environment of this network for the development of public policies. BUT, it is not merely an innovative use of social networking we see the "Brazilian Digital Culture Forum" as an innovative political process. In fact, it is a political process that grew out of a cultural process. It is hosted by the Ministry of Culture and the National Education and Research Network (RNP) and aims to be a permanent network for policy design and for the facilitation of consensus through the broad participation of stakeholders from the state, the market, and from civil society. The idea of the Forum was born from the notion that, in the emerging information society, we have to innovate and implement a new way of doing politics. With the arrival of ubiquitous, instant and inexpensive tools for collaboration, it is possible to promote opportunities for debate and a model where public decentralized coordination can offer innovative solutions for the issues presented by the 21st century. The impact of digital networks in culture is vast, and it meddles with different sectors of the society in different ways, but the trend always is to add more openness and more diversity. So, a permanent open Forum implemented on a social network is the strategy chosen to better organize and present a discourse with the many and diverse themes that express the mosaic of the ever-emerging digital culture. The reform of the Brazilian Copyright Act, is the next big public consultation. It will be launched on November 18th, at the opening of the International Seminar of the Brazilian Digital Culture Forum in Sao Paulo, and it will happen also in a blog customized to host the open debate. A new draft bill will be presented for a balanced copyright regime that will take into account not only the need for just remuneration for the creators, but it will also include the principles of access to knowledge, innovation, and access to education. The more interesting part of the reform deals with expanding the exceptions and limitations to copyright, including the right of private copying, which had been revoked in Brazil by the 1998 copyright legislation. After intense debates inside the government, the proposal will be presented by the Ministry of Culture with full support from the Executive, including the personal support of President Lula and the Secretary of State Dilma Roussef. Nonetheless, despite the importance of this support, a significant resistance to the draft bill is expected. Several pressure groups have been joining forces and organizing themselves against the initiative of the Ministry of Culture We needed a strategy to gather and direct the flow of civic mobilization toward the public consultation process, which promises to be a very intensive debate. Thus, there are two public consultations in the works -- the civil-rights based regulatory framework and the copyright law, and both deal with rights and responsibilities for culture and business in the digital age. But both lines of policy used to be locked into their own highly specialized structure of laws, bureaucracies and players. Can you picture the advantage of having two open consultations on issues that originally are dealt by different government sectors hosted on the same social network environment? Can you imagine the insights, interactions and innovations -- and even the collaborations -- that may be seeded? Well, 2010 will be an electoral year in Brazil, and the moment is very good to enhance people's awareness on how much they can influence the government and the Congress through online participation. The aim of the whole project is to introduce into the public portfolio of digital culture the innovative elements that may facilitate and promote greater engagement and more effective participation of interested citizens. In short, the goal is to expand the democratic process. In a speech made a few days before leaving the ministry, Gilberto Gil affirmed that Digital Culture initiatives present a built-in transformational device, and are able to play a fundamental role in shaking away the inertia of the traditional politics that has excluded much of society from public life. He talked about a bottom-up unrest happening everywhere, which he sees as a very positive sign of the emergence of a non-governmental political movement that he believes to be a direct and evolved result of recent cultural and counter-cultural forces which have been increasing their ability to influence public policies. He talked about 'Peer-acy'. But the important thing to emphasize here is that the exercise of exploring the use of advanced network possibilities teaches governments about the value of free and open acess to knowledge. And as any other 'user', the state machine must create a 'culture of use' of the Internet. This must be the better way to engage governments in the promotion of a 'Free Culture' agenda, and make them really understand the precious value of keeping the Internet free, open and neutral. That was my message, thank you very much!

Video Details

Duration: 15 minutes and 1 second
Country: Spain
Language: English
Producer: Free Culture Forum - Barcelona
Director: Free Culture Forum - Barcelona
Views: 268
Posted by: josemurilo on Nov 8, 2009

Digital Culture Coordinator, Jose Murilo, delegate from the Ministry of Culture of Brazil to the Free Culture Forum in Barcelona, introduces the strategy being implemented in Brazil for creating the new law on intellectual property.

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