Public Sphere and IPR

”The Era of Information Protectionism”.

This is how you could describe the time we live in, states Lars Ilshammar’s, Director of Labour Movement Archives and Library. What was before part of the public domain is today productified; knowledge becomes a product. How, for instant, he questions, is it possible that all the old heritage of the written documents, photos, films are hidden in the basement of the library and not accessible for the public? And then, when it’s decided to make old material public and documents, where the copyright is no longer a limit, are scanned to be digitized – a new copyright is created. Why not let this be what it is – owned by the public domain?

His suggestion is that a policy on Memory is done from political level, giving the guidelines on how to handle all the cultural heritage in, what from Swedish could be translated to Memory Institutions, referring to all institutions dealing with our archives and libraries.

Eva Hemmungs Wirtén, Professor in Library and Information Science (Bibliotek- och Informationsvetenskap) at Uppsala University, takes us back to the Bern Convention from 1887 where the Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) first took form. And the interesting evolving process to the modern IPR, where apparently Stockholm – the place for today’s seminar – were hosting a discussion on the IPR in 1967 that showed to be a complete turn in the Swedish position. The Bern Convention was set up by the exporters of culture, i e those who produced culture, and those who imported. Sweden was at the time of the Convention mainly an importer and argued for free IPR. While countries like France and UK, the old colonizing countries, where producing culture arguing for stricter rights for the creators. It took until 1967 for Sweden to change position.

The IPR’s where in the beginning about the creator, author, artist, and not until 1960s did it also include the investors or producers. These two are often mixed in the discussion, and it’s necessary, PhD in Civil Law and Legal Informatics at Stockholm University, Katarina Renman Cleason states, to find a balance between on one hand protection and the other accessibility.

The right of the individual is a base in a democracy; Publicist Arne Ruth begins with, and continues, as is the right to the commonage. What will this look like in the future?

The seminar, held in Stockholm on May 24th, was the second step in a three-step process of discussing the public domain and IPR. The first was a report written by Cultural Journalist Mikael Löfgren. The third is a seminar on September 22 where Google is invited in the discussion. The seminar was arranged by Nätverkstan, National Library of Sweden, Göteborg Book Fair, Foundation for the Culture of the future, and Region Västra Götaland.

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2 Responses to “Public Sphere and IPR”

  1. [...] Translation from Swedish by Lotta Lekvall. Read former posts on digitization, public sphere and IPR here and [...]

  2. [...] Framtidens kultur. It’s part of two conferences on this theme, the other one can be found here. Mikael Löfgren has written a report to introduce the topic (in Swedish) found at [...]

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Lotta Lekvall
Director of Nätverkstan, a Cultural Organisation in Sweden. Nätverkstan provides services …

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