THE BIGGEST FREE CULTURE EVENT EVER
Trailer. oXcars, The Movie
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oXcars, The Movie.
OXCARS 2008: A FEW CONCLUSIONS TO CONTINUE
Above all, the oXcars were a question of attitude, a way of being in the world.
The kind of attitude that recognises the fact that things have changed through the efforts of all the pioneers who have spent years proposing a new paradigm for the production and diffusion of knowledge and those who defend it as a right, and thanks to the natural way in which society is using new technology.
The idea of the oXcars was to put the spotlight on this situation, and to break some of the taboos surrounding it. To act as a bridge between all of the hard background work and the general public who don’t always get to find out about it. And to do it using all available channels, even the mainstream.
This is our job, it’s what we do. We are good at communicating, at bringing things to light, blowing up the scale, creating tools for empowerment.
This has been our contribution to the movement in general, which is made possible by the mix of different perspectives – “nerd”, legal defence, software development, blogs, everyday creative work, platforms for action – and different habits and attitudes that come together to cultivate this philosophy and to share it so that it can grow bigger and bigger and continue to belong to everyone – to those who invent it and those who discover it.
We’ve worked from a strategic belief that there is a need to draw attention to these practices, and give them value within society. The oXcars made an effort to include very different realities side by side, because we think it is important to defend shared culture through a clearly identifiable response that respects the specific nature of each path, while sticking to the final objectives. We think that free culture can only exist if it recognises talent and the contributions of each individual. Only then can we provide a dense response, one that comes in so many forms and is so ubiquitous that it is beyond the reach of any attack.
The oXcars were another experience of collective creation that began with a network of people with similar ideas who had been working together for some time. They emerged from our everyday practices, in which we see how fundamental rights are under threat every day. They emerge as a practical tool, as a way to claim seven urgent measures in defence of our right to culture, as set out in the text “Greed Breaks the Sack: For a Free Culture of Citizens Who Share”. These measures are even more valid today, and we believe we have to continue to demand them and to draw attention to them.
The oXcars involved the following inputs and tried to make them reach people’s minds and imaginations:
- Awards: The ironic definition of the oXcars as “The First Non-Competitive Awards in the History of Culture” drew attention to the fact that applying competitive criteria to the cultural sphere distorts its very essence. By highlighting different aspects of artistic creation, the “Awards Ceremony” showed that culture exists thanks to all of these complementary approaches that exist side by side.
- In finite ways of doing things: With the participation of over 100 projects, the oXcars reaffirmed that there are infinite possible ways to build a shared culture.
- Quality: It was a great show. Right now, it is possible to produce high-quality culture without the involvement of the cultural industry, and to reach as many or more people as you would if you were working inside the industry. An example is the work of Guillermo Zapata (“best film” category ;-)), which is produced through a small, independent structure but has managed to reach 74 million people, or the Blender Foundation who rely on an enormous interconnected network of collaborators and are the envy of Hollywood’s animation industry.
- Dismantling of myths: The way sampling works in the DJ culture shows that copying is natural. The oXcars explained and showed it through a music section lasting over three hours. Meanwhile, Alan Toner’s account of a day in the life of a P2P user was an evocative example of how a sharing network really works. P2P is not the devil. In the “Future Markets” category, we dismantled another myth: shared culture is not incompatible with the possibility of generating profit. 127 prove this, distributing material with CC licences and allowing free downloads.
- They say it protects artists, but it’s repression: The oXcar Awards wanted to show that, just like in other periods in history, new research developments for the benefit of the community are being held back by powerful lobby groups that defend their own interests. It’s important to keep in mind that these defamatory and repressive practices aren’t a historical exception (we don’t have to wait centuries to realise they are an aberration!). Comparing them to the absurdity of the Inquisition, we created the “Galileo Galilei” Award, awarded to Pablo Soto, who has been persecuted for the progress he has made as a software developer.
- There is no reason to fear: Cultural industry lobbies instil fear in hearts and minds through threats that they create by distorting morality and the law. There is no reason. The legitimacy of these lobbies is a bluff. It must be known. Because calling their bluff empowers people, at the oXcars we read out the hilarious responses to the Pirate Bay threats, among laughter and general hilarity, and disobeyed the illegal clauses of the SGAE’s articles of association. It must be done. (Note: The tools for legal disobedience that were launched at the oXcars are available on the exgae web page so that they can be use and spread).
- Another philosophy of authorship: The net has produced a culture for and by the net. We thanked “nerds” like Brent Simon, who dedicate their time and knowledge to creating online phenomena that produce a new shared culture in which each person’s talent is appreciated and acknowledged within the total sum of shared talent.
- Public domain: We requested lost profit for everything that has been stolen from the public domain, with a grand Karaoke Symphony.
- A non-profit event: People tend to confuse free, open culture and free-of-charge culture. Seeing as we live in a capitalist society whether we like it or not, we believe that it is not strategically smart to go with the pauperist idea that creators of free culture can’t make a living from their work, if they choose to do so. This is why everybody who participated in or worked to put together the oXcars received fair compensation, like any “artisan” who gets paid for his or her work. We don’t need to wait until capitalism is overthrown in order for shared culture to work.
The oXcars and the EXGAE consultancy, which was operating under a serious deficit, were funded through the oXcars tickets sales (5 € to 10 €), and by contributions from the people and groups that make up EXGAE. The groups or organisations that are part of EXGAE receive public funding or are funded through membership fees. The oXcars were a non-profit event because all funds were invested in it, and no surplus value was generated.
We believed that all of this reached the more than 1200 people who participated in the oXcars, and the thousands of people who accessed the information that was circulated through the web, links,
THE NEXT STEPS
- Coming soon: oXcars, the Movie, which will help to multiply and spread everything that went into the oXcars so that it can be used and shared.
- Without a doubt, the oXcars 2009…
- As we said in our ad “In times of crisis, creativity is the answer… The oXcars, something you can trust”, the current financial crisis has shown that we are living in a system in which we are all supposed to protect the interests of the banks and the big multinationals, in the hope that one day they’ll let us work for them in return 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 way of doing business are possible. It has already created an operational new form of production based on crafts or trades, where the author-producer doesn’t lose control of production and doesn’t need the mediation of big monopolies. And based on autonomous initiative in solidarity with others, on exchange according to each person’s abilities and opportunities, on the democratisation of knowledge, education and the means of production and on a fair distribution of earnings according to the work carried out.
For all of these reasons, and to continue the work that began with Greed Breaks the Sack, In Favour of a Free Culture of Citizens Who Share and led to the oXcar Awards in July 2008, we call on all networks that are fighting to defend knowledge sharing and a shared culture in the face of the cutbacks that can be expected when Spain takes over the European presidency in 2010. We propose joining forces to reach a consensus on a series of points and specific demands with which to appeal to the powers that be, unceasingly and from all directions. To this end, we re-launch a slightly improved version of the 7 points we initially proposed with Greed Breaks the Sack, so that they can modified until we reach consensus. Now there are 8 points, and they can be found here (follow the link: 8 necessary and urgent demands to protect and boost the knowledge society for the good of everybody (every single person, really ;)) :
1. That any restrictions placed on filesharing (P2P) networks be considered to be an act of obscurantism and an attack on the fundamental human rights guaranteed by our constitution and covered by countless international treaties that have been ratified by the Spanish state. Our rights to knowledge and learning, to access to culture and freedom of expression would be seriously undermined if limits were to be placed on the tools that society currently has at its disposal.
2. That rights management associations become what they really are: private associations that ONLY AND EXCLUSIVELY manage the “accounts” of their members, that is, the royalties of some artists. That they allow free competition, like any private organisation, and that under no circumstances private entities be allowed to delve into the privacy and the pockets of citizens for their own private profit (for one example among thousands, see Valencia’s “Music Tower”). That authors and editors not be represented by a single organisation as in the times of vertical unions, that all members be entitled to vote, obviously, and especially that royalty management organisations only manage registered works, thus allowing the use of free licenses.
3. Given that royalties are ultimately a matter between editors, producers and authors, that artists be paid fairly, whether or not they are members of royalty management associations. That artists, if they so wish, be paid mainly for their actual creative work and not for the exploitation it generates.
4. The immediate abolition of the “digital canon” levy, the strange tithe that indiscriminately sanctions all citizens in the name of “compensating” artists and attempts to penalise behaviour that is not criminal in any way, while the profits of these takings fall into the hands of a few individuals, who are rarely artists, and even more rarely create anything related to the world of culture. Dictatorships insinuate “crimes” where they don’t exist and then collect money from the “suspects”. The abolition of the concept of paying for private copies and the acceptance of full rights to private copies as intrinsic to human memory since the invention of the Internet.
5. That the time frame before works become Public Domain benefit creativity and society. To allow more than one generation to live from somebody’s work is a way of encouraging parasitism and creative stagnancy. It deactivates reinvestment and although it was designed to favour individual artists, it actually benefits large multinational companies that distort original works. We ask that creative work becomes public domain within a reasonable period of time, according to the kind of work, with a maximum of 30 years.
6. That the “right to quote” be defended as a vehicle for democratic growth of the information society.
7. That the concept of “lost profit” be eliminated from any area relating to cultural production.
8. That it not be obligatory to receive compensation for public communication.
- And last but not least, EXGAE’s legal consultancy will continue its day-to-day work to defend individuals for the abuses of the cultural industry lobby groups. But not without first bringing you a unique gift for your loved ones at such as special time of the year. The “Apostasia and Aposgasia” Christmas Pack. See the promotional video.
Greetings and all the best to all of you!
And, as always, please contact us for sharing, action, opinions, questions and sane and constructive criticism:
The paper press:
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- MUsic & AV(FINAL CONCERT): Matt Black (Cold Cut), Griffi, La Màquina de Turing, K-sero + offtv; Filastine…
- Trial for sure: Leo Bassi
- Literatura: WuMing
- Galileo Galilei: Pablo Soto
- Markets with future: 127 y Enrique Sierra
- Millons audience en your room: Brent Simon
- Animation: Blender Foundation
- Cinema: Guillermo Zapata