A few weeks ago, I had the honor and pleasure to give a talk in Moscow for the Russian Government, who are in the process of assessing their Intellectual Property policy, as well as Google, who co-organized the event.
While most of the other speakers (record and movie execs, WIPO officials, IP attorneys, think tankers, etc) focused on specific IP policy items, I chose instead to focus on creative communities themselves, in whose name intellectual property law is enacted and enforced. Specifically, I focused on six creative communities (three traditional, three emerging) that have thrived in the absence of copyright control or enforcement, both in terms of cultural innovation and economic benefit. (For more in-depth analysis, see the book chapter about music and fashion I co-authored with Marissa Gluck a few years back).
The specific creative communities I discussed included quilting, food, fashion, mashups, doujinshi, fansubbing, and Filipino cover bands.
The talk went over well, but whether I swayed the Russians away from potential copyright maximalism remains to be seen. Below are audio from my talk, as well as my PowerPoint slides.
You can listen to the audio here: http://bit.ly/sinnrussia2011
And here are the slides: http://slidesha.re/jKSMJM
A few weeks after my talk, President Medvedev addressed the G8 summit, and expressed his doubts about the strategic value of copyright maximalism. In his words:
"The declaration reflects an absolutely conservative position that intellectual property rights should be protected according to the existing conventions. No one questions that, but I have repeatedly stated that, unfortunately, those conventions were written 50 or almost 100 years ago, and they are unable to regulate the whole complex of relations between the copyright owner and users. . . Unfortunately, this was not included in the declaration because, in my opinion, my colleagues have a more conservative opinion than is necessary at the moment. Or maybe they just don't use the Internet and have little understanding of it."
I'm sure I can't take full credit for this, but I'd like to think I played a small role.