You are on page 1of 3

Debate: Copyright & Remix Culture In next weeks workshop we are going to hold a debate.

The motion under discussion will be: This house believes that Copyright is an outdated notion and Culture on the Internet should be free.
Only last week a 23 year old British student lost his case not to be extradited to the USA for publishing the TV-Shack website which links to copyrighted material online, thus demonstrating the persistent importance of copyright for contemporary media (See: http://www.guardian.co.uk/law/2012/jan/13/piracy-student-loses-usextradition?INTCMP=SRCH). The purpose of this debate is for you to explore why copyright remains such a contentious issue for networked media. The structure of the debate 1. The class will be split into 2 groups. One group will argue in favour of the motion and the other group against. You will be given an hour to prepare some material for the debate in week 16 as well as some time in week 17. 2. In week 17 we will stage the debate. First, the pro-motion team will explain their argument for 10 minutes. Immediately followed by 5 minutes of cross-examination by the opposition. 3. This will be followed by the anti-motion side taking 10 minutes to present their arguments. Immediately followed by 5 minutes of cross-examination by the opposition. 4. Both sides will now have 5 minutes to prepare a rebuttal of the points made by the opposing side. 5. The anti-motion group will have 5 minutes to present their rebuttals. 6. The pro-motion group will have 5 minutes to present their rebuttals. 7. We will then have several minutes for some general discussion before having a final vote. Although each member of both teams should contribute thoughts and arguments to be used in the debate it is a good idea to allocate each member of the group specific responsibilities. For example, roles that will be required are who will: present the main arguments for each group cross-examine and question the initial presentations present the rebuttals

Guidance Notes Group 1: Pro-motion - Against Copyright What problems does copyright pose for culture in an online world? What arguments can you find for a change in copyright laws due to these

problems? Is copyright unenforceable online? Are there alternatives to copyright? Use examples to demonstrate your arguments. Some authors you might want to investigate are Lessig, Doctorow, Benkler and Leadbetter (see readings from weeks 6 & 7). Group 2: Anti-motion - In defence of copyright the publishers position Imagine you are a publisher or a creator of content. Why is copyright important to you? Why is it necessary? What problems does the Internet pose for content publishers and copyright? What kinds of copyright infringement are there? Some areas/sources to investigate: Copyright and the World Trade Organisation. Global copyright enforcement. Andrew Keen The Cult of the Amateur The Pirate Bay, Mininova, Limewire, Napster and other copyright enforcement cases. What is fair use?

Some things both groups might want to consider: The technological fix DRM, Bandwidth throttling Open Source the commons & capitalism The legislative fix 3 strikes, tiered internet provision (Net Neutrality) Digital Britain Report New business models

A good resource for understanding the history of piracy and copyright is: Johns, A. (2009) Piracy: the Intellectual Property Wars from Gutenberg to Gates, Chicago and London, The University of Chicago Press Try to articulate the difference between the problem of piracy and that of remix culture. As part of your research consider the relationship between copyright and different types of content such as film, music, software, pharmaceuticals and Journalism. Some relevant videos you may want to watch and take notes on: a) The Remix Manifesto sets out the structure of the debate well. You can watch the film here: http://www.nfb.ca/film/rip_a_remix_manifesto/ b) This Charlie Rose discussion with Lars Ulrich (Metallica) and Chuck D (Public Enemy) gives two different perspectives on the copyright issue: http://www.charlierose.com/view/interview/3697 Has anything changed since this debate? Remember: the point of the debate is not about being on the winning team but attempting to articulate the problems under

discussion.