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Backgrounder on the anti-freecultural policies of the new Brazilian Minister of Culture, Ana de Hollanda

Via Volker Ralf Grassmuck:

 

From what we know about Ana de Hollanda so far, she is void of any political vision. There is also no indication that she is grasping the fundamental transition of culture in the digital revolution that she would have to steer her country through; of the potential it holds for education and public creative expression by potentially all, for development and access to knowledge and for making use of the competitive advantage Brazil has in vying for a fair share of the global willingness to pay for cultural works that people enjoy.

In her first public appearances she made two programatic statements:

She will review the copyright law draft and the cultural incentives law (Law Rouantet). On the copyright law, she said it's controversial and "I will call on experts in the field to see where we can update the law.”[2] She thereby discards (or, which would be even worse, admits to being ignorant of) thousands of voices from all sides of culture who were involved in the copyright debate over the past five years, and the nearly 8,000 submissions to the public consultation by people who feel so strongly about the issues that they got involved. In order to bring in her own little group of "experts" -- and from her second statement we can guess where those will be coming from.

Thereby, Ana again signals that she's not getting it: In the age of Wikipedia, free software, Wikileaks, Open Data, Open Access, P2P journalism and the established practice of public consultation and participation in public policies, you can't simply go back to industry lobbying experts advising clueless politicians behind closed doors.


Ana's second programatic statement is a rejection of public oversight of the music collecting society ECAD. Again she admits of not having a clue of what she is talking about, but is convinced that checking ECAD is not possible and that she will seek expert advice.[3] Against the backgound of the blankness of the rest of her speeches this sticks out in its concreteness. It is apparent that during the speech editing somebody made sure Ana would get this point across.

Ana took only a few programatic measure so far (establishing a new office for the creative industries, promoting the cityplanning programme Praças do PAC) but the one that stuck out in the public attention was her removal of the CC licence from the MinC website. Now, for practical purposes this is fairly meaningless.

The old licence was: CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0 BR.[4] The new "licence" on http://www.cultura.gov.br/ says: "© 2010 Governo Federal. Licença de Uso: O conteúdo deste site, produzido pelo Ministério da Cultura, pode ser reproduzido, desde que citada a fonte" (License Terms: The content of this website, produced by the Ministry of Culture, may be reproduced, provided the source is cited.") On the MinC site http://culturadigital.br/ it says "Ministério da Cultura e RNP - Alguns direitos reservados" but between the W3C logo and that of Wordpress there is a CC one linking to BY-NC-SA 2.5 BR. Actually, even when the site had a "© all rights reserved" on it, the text would have been copied by news media and bloggers anyway, just like bloggers and ministries, incl. MinC regularly freely reproduce entire newspaper articles.[5]

But symbolically the act -- for maximum effect timed to break at the Campus Party Brasil 2011 in Sao Paulo, one of the largest hacker events in Latin America, -- cannot be taken other than as a thundering battle cry against free culture. This is how it was read by lawyers like Ronaldo Lemos[6] and Pedro Paranaguá,[7] sociology professor and Internet activist Sergio Amadeu,[8] musicians like Lady Rasta[9] and the rappers Teddy Paçoca Preto Loco e Renato Fabbri from the Pontos de Cultura,[10] bloggers[11] and MP Paulo Teixeira.[12]

One year ago, Lawrence Lessig had spoken with then-candidate Dilma Rousseff at the Campus Party in Sao Paulo. "She made it clear that she wanted to continue the progressive work of Minister Gil. I'd be very surprised if she reverted her position," Lessig said to the newspaper Estado on 20.1.11.[13]

Originally, the licence change was done without any explanation by the MinC but the ensuing storm of protest on Twitter and the blogosphere made them publish a "clarification" two days later:[14] "The removal of the reference to Creative Commons on the Ministry of Culture homepage occurred because Brazilian legislation allows the liberation of content. There is no need for the Ministry to feature a specific initiative. This does not stop Creative Commons or any other form of licensing to be used by anyone who is interested in it." More interesting than this lame "clarification" are the comments underneath.

On 25.1.11 while participating in the re-inauguration of the Biblioteca Mário de Andrade in São Paulo, Ana gave some more "clarification”:[15] "This happened because there was no contract of authorization. This is one of the ways you can use these works, but there are others. As already explained, the Brazilian Constitution and laws already permit [granting a permission to use], such permission shall be in writing, can be made directly, no need to go through anything. I just thought it was inappropriate to use [the CC licence] on the website of the Ministry. I wanted to make clear that whoever is authorizing, is the author of the work, not the Ministry or anyone else."
She assured that those who used content on the Ministry's site under Creative Commons can continue doing so. "The owner, the author chooses what form to give or not to give his work. He can release it without charge and allow a specific use. It depends on the author and no one will be prevented from using it. Who used it may continue to use it without problem. She said that this mechanism is "totally libertarian." "The law exists, but the author has the freedom to give up some rights, he may allow the use for a certain period or for a specific use, for example."

Since CC is precicely the established way of expressing the authors' wishes with regard to freedoms, Ana again proves that she is clueless.

The reason for this symbolic act is the ideological and irrational fear of any alternative to the full exercise of copyrights by those who have been disgruntled for eight years.

On 25.1.11, some of them spoke out in defense of Ana.[16] Among them was Danilo Caymmi, singer, composer and Director of ABRAMUS, one of the two large member associations of ECAD, writing: "There is no justification that the site of a public body such as the Ministry of Culture (MinC), shelter and promote an international private organization (Creative Commons) with taxpayer money."

The hillarious twist of these four statements is that CC is a foreign organisation, funded by mega-corporations, the spearhead of Internet companies that don't want to pay for copyrights, and that has FGV as its Fith Column inside Brazil whose Ronaldo Lemos is the legal project lead of CC-BR, out to annihilate Brazilian artists:

"It is absolutely shameful to accept that the content published on the site of a Brazilian government agency, maintained with public money, has to be "licensed" by an foreign entity, sponsored by mega-speculator George Soros (Open Society Foundation), the William & Flora Hewlett Foundation (Hewlett-Packard Company), the Rockefeller Foundation and also by Microsoft, Google, Sun Microsystems, Yahoo and other corporations of the same strain, assisted in Brazil by the globalized neoliberal FGV. ... Congratulations to Mrs. Minister and Mrs. President of the Republic, for having restored the sovereignty of our cultural management, annulling the subservient measures taken by those who, while looking modern and libertarian, only intended to bend the spine to the interests of large corporations, seeking to monopolize culture." (Venício Marco Andrade, conductor and composer)

"CC is only the tip of the iceberg of the interests of large monopolies that run the Internet. Let's hope that president Dilma understands the act of the minister and dislodges also this American virus, the Foundation Getulio Vargas. It's time for creators of Brazilian culture to unite in support of the minister to ensure that the captains of culture industry pull their carpet." (Tiberio Gaspar - musician and composer)

"The creators are the first affected, and as a consequence citizens, by the conduct of that entity, that under the false banner of "defending" what they call "free culture," is just trying to sponsor "changes" of outrageous aspects of copyright, annihilating the professionals who produce culture." (Antonio Adolfo Maurity Savoy - musician, composer and conductor.

Of course, one cannot blame Ana for what her defendors are saying. But three years ago, on Grassi's blog at Globo,[17| Ana called access to information "ironic talk" intended to neutralize creativity. And in her inaugural speech,[18] Ana did mention the need for “access to information, knowledge and art” but did not link it to freedoms in copyright law which she did not mention at all. Instead she translated it into the need to “increase the capacity for cultural consumption by the Brazilian people who are socially upward mobile.” In order to do so, she urges the Members of Congress to approve the “Vale Cultura.”[19]

Three days ago, Ana announced her new ministerial staff. It comes as no surprise that she appointed Antonio Grassi as President of the Fundação Nacional de Artes (FUNARTE). Its former president Sérgio Mamberti becomes Secretary of Cultural Policies.


Given all this, there are some in the Brazilian civil society who maintain that we should keep working with her. The forces pulling the strings in the background will remain even with a different minister. Others think that Ana of ECAD is untenable. In no time she has turned into a poisonous asset of the government Dilma. We have nothing to gain from tying to talk to her.

So I'm closing with the same question — to the sociedade-civil list and to the groups in Dakar: should the demand now be: Off with Ana!?

Best,
Volker


1http://phiattro.blogspot.com/2011/01/por-makely-ka-campanha-lancada...

http://blogs.estadao.com.br/link/tom-ze-no-minc/

2http://ultimosegundo.ig.com.br/cultura/ana+de+hollanda+nao+tem+nada...

3http://ultimosegundo.ig.com.br/cultura/ana+de+hollanda+nao+tem+nada...

4see Archive.org's Wayback Machine where the most recent snapshot is from Jul 31, 2008: http://web.archive.org/web/*/http://www.cultura.gov.br/

5The news section of the site is nothing but such reproductions: http://www.cultura.gov.br/site/categoria/o-dia-a-dia-da-cultura/

6http://marcos-favero.blogspot.com/2011/01/ato-de-ministra-provoca-p...

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