Speaking at the Brain Bar Budapest futurological congress in Budapest, Jaroslaw Lipszyc, Polish poet and President of the Modern Poland Foundation, recounted his own experience of the development of computing systems, from the very earliest days of mainframes and IRC, to chart the potential “Future of Online Media.” But he also pointed out the dangers to open access to media and free speech inherent in the modern networked internet, and especially in global copyright.
Copyright Lipszyc calls “a very interesting piece of legislation” and also “a very new one.” For one thing, “it allows you to control ideas.” Governments as well as corporations therefore have an interest in copyright, which extends far beyond commercial considerations. In his view, “copyright is the new form of good old colonialism.” This is primarily because copyright benefits only two countries worldwide on a net basis: the United States and Japan. “The European Union is losing money on copyright,” because of the money it sends to US and Japanese copyright owners, and it goes without saying that the same is far more true of emerging markets.
“Copyright gives control of the flow of information to a very small group of people, and makes all others bad,” asserts Lipszyc. “It’s no accident that the United States is sending very strong copyright all over the world.” Copyright tallies well with the modern structure of the internet where computers no longer talk directly to each other peer to peer, in Liszyc’s view, but where computing and online media services are distributed via thin clients and mobile devices that talk directly to mainframes. It’s a pessimistic position, but in the light of global trade legislation like TIPP, hard to argue against.