Where went the movement? Thoughts after #ccsummit




Ni! Hey Sing,

Does it even make sense to rank Free Culture alongside OER and Open Access?

The latter two boil down to efficiency: the politics is quite simple, even if some of the knots are really tight. They’re easy to grasp and profit from organizations and incentive structures already in place. In the culture field I’d probably place Open GLAM alongside them.

Free Culture (stricto sensu) is much more like Democratic Education or Science Hacking. Its politics is about liberating people, not works.


Of course, this suggests that I disagree with your view that the Free Culture movement was born out a desire to access existing cultural resources.

Access to existing stuff was supposed to be evidence of the problem and “fair use” a possibility of bootstrapping Free Culture through remixing.

Until a group of short-term-minded and funding-guided folks decided to make everything about “fair and balanced censorship”, putting forward this inconsistent and hollow notion of “Free Culture” whose politics is conservative enough to attract “progressive” institutional donors.


Or at least this is what I feel like saying about it, but I admit I don’t have such a deep understanding of the situation and what I wrote might have some use but is also an oversimplification. :wink:



No work of Free Culture (unless you stretch to include Wikipedia) has had any mainstream cultural impact.

One is that the Free Culture movement was always born out of a desire to access existing cultural resources, and not to replace them.

I’m curious how you define Free Culture [movement]? Wikipedia is only free culture by a stretch, and the movement wants to access existing cultural resources?

I’ve always thought of Free Culture in terms of freedoms, i.e., https://freedomdefined.org/Definition and expansive in topic, including well, everything…whether for education, research, entertainment, business, etc. Of course OA and OER and Open GLAMs (the actually libre subset of these) are Free Culture.

Of course the movement to produce new and libre and stereotypical “cultural” projects is very tiny, and has very little intersection with the CC universe (though occasionally an enthusiast has been involved in CC, though never many at one time and always semi-rouge).

Also, the less libre-focused free culture movement (which hardly ever uses the term free culture; “students for free culture” becoming moribund after several years of activity is one factor) is indeed mostly interested in access to existing material. It’s a pity their agitation for eg exceptions and limitations rarely considers prioritizing commons-based (i.e., libre) production, though in the more functional topics noted, they sometimes do so out of more topic-specific commitments. Speaking of which, I don’t follow CC very closely, but I suspect pushing for more OER and the like is probably the best thing for them to do, because it’s an entirely good and useful thing to do, and given the reality that it has never been a Free Culture organization/movement.

On gathering places, semi-recently (maybe 2016?) https://freeculture.org was retrieved from the former student group and I believe the idea was for it to become a gathering place for the ever-latent Free Culture movement. I admit that I’m part of the problem, rarely looking in and not contributing. I joined their matrix channel for awhile and only saw occasional line noise effectively.

I still have some hope, and I think the path forward is what it has always been, including pre-CC, which is basically free software/free culture collaboration (I should probably just stop here and increase my donation to ZeMarmot), plus some public policy stuff which free software also badly lacks. I think I’ve written someplace long ago that CC only exists because free software people failed to do much more than poke around the potential of free culture, so there was almost nothing existing to displace when an entity with good intentions, and a bit of funding and prestige came along.

@singpolyma in sum, I probably agree with everything you wrote. :slight_smile: