ISN’T THIS A DEFEAT?
There was a good chance that we would win these court cases. But the time and money we would have had to waste on fighting them, and the resulting alienation and straying away from the key battles – that would really have been a defeat.
To have a sense of humour, be astute and remain uncapturable, these are our duties ;-)
Martyrdom does not form part of our modus operandi. Guerilla warfare, not trench warfare.
EXGAE is a name that has made history, and fulfilled its role with flying colours.
Now we launch a new name that is also full of possibilities: Xnet.
We will continue to act exactly as before, with more freedom. The Web is exactly the same: the same activities and the same positions. But with more people, many more people. And without surrealist lawsuits.
We will continue to work towards “freeing citizens from the abuses of royalties collection societies and the cultural industry” as forcefully as ever.
The agreement we have come to with the SGAE is proof this.
The SGAE admits that something is not working in its way of relating to(?) free licences. A historic statement.
Our ideals and objectives have not changed in the slightest. What would have been a defeat is if we had sacrificed this opportunity simply to hang on to a name.
ISN’T THIS A WAY OF HELPING THE SGAE TO CONTINUE? DIDN’T WE WANT IT TO DIE? “THE SGAE DOESN’T MEND ITS WAY, IT DESTROYS ITSELF”
If we truly want to change things, we can’t deny reality. The SGAE and other royalties collection societies are active agents in issues of legislation pertaining to rights in the digital age. We can’t deny their existence, but we can work towards making change inevitable and of benefit to society. And we’re not talking about the SGAE changing, what we mean is that all these obstacles to the fair development of the digital age are bound to change, and any changes will gradually dislodge the machinery and reconfigure it. It is necessary to intervene at all levels: by creating new spaces and acting in existing structures; through practice, through discourse; at the local level and in parliaments and institutions; in Spain and internationally; from inside and out. And all of this is what civil society is already doing.
We simply add one more possibility among the many that we work with.
The thing that helps the royalties collection societies to survive and gives them so much power is the money that they collect and accumulate without being entitled to do so, and under the protection of the law. To deactivate this is, at the very least, justice.
AREN’T YOU HELPING TO WHITEWASH THE SGAE?
Improve the SGAE’s image? Frankly, that would be a difficult undertaking indeed; they would have to do something truly unexpected.
If they do, we’ll be there to spread the word. And we’ll also be there to spread the word if they don’t, which would worsen their image even further.
And when we say “we’ll be there,” we’re talking about civil society, not us, Xnet.
Because civil society will decide how to “dialogue” on this subject.
SGAE is obviously hungry for positive press and pats on the back.
The first thing we thought is that the SGAE wanted to whitewash its image… a court case with the EXGAE would not have been very flattering to it. We’ve turned it over in our heads millions of times, and ended up deciding that if they were taking this step, we had to take advantage of it. It is obviously not the first time that somebody confronts the royalties collection societies in these terms. The wheels of bureaucracy turn slowly. We can’t rule out, or guarantee, that this occasion will give us the desired results: we have the information that is at our disposal (which is a lot) and the interlocutor they have allocated us, the lawyer Ricardo Gómez Cabaleiro, who is making unprecedented efforts at mediation.
But anyway, am I defined by my enemy, or by the objectives that I pursue?
If the rival, the enemy, says he wants to change, no matter how strange that seems to us, if I’m certain of my identity and objectives, it can only be good news.
If it’s a bluff, my position has not moved in the slightest, but the opponent has been exposed.
Isn’t this what we were fighting for? To change things. Do we really think that we will wake up one day and royalties collection societies will have simply gone away?
The only way to win is to give the enemy the possibility of changing.
There’s no point cornering him, even if your objective is to make him disappear.
The announcement of a desire to change is excellent news.
Whether this change is actually attained, and to what degree, is something we will see with time.
ISN’T THIS A PACT WITH THE DEVIL?
When you pact with the devil you give away your soul in exchange… here we want to win and achieve specific things in exchange for a name, not for our souls.
The Devil in this case is legitimised by the Government, which allows it to do what it does with the means it uses to do it. This roundtable can be a great opportunity to cut down the distance, and this should not be understood as a rapprochement, but a “shift” (with the devil shifting in our direction, obviously).
YOUR FIRST PRESS RELEASE TALKED ABOUT “STAYING” AND “GOING TO LUXEMBURG”. WHAT NOW?
They gave us the idea, when they contacted us.
“Staying”? We’re here to stay, no doubt about it!!!
We are staying, there’s no doubt about that. When faced with a threat, you always get a knot in your stomach, but with a cool head the most valuable option becomes clear. Some members of eXgae went all the way to Luxembourg because the SGAE didn’t want to sit down and change. I think you all know how that ended up, and so does the SGAE. The SGAE has to sit down and change, it isn’t in a position to withstand many more onslaughts of this type.
ISN’T IT A BETRAYAL OF THOSE WHO HAVE SUPPORTED YOU?
Most people who wrote to us when we received the official fax from the SGAE offered us their help and knowledge, but also told us to change our name. Why suffer?!
We understand that some people interpret the fact that we made a deal with the SGAE as a softening of our position, but we think we have demonstrated our sincerity over the past three years, and we hope that most people will trust the way we plan to approach that “Dialogue roundtable.” Our only role will be to amplify the proposals that come from civil society, and we hope that people will trust us in our efforts to put together resources and tools between now and April.
THE DIALOGUE ROUNDTABLE WILL BE A BLUFF.
Quite likely, but a bluff is only useful to those who try to pull it off if it goes undetected. The bluffers pays dearly for it if they are found out.
The SGAE can only come out of this weakened and impoverished.
All of us – the Net – have managed to make this happen.
By changing our name, we no longer have anything to lose.
WHO WILL PARTICIPATE IN THE ROUNDTABLE DIALOGUE? WHO ARE YOU TO REPRESENT ANYBODY?
The Roundtable is theirs; it is organised by the SGAE. For the moment, all we’ve done is ensure that whatever is said there, will reach the public.
The Net will decide whether to participate, and how.
We have some ideas about how to do it, and we will share them so that a collective decision can be made.
This struggle is not ours. It began before we were even born. All we are doing is contributing our skills to the transformation.
WHAT IS THE PLAN FOR ACHIEVING SOMETHING THAT MANY HAVE ALREADY ATTEMPTED?
The discussions around what will happen in relation to that Roundtable are just beginning. There are ideas, and spaces in which to discuss them will be set up.
We can say that there are excellent ideas that involve members, non-members, users, from here, there and everywhere. There is a lot of energy, and this is already unstoppable thanks to all the effort that so many people have put into it over many years. Now the time has come.
DOES THAT MEAN THAT THE SGAE WILL MAKE A KILLING OUT OF FREE LICENCES?
In reality, it is already making a killing with free licences and CC (see the Tracks Collector). It collects money and doesn’t give it back.
The issue is precisely to make things change, in full view of civil society, with free licences in free competition.
Otherwise, as we already know, the system ends up encompassing and swallowing everything. And the SGAE will manage to do business with free licences.
This is the real heart of the matter, and this is what we are getting ready for ;-)
HAVE YOU RECEIVED MONEY?
We forgot to ask for any! ;-)
To finish off, we want to go back to some points relating royalties collection societies that the EXGAE highlighted in the Charter for Innovation, Creativity and Access to Knowledge, in order to emphasise that we believe royalties collection societies should simply be a service contracted by authors who wish to do so, and not a State-backed monopoly that does not allow any options.
What needs to be changed is Intellectual Property Law, because many other things, as well as royalties management societies, need to be reformed. This is simply a way of lobbying for this.
1. Authors/creators should always be able to revoke the mandate of collecting societies.
2. Royalties collection societies are private entities, so they should be allowed only to manage the accounts of their members, who are in no case the entire creative community.
3. Free competition among collecting societies should be permitted, as with all private entities. Legal monopolies for collection societies should be abolished.
Eligible authors and artists should be free to register with each society those works they choose, while leaving other works unregistered, or registering them elsewhere.
4. Authors and editors should not be represented by the same entity, as in the days of vertical organisations.
5. Above all, a collection society should only manage and collect for works that have been registered with it.
6. No collection society should be allowed to prevent artists or authors from using free licenses.
7. Private collecting societies should not manage non-attributable levies. Any amounts that are not attributable to particular authors should be managed by the state for the purpose of promoting the creativity of society as a whole.