Throwback Out of Office #9 ‘Maker Party: Copyright and Maker Culture’

Technological developments have enabled us to be creators. It has become easy to remix and transform material and share it on the Internet, which can conflict with (outdated) copyright regimes. We need to make sure we have copyright law that embraces innovative maker culture.


Sebastiaan ter Burg / CC BY
7 March 2017

Kennisland and the Mozilla Foundation organised an Out of Office dedicated to Copyright and Maker Culture on February 24th. A Maker Party is an event for artists, authors, activists, educators, coders and entrepreneurs where they can learn more about how to connect outdated copyright law to our modern maker culture. The maker culture is where individuals actively make things for personal use, the commercial market and simply to share freely. Technological developments have enabled us to be creators. It has become easy to remix and transform material and share it on the Internet, which can conflict with (outdated) copyright regimes. We need to make sure we have copyright law that embraces innovative maker culture.

Therefore, we organised the Maker Party to talk about the following questions (while enjoying a drink and live music). How does the maker culture contribute to developments in the cultural sector? How can we benefit from the maker culture while having restrictive rules? How can a maker culture contribute to a smarter society?How does the maker culture contribute to developments in the cultural sector? How can we benefit from the maker culture while having restrictive rules? How can a maker culture contribute to a smarter society? We invited two speakers to talk about this issue. Jeroen de Boer, librarian at Library Service Fryslan and Lisette Kalshoven copyright and open education advisor at Kennisland. The event was moderated by Judith Blijden.

“All libraries should have a maker space”

The first guest of the evening, Jeroen de Boer, librarian and member of the maker movement, has found different ways to continue to innovate libraries and schools. One of the main tasks of libraries is to share knowledge, and they should embrace the maker culture. Jeroen advocates for maker spaces as a fundamental part of libraries, where visitors can learn (by doing) about maker culture and digital literacy. That is why there is a 3D printer in his library. Jeroen, for example, organises workshops with FryskLab Maker Boxes++Maker BoxesMaker Boxes consist of eight boxes based on the eight elements of digital literacy (Belshaw). Each box contains a piece of technology and the participants have to find out what’s in it, how it works and how to interact with other participants and boxes.. Maker boxes allow you to discover new exciting technology.

He explained that open source data use allows great design at a low price. He told the story of a 9-year-old boy who was looking for a suitable prosthetic hand. The boy found one on the Internet, which had a design based on open-source data. Because it was open source, the boy was able to print the prosthetic hand in the colours of his favourite football team in cooperation with the University of Minnesota for only fifty euros. This story illustrated the importance and relevance of the maker culture and how it can benefit society.

Copyright based on the printing press

Lisette Kalshoven emphasised the value of the maker culture, even though the current copyright law makes it difficult to exploit that value. Copyright law is based on a time when copying was difficult. It is designed for the press, not for the InternetCopyright law is based on a time when copying was difficult. It is designed for the press, not for the Internet. where you can copy everything in two clicks with almost zero marginal costs. The current version of copyright law in Europe is in dire need of an update.++A modern copyrightRead more about how we try to fix copyright. Or go to the Mozilla website to see how they help to reform copyright. We should realise that the maker culture is no threat or something to be feared, but something positive for society. There should be stronger exceptions on copyright law which allow libraries, museums and schools to do what they do best: give people access to culture and information.

Sadly, educators are still not able to benefit from all technological developments. Copyright is often a difficult barrier for teachers. Lisette:

“Is it reasonable that an educator must ask permission to Fox News before emailing a clip of a Trump press conference to her students for preparation?”

After the presentations there was a discussion about the impact of open source data and the emerging culture maker. Some people expressed their worries that the rise of the maker culture went alongside a decline of appreciation for particular knowledge and skills. This can have negative consequences for existing business models for creators. Others suggested that a possible solution to this problem is applying other business models such as Patreon.

One member from the audience, Walter van Holst, expressed that people should not be worried that creators will stop creating because of developments in technologyPeople should not be worried that creators will stop creating because of developments in technology.:

“As long as 16-year-old boys realise that they will sooner get a girlfriend when they play guitar, there will be 16-year-old boys who play guitar.”

At the end of the evening it was possible to experience the maker culture first hand. You could actively participate in the maker culture yourself by doing a workshop ‘creative programming’ led by Tijmen Schep, experiment with the maker boxes of Jeroen, or by making the best meme of the evening.

 

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Out of Office #9 'Maker Party: Auteursrecht en de Makercultuur'

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