“The battle for access to information and the Internet is the mother of
all battles, the one that will allow us to keep going autonomously and
creatively in crisis times, regardless of what the powers that be
“organise” for their own interest…”

Zaphod Beeblebrox, Digital Thoughts

Because in times of crisis, the European Parliament is discussing how to take away one of the few remaining ways that allow citizens to get ahead – open access to the Internet – and to hand it over to the multinationals (this is not science fiction; it is happening now – follow the links below [1]);

Because we must be able to benefit from spreading our works without middlemen;

Because we are fed up with plundering by royalties management organisations;

Because artists are being used as an excuse to restrict legal rights to expression and development;

Because copying and sharing information is our right to culture, to knowledge and to communication, and they want to give it away to the entertainment industry (this isn’t science fiction either – the American Chamber of Commerce is pressuring worldwide for changes to the Intellectual Property Laws to prevent the right to copy and share information [2]);

Because their business is not our culture;

Because it is important for artists to be able to make a living from their work if they wish to;

Because “greed breaks the sack” as we saw in this crisis that has shown us that we live in a system that expects us to protect the interests of banks and multinationals, in the hope that they might one day give us a job in exchange for the crumbs of their profits.
The philosophy of free culture, inherited from the free software movement, is the best empirical proof that a new kind of ethics and a new kind of business are possible. It has already created an alternative production space that works, based on an artisan or trade model in which the author-producer doesn’t lose control of his or her output and doesn’t need the mediation of big monopolies. A kind of production that is committed to autonomous initiatives in solidarity with others, to sharing based on each person’s abilities and opportunities, to the democratisation of knowledge, education and the means of production and to fair distribution of earnings based on work carried out.

And because actions speak louder than words, thousands of individuals and organisations, hundreds of artists, have joined forces…

we welcome back in Barcelona, Spain…

The oXcars
29th of octobre 2009
the biggest free culture event of all time
http://oxcars09.exgae.net

And, for the first time, we introduce
The International Free Culture Forum:
Organisation and Action
30th of octobre to 1st of novembre 2009

which will put down in black and white the politics of the digital age
as conceived by citizens, by you and by me (this is not science
fiction!).

This event is a unique opportunity to bring together under the same roof the main organizations and active voices in the world of free culture and free knowledge; a meeting point to sit down and work together setting common agendas and strategies, and also to reflect, from a critical point of view, on the different views, dangers and contradictions of free culture. At the same time, the forum is an opportunity to give more visibility to alternative conceptions of knowledge, culture and creativity, different from the ones that the entertainment industry and universities insist on imposing.

Why Barcelona

In January 2010, Spain will take up the Presidency of the European Union. The Spanish Government has already announced that one of its flagships will be the reinforcement of the control over the Internet and the criminalization of the sharing culture in the digital environment. The consequences of those decisions will be noticed in the rest of the world. Furthermore, within this
context Barcelona is closing agreements about access to culture that will serve as models to other institutions in Catalonia and Spain.
In October 29 this year Barcelona will hold the Second Edition of the Oxcars Festival, an international event to honor the defense of culture and to show the existence of other creation channels, at least as good as the traditional ones.
The last edition was a success with more than 2000 participants. It brought the attention both of an interested public and of media. You can find more information about last year’s edition at http://exgae.net/exgae-multiply-and-share-forth/theoxcars
There are many active organizations, movements and persons related to free culture from different perspectives in Spain, offering a very rich sharing space and a source of new proposals from where an international process can be launched. In this regard, several worldwide voices, like during the last
World Social Forum (Belem do Para, Brazil, 2009) recognize the necessity of creating international spaces for networking, coordination and building of a global framework for free culture and knowledge, analyze similarities and develop common agendas. The Free Culture Forum of Barcelona aims to create such a space.

What

The main objectives of the Forum are, on the one hand, building networks to optimize the efforts of the different groups and setting common demands against the proposals from industry and governments in their eagerness to control culture and information; and on the other hand reinforcing the self-organization of tools and infrastructures to support free culture.

How

The Forum will take place in 3 days that combine different methodologies:
October 29: Celebration of the Oxcars Free Culture Awards Festival.
October 30: Presentation of key experiences from around the globe and discussion

on the key issues.
October 31: Working groups around the key issues of the Forum.
November 1st: Bring together the results from the working groups. Define a common agenda and approve a manifesto for each topic.

Key issues

ORGANIZATIONAL LOGIC AND POLITICAL IMPLICATIONS OF FREE CULTURE
LEGAL PERSPECTIVES AND USERS’ ACCESS
EDUCATION AND KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT
ECONOMIES, NEW P2P MODELS AND SUSTAINABLE DISTRIBUTION
FREE SOFTWARE AND KNOWLEDGE SHARING HACKER PHILOSOPHY

The Forum infrastructure is provided by Exgae, Networked Politics and Free Knowledge Institute, with the collaboration of Students For Free Culture and Hangar.

This is an invitation extended to everybody, and an invitation extended to over 1000 institutions that legislate on our rights worldwide, an invitation to listen and to understand, because the way of life and development of citizens is at stake.

The oXcars and The Free Culture Forum are open to everybody. Come along, find out about absolutely everything and participate.
This is unstoppable, we can only win. The civil society have its word to say on access to knowledge and culture in the digital age.

Please, spread the info.

http://oxcars09.exgae.net/
http://fcforum.net/

“It was the same with the inquisition: digital progress is also
unstoppable, the only issue is how many years of suffering, stagnation
and obscurantism we will have to but up with before they admit that
their interests are not the centre of the universe”.

Cayce Pollard, Vogons Proverbs

[By the way, this message is illegal en Europe. It is illegal to use quotations except for research and educational purposes. Quotes for information purposes are not permitted… And this is not science fiction].

____________

Related material of interest:

[1]– During the Free Culture Forum you will be able to collaborate, in the flesh, with the organisations that are lobbying the European Parliament exactly during these days in which the fearsome Telecoms Package is being debated.
You can see what it’s all about here:
http://www.laquadrature.net/en/we-must-protect-net-neutrality-in-europe-open-letter-to-the-european-parliament
http://www.euopeninternet.eu

Here is information about who is on the committee, how they have voted (from red to green, from more favourable to citizens to more favourable to multinationals), and who we have to lobby in each country (if you know some of them, talk to them; if you don’t know them, ring them up.
These links show you how):
http://werebuild.eu/wiki/index.php/Operation_revelation
http://www.laquadrature.net/wiki/Telecoms_Package-Conciliation_Committe-Parliament_Delegation#Political_Memory:_MEPs_ranking_by_score

What do we tell them?: to defend the original article 138, not the “soft” version. That is: no private entity can monitor your digital
communication”prior ruling by the judicial authorities”.

Send to the Europarlementiers the following sentence (this action is carried out all over Europe):
“”Prior ruling by the judicial authorities” is a condition of democracy.
Don’t restrict basic freedoms. Using internet access is now instrumental
to basic freedoms. Defend the real Amendment 138″. (Don’t insult them if not they
will spam you. Here their telephone and emails:
http://www.laquadrature.net/wiki/Telecoms_Package-Conciliation_Committe-Parliament_Delegation#Political_Memory:_MEPs_ranking_by_score)

[2]- EEUU Industry “anti-piracy” plans (Spain and Canadá are in the 3rd and 2nd position):
http://www.ustr.gov/about-us/press-office/reports-and-publications/archives/2008/2008-special-301-report


Mayo Fuster Morell
Governance Digital Commons Research: http://www.onlinecreation.info
European University Institute – Phd Candidate
Mobile (Italian): 0039-3345440747
Mobile (Catalan): 0034-648877748
E-mail: mayo.fuster@eui.eu
Skype: mayoneti
Identica/Twitter: lilaroja