Sources of the abridged case studies: Lemos, Ronaldo. 2010. “Creative Commons and Social Commons: Creativity and Innovation in the Global Peripheries,” In Intelligent Multimedia: Managing Creative Works in a Digital World, Daniele Bourcier, Pompeu Casanovas, Mélanie Dulong de Rosnay, Catharina Maracke, eds. Pp. 175-197. Florence Italy: European Press Academic Publishing; Copy/South Research Group. 2006. The Copy/South Dossier: Issues in the Economics, Politics and Ideology of Copyright in the Global South, Alan Story, Colin Darch, and Debora Halbert, eds; Rohter, Larry. 2007. “Gilberto Gil and the Politics of Music,” New York Times, March 12; Maciel, Marilia. 2011. “Brazilian Ministry of Culture Removes Creative Commons Licenses from its Website (Blogpost) http://infojustice.org/archives/867
Building on both resistance to US copyright regimes and interest in open source computer software, during the mid-2000s, Brazilians actively explored alternatives to copyright law. Especially influential was the appointment of the celebrated musician Gilberto Gil as culture minister (2003-2008). According to Gil, digital culture needed new approaches to intellectual property, and he thought an orientation towards sharing should inform government policies. Soon after his appointment, he formed an alliance with the fledgling US-based Creative Commons movement (founded in 2001). This more flexible system of licensing aimed to provide artists with greater control over their work, alongside increased opportunities for creators to sample, remix and copy work, while crediting the author (see glossary).
Similar ideas of sharing, remixing, collective creation, and intellectual generosity also underlay the canto livre (‘free singing’) project, approved by the Ministry of Culture in 2005. Canto livre aimed to build an open and creative environment for Brazilian music including a Creative Commons licensed depository of digital music resources. However, open culture approaches have remained extremely controversial in Brazil. Many areas of copyright law (e.g. those that protect books) are fiercely policed and the new minister of culture, appointed in 2011, had the Creative Commons logo removed from the Culture Ministry website. Nonetheless, certain forms of music, such as tecnobrega, circulate entirely outside the copyright system, and can be considered part of the “social commons” as opposed to the “legal commons,” a distinction marked by Ronaldo Lemos, an academic and lawyer who is the project leader of Creative Commons Brazil. In tecnobrega, musicians gain their income from large-scale sound system parties; the CDs they produce are purely for promotion and handed free to street stall “pirate” vendors, who sell them at a low price.
- What advantages or disadvantages might Creative Commons have in relation to the current copyright system in Bolivia?
- What are the major challenges to governments wishing to develop alternative copyright regimes?
- Would the tecnobrega model, which works outside copyright, be relevant for many types of Bolivian music?