FCForum solidarity with Portuguese minister
The Minister of Science and Technology of Portugal, Mr. Mariano Gago, stated that Internet ”piracy” on a wide scale brings some positive developments, such as an enormous increased value to producers who see their content distributed all over the world. Mr. Gago added that this is not surprising, since piracy has always been a source of progress and globalization.
Pressure from the content industry lobby forced Mr. Gago to publicly retract his statement.
Actually, historic and contemporary facts strongly support his claims. An important account is given by professor Doron Ben-Altar in his book ”Trade Secrets: Intellectual Piracy and the Origins of American Industrial Power”:
”During the first decades of America’s existence as a nation, private citizens, voluntary associations, and government officials encouraged the smuggling of European inventions and artisans to the New World. These actions openly violated the intellectual property regimes of European nations. […] What fueled 19th century American boom was a dual system of principled commitment to an intellectual property regime combined with absence of commitment to enforce these laws. This ambiguous order generated innovation by promising patent monopolies. At the same time, by declining to crack down on technology pirates, it allowed for rapid dissemination of innovation that made American products better and cheaper.”
Moreover, thanks to the small costs of European books for which copyright was not paid, the USA managed to fight illiteracy of the population at a faster rate than Europe.
During the last century, American film-makers moved to California in order to avoid paying expensive patent fees of Edison, and founded Hollywoodland. As a consequence, the American movie industry quickly became, and still is, the most developed and powerful movie industry in the world.
Nowadays, non-commercial wide scale Internet exchange is again beneficial for the market. It has managed to create and sustain completely new businesses, as a massive quantity of truly independent studies show: http://www.laquadrature.net/wiki/Studies_on_file_sharing_eng.
It has also increased access to knowledge, particularly amongst the disadvantaged and those in developing economies.
The following organizations express their regret for the claims by the copyright industry lobbies which manage to silence any dissenting voice, including the one of a minister,any effort to think and contextualize the issues of the new forms of returns for the creative community and the society in a way different from what is imposed by the content industry.
Attacking all new opinions and minds open to new models of economy will only bring high costs to the civil society and new entrepreneurs but will not stop the inevitable progress of the digital age.
and yours truly