(I’m republishing here the press announcement from the Culture Forum, please help to spread it!)
A huge international coalition has come together to campaign for respect for the civil rights of citizens and artists in the digital era. Today they are launching internationally the Charter for Innovation, Creativity and Access to Knowledge. This initiative is a response to the pressure of the lobbies of the culture industry on the European Parliament and national parliaments. The Charter is an outcome of the Culture Forum held last week in Barcelona.
The press recently announced the accord reached by the European Commission on the “protection” of Internet access, the so-called Telecommunications Package. The agreeement is ambiguous but on the positive side, it is not granting the full demands of the culture industry lobbies which included the drastic measure of cutting off anyone who interchanged files on the Internet.
The changes added in defense of fundamental rights and in favor of the jurisdictions of each country were the results of the efforts of hundreds of organizations and citizens who pressured the European Parliament members and served to counteract the pressures of the culture industry lobbies.
This case, like many others, shows the need for civil society to organize and make firm demands so that their rights are respected in adapting laws to the new structural advances of the digital era.
More than 100 renowned specialists from 20 different countries participated last week in the Culture Forum of Barcelona and created a huge international coalition to urge respect for the civil rights of citizens and artists in the digital era.
This historic gathering, whose activities included coordinating the response to the final meeting of the commission on the Telecommunications Package, constitutes the beginning of an unprecedented offensive of civil society in defense of the fundamental rights in the digital era. These rights range from the right to freedom of expression to the right of access to culture and knowledge; the defense of a just division of authors’ rights, the inviolability of communications and of privacy and the neutrality of access to the Internet. The Charter sees all these rights as great levers for the transformation of economic, political and social relations.
After three days of intense work, the Charter of the Culture Forum of Barcelona for Innovation, Creativity and Access to Knowledge was produced.
This Charter, which invites citizens to take it as theirs and use it in their requests and demands, will be disseminated worldwide through formal presentations to governments and also through a variety of actions by individuals and organisations.
The Charter will be presented to more than 1000 political institutions and governments, including WIPO, the Obama administration, the European Commission and many national governments. Some of these organizations have already shown an interest in listening to the demands, and two representatives of the European Commission and official observers from the Brazilian Ministry of Culture, among others, were present during the approval of the Charter.
The campaign will make a particular appeal to the Spanish government, which has made the regulation of the digital environment one of the flagship items in its upcoming presidency of the European Union. In 10 days the Charter will be delivered personally to “la infanta Cristina”, the daughter of the king of Spain.