Le 5 juin dernier, Eben Moglen, professeur de droit de l’université de Columbia à New-York, nous a fait l’honneur de venir nous parler sur le thème Culture et Internet.
Eben Moglen est professeur de droit et d’histoire du droit à l’Université Columbia de New-York. Il est connu pour ses contributions à la licence de logiciel libre GNU GPL dont il a dirigé la récente révision et préside le Software Freedom Law Center. Mais c’est avant tout un analyste perçant des enjeux sociaux et culturels des techniques de l’information et de la communication. Il situera les débats sur des propositions législatives en France et en Europe (comme la loi Olivennes) dans une perspective plus générale : celle du développement culturel, démocratique et économique de nos sociétés. Pour en savoir plus, consulter la page que le Wikipedia anglophone consacre à Eben Moglen.
Les 10 premières minutes de son exposé sont en français, la suite et les questions/réponses en anglais. La conférence est introduite par Jean-Marc Manach pour la FING et Philippe Aigrain pour La Quadrature du Net.
Vous trouverez ci-dessous la vidéo de son intervention que nous sommes en train de sous-titrer.
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Conférence d’Eben Moglen, 5 juin 2008, Culture et Internet
Conférence d’Eben Moglen, 5 juin 2008, Culture et Internet
Conférence d’Eben Moglen, 5 juin 2008, Culture et Internet
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Conférence d’Eben Moglen, 5 juin 2008, Culture et Internet
Jean-Marc Manach, FING
Bonjour, je suis Jean-Marc Manach je suis membre de la FING la Fondation Internet Nouvelle Génération
On est très content de vous accueillir ce soir ainsi qu’Eben Moglen
Il y a quelques temps de cela la FING avait lancé un groupe de travail qui s’appelait « musique et Internet » au moment
d’un projet de loi nommé DADVSI
Tout le monde était en train de s’écharper et la FING avait fait le pari d’essayer de voir dans quelle mesure des personnes aux positions irréconciliables pouvaient se retrouver pour discuter autour d’un thème qui était « Musique et Internet ».
On avait réussi à ce que le débat essaye d’avancer que les gens essayent de trouver comment s’en tirer par le haut
et sortir des conflits, des guerres qu’il y avait en permanence
aujourd’hui, il y a un projet de loi qui s’appelle « Création et Internet » et c’est reparti on est reparti avec les mêmes problèmes qui avaient été posés par DADVSI, voire pire et on est trés content d’avoir Eben Moglen car son point de vue sur l’environnement « Création est Internet » évite les ornières et revient à des principes de base : la liberté
du citoyen dans ce qu’est Internet.
Je vais laisser Philippe Aigrain présenter le parcours et la personne.
Philippe Aigrain, La Quadrature du Net
Bonsoir, je suis Philippe Aigrain un des animateurs de la Quadrature du Net qui est un petit collectif citoyen
dont l’évènement déclencheur est le dépôt la préparation, les rumeurs d’un certain nombre de textes législatifs,
mais notre ambition est, vous allez le voir, plus profonde.
Il est vrai que nous étions très inquiets des dispositions prévues par les différents textes que nous considérons comme dangereuses pour les libertés pour le fonctionnement normal de la séparation des pouvoirs et même pour le développement d’un certain nombre d’activités
Nous avons aussi été indignés des modes de préparation de la législation depuis très longtemps, et de la très mauvaise gouvernance démocratique de ces préparations.
mais toutes ces réactions négatives ne sont rien à côté du sentiment d’une occasion perdue qui est celle de débattre plus au fond du futur que nous voulons pour nos sociétés et du rôle que tiennent les échanges informationnels dans ce futur, et des nouveaux paysages qui tracent pour la culture
Cela nous conduit à avoir des débats législatifs ou réglementaires où les options envisagées sont complètement tronquées, où seul un petit ensemble d’option est envisagé, et surtout où l’on perd de vue les perspectives.
Dans cet esprit, nous sommes particulièrement heureux de pouvoir donner la parole à Eben Moglen.
Eben Moglen et professeur de droit et d’histoire de droit à l’Université de Columbia.
Il est connu depuis longtemps pour avoir été le conseil de la fédération du logiciel libre, la FSF, puis pour avoir fondé et dirigé un organisme une fondation à but non lucratif, qui travaille à l’environnement juridique des logiciels libres et qui s’appelle le Software Freedom Law Center.
Mais en dehors de cet univers du logiciel libre, Eben est aussi un penseur de fond sur les enjeux ce que l’on a appelé
il y a quelques années « la société de l’information » maintenant dans certains cercles on n’en parle même plus… et il propose une combinaison qui est extrêmement rare qui est une pensée radicale, et en même temps une activité d’ingénieur de consensus et de compromis
Ceux qui ont suivi le processus de révision de la licence libre GPL ont pu témoigner que l’on avait une expérience de gouvernance à l’échelle planétaire d’un processus où les acteurs étaient extrêmement dissymétriques c’était à la fois Intel, IBM, et un développeur isolé en Croatie ou au Brésil et malgré cela on a pu avoir quelque chose qui, dans son propre champ, est un modèle
Eben est un penseur radical, et ce soir c’est à lui que nous allons donner la parole c’est à cette casquette. mais rappelez-vous que radical, cela veut dire … comme Jean-Marc l’a dit, revenir à la racine des choses, et c’est ce que je crois.
Eben Moglen, Université de New-York Columbia
Mesdames et messieurs, Je me sens très honoré d’être ici ce soir je remercie les organisateurs, particulièrement Philippe Aigrain.
Plusieurs escarmouches ont eu lieu autour des industries culturelles depuis dix ans, mais une bataille plus décisive
s’est déclenchée ici et maintenant.
Les soi-disants propriétaires de la culture ont essayé plusieurs stratégies dans le passé pour empêcher la transformation des échanges culturels.
Ainsi, par exemple, 37000 personnes ont été poursuivies aux Etats-Unis pour partage de fichiers musicaux par les groupes d’intérêts représentant les majors musicales.
77 millions de dollars ont ainsi été gagnés par ces industriels, dont ils n’ont pas versé un centime aux musiciens.
Comme nous l’avions prévu, ces actions coercitives n’ont en rien empêché la reprise en main de la distribution culturelle par les jeunes du monde entier.
A côté des actions juridiques, les « propriétaires » ont aussi essayé de contrôler les technologies de traitement de l’information, en y installant des DRMs, abusivement appelés systèmes de gestion de droits numériques, alors qu’il ne s’agit que de systèmes de contrôle des actions des usagers.
Mais ces efforts ont aussi été sans effet.
A vrai dire, l’utilisation des DRM est peut-être plus dangereuse pour l’industrie musicale et technologique que les actions des enfants partageurs.
Comme les efforts de contrôler directement les comportements du public et les technologies de reproduction étaient aussi inefficaces les uns que les autres, comme les industries propriétaires ne pouvaient pas risquer d’être encore plus détestées par leurs clients, ils mettent maintenant en avant une nouvelle stratégie.
Elle consiste à forcer les opérateurs de réseau et l’état à agir à leur place.
Ils arrivent en Europe, équipés d’une métaphore de baseball, la three-strike approach, baptisée ici, je crois « riposte graduée », mais dont le sens au base-ball est, je vous le rappelle, 3 coups et je vous met dehors.
Cette métaphore, au-delà de son origine américaine, est fondée sur une hypothèse : l’idée qu’il existerait un « dehors ».
Mais tous ceux qui voient plus loin que le besoin de soulager les souffrances d’un business particulier sont conscients des efforts et des investissements que nous avons consacrés à développer une infrastructure informationnelle qui ne laisse personne « dehors ».
Mettons-nous donc d’accord sur le fait que de décider que quelqu’un sera placé « dehors », exclu de l’internet,
est en contradiction insoluble avec les objectifs des pouvoirs publics du 21ème siècle.
Au lieu de nous préparer à exclure une génération du net parce qu’elle croit au partage, notre intention doit être
d’encourager et construire les technologies et les comportements sociaux qui rendent le partage inévitable.
Je m’attends donc à entendre bientôt parler d’une riposte graduée sans conclusion : « 3 strikes mais pas dehors ».
Sous prétexte de l’absence de sanctions formelles, on prétendra qu’il est acceptable que des personnes soient accusées de violations ou d’être même des pirates, sans même avoir la possibilité de répondre.
Non seulement le processus de riposte graduée est inacceptable, mais son déroulement ne vaut pas mieux que ce soit pour le fournisseur d’accès ou pour la haute autorité dont la mise en place est prévue on est en pleine confusion des rôles.
L’alternative serait, nous dit-on d’affamer les artistes sans rémunération et de provoquer l’effondrement de nos civilisations.
Heureusement, ce n’est pas ainsi que les choses fonctionnent.
How do they actually work? So let me try to indicate how they actually work, now.
after sharing becomes inevitable,
is already fully in agitation.
The intent to control music,
which began at the end of the 1990’s
is really, despite this last rear-guard action,
inevitable and ???able???
Controlling music failed,
because music files were comparatively small,
because music files were easily shared,
because the thirst for music,
the hunger for a sound which belongs to me,
which is the soundtrack of my life,
had been developed by the technology of the walkman
for a generation, by the time the actual digital revolution arrived,
and it became possible for people
to program their own radio station in their head,
for a lifetime.
In other words, the population that came
to the digital revolution had pre-developed
a taste for the sharing and freeing of music.
And once the means were available in their hands,
under their control,
once the plasticity of music as bits
had become fully realized,
all attempts to control sharing
were nothing more than an attempt
to lock the barn after the departure of the horse.
Nonetheless, the recording companies of the world
made every single mistake it was possible to make…
and they continue to make them!
The first crisis of design
was the crisis of the assumption
which I referred to in my opening remarks
that the technology of music itself
could be rendered controlled
through digital rights management
and the prohibition on machines that do what you want.
The idea was, from the beginning,
in the secure digital music initiative,
to make bits responsive, not to the person
in the neighborhood of the bits,
but some absent party, a designer whose control
over the movement of data had been reinforced
The music industry pursued this goal
with a single-minded intensity
that nearly destroyed them.
Because it turned out that they were working for Mr Jobs…
and for nobody else, in the end.
It required the experience of the discovery
that controlled technology gave the power
to determine who make money from music:
to the proprietor of the technology
rather than the proprietors of the music
to wake the music industry up
to the difficulty they had nearly put themselves in.
Mr Jobs was in danger
of challenging the control of the four companies in the world
that control more than 90% of the world’s popular music
before they even noticed what was happening to them.
They pulled back from the brink,
in what amounted to a tacite alliance
with the very people they have also sued
and tried to put in jail.
It was only the fact that Mr Jobs’ technology
wasn’t perfect that rescued the music industry
from falling into the open mouth of the Apple company
… at all!
Behind the scold??? proprietors of music,
there stood the proprietors of cinema.
The owners of what we might think of as
the worst, largest, loudest, video on Earth (owners???).
The stuff where everything blows up,
Their concern for avoiding the difficulties
into which the barons of music let themselves
has been a remarkable sense of restraint.
They have so far restrained themselves for collapsing into the arms
of some monopolistic controlled technology,
and they have benefited from the rather poor
amount of bandwidth service provided
to the people of the world by the barons of bandwidth.
File size has remained large enough that, at least
for a while, only the occasional war on a Norwegian child
with the attempt to shut down understanding
of how DVDs worked, was necessary
to reassure them that the future will remain temporarily profitable.
But both industries, and their fellow travelers,
depended, for their survival,
in the form that they had known themselves,
upon denying the fundamental fact with networked societies.
Denying in effect,
what the infrastructure of contemporary society is all about:
Networks are for sharing information.
That’s the purpose for which networks are designed,
and built, and maintained.
In order to prohibit the sharing of information
in a world of networks, one basically has
to attempt to reverse the flow of technological change.
And we have lived through one after another serious attempt
to revert the flow of technological change.
We have seen, year by year,
attempts by the dying cultural industries
to restore themselves to the saddle,
much as though they had attempted to reverse the flow
of automobile technology in aid of the horse care population.
The stable owners, the saddle makers, the bridle makers,
and all the rest.
We have, in other words, watched as they adapted themselves
to the technology of their own creation,
by wishing that it would not work quite so well,
or quite so fast, or quite so largely,
or afford the population quite as much freedom,
as the technology itself provided.
In short, they found themselves
in the position familiar to the 19th century political economists
who first speculated on the relationship
between the bourgeoisie and its own technology.
They are suppressing their own power
through their own constant drive to free themselves
to better function.
They wanted, in short, to sell air.
To make it possible to have the benefit
of an indefinitely reproduceable inventory,
without any change in the price level.
They wanted to reverse the general crisis of overproduction
that was striking them by readjusting property rights
in such a way that overproduction couldn’t define–out
of existence–and the fluidity of their new products
reduced to some icy… form in which they could handle it
and we could not, without burning our fingers, on that… stuff.
But of course that isn’t the way that it turns out.
And so we find ourselves now watching
as that last battle shapes itself up.
A battle in which, as we all know,
the effort is to find some other person–or persons–
who can stand between the failing proprietors of culture
and the annoyance, nay!…(???) even the hatred, that they raise
in the very people to whom they wish to sell their products.
« Sueing your customers, » said Michael Dell,
at the beginning of this, « that’s not a business model, is it? »
A fine question, which eight years after he first asked it
has no answer,
at least none that Los Angeles can hear!
Sueing your customers is of course a very poor business model:
no one in the history of capitalism has ever successfully tried it.
And it represents a demonstration of the contempt
of the cultural industries for their own customers,
that they even make the attempt.
Microsoft does not sue the Bank of America;
the Bank of America does not sue Ford;
Ford does not sue General Electric.
It is well understood that to sue your customers,
when your customers are powerful, and rich, and capable of leverage,
is a… defective idea, defective to the point of self-insanity(???).
The industries which began to attempt to sue their own customers,
in the interest of the control of culture,
did so because they thought their customers now were weak, and foolish.
They were children, and they were assumed
to be capable of being frightened.
« Ah! let us put a few children in jail.
That will stop everything.
Let us charge people for their err… use of their own culture,
that will get them into some state of peacefulness,
and err… they will reorganize themselves as our customers,
and they will buy air from us at high prices,
and they will go on doing it forever. »
But of course, this wasn’t true at all!
What happened instead was that the owners of culture
came to find themselves, in general, increasingly irrelevant.
Not only because of the actions of the children:
that was never the big point.
The big point was that the artists
could not be pinned in place, either!
The gravest threat to the music industry, at the present moment,
isn’t… the listeners; it’s Madonna herself!
Always shrewd about where her main chance really lies,
she, and others like her, have begun
abandoning the recording industry,
which no longer has anything to offer them.
It wasn’t where their money came from in the first place,
not even in those fabled second, and third and fourth contracts,
where the money is really supposed
to be available to the recording artist…
Instead, they have agreed, among themselves,
and with the concert promoters, that
the future lies in ignoring the recording industry–
and they are right!
It no longer matters that, when I walk down the street
I see a Rolling Stone poster that says the future belongs to Radiohead.
Because by the time it’s on the cover of the Rolling Stone(???), it’s already obsolete.
What has happened, in other words,
is that control has slipped away.
And all(???) with the upmost course of(???) power with the state(???)
is there any hope that that slippage can be hidden
from the shareholders, for another minute and a half.
This is not actually a game
about the restoration of a business:
the business is over.
This is a game about maintaining
the value of stock prices for a little while,
in the hope that the investors will not desert
as rapidly as both the audiences and the producers.
Unfortunately, this hope too is made to be heard(???)
but broken to the reality.
Which isn’t to say, of course, that
there is no music business.
There are many music businesses.
magnatune.com, and I will encourage you to take a look at it.
We are talking here about a 21st century music recording company:
it does not have any studios;
it does not have any repertory executives;
it has an owner: John Buckman,
who sought to begin a new and fairer form of recording
distribution system for artists who chose
to bring him finished recordings.
As you will see, magnatune.com has now a repertory
of approximately 330 artists,
including some of the finest performers in the world
in almost every genre.
Mozart pianists and technical electronic drummers
and bass artists, and folk singers,
and singers-song writers and everybody in between,
including of course all that jazz.
Buy the recordings… for whatever you wish.
Listen as many times as you like through the Net,
without ever buying anything.
If you buy a CD, for whatever the price is you care to assign to it,
you are automatically authorized to share,
with at least 3 of your friends.
Downloading as many formats as you like,
and if, by any chance, you lose the recordings,
come back and re-authorize yourself,
and without any more payment, download again and share again.
Need to license some music for commercial use?
Click on the website, and standard license terms are available.
And the split with the artist? 50-50.
No wonder… that the repertory is growing.
No wonder that one of the finest concert pianists in the world,
leaves Deutsche Grammophon to record for magnatune.com.
Well, of course,
the recording studio is a property
that fits under an arm these days, right?
How many are there is this room… recording studios?
At least one decent microphone, for which I thank you,
and everybody has a recording studio in his pocket.
So… it’s not the production cost.
It’s not the enormous risk of mending to these horrible,
and uncreditworthy musicians all that nonsense,
from the recording industry over the years.
It’s simply a merchandizing business.
And when fairly conducted,
there’s plenty for the merchandizer, and plenty for the creator.
There is, of course, little reason even to ask,
whether this should be regarded as work-for-hire,
though the global music industry refuses to tell you
whether it regards those artists under contract
to what is making work-for-hire, or not;
they tried to handle the best of both ways,
for the last 40 years.
So we have a music business.
It is a business in producing tangible copies of music
by people acting in their own interests
to get the music that they want, where they want it,
when they want it, and treating them responsibly,
and without contempt–they’re more than willing to pay.
But the very idea of treating the audience without contempt
is antithetical to the structure of 20th century media enterprises.
Contempt for the audience was… the essence of what they did,
and how they did it.
So… we find ourselves, now, wondering about the conjuncture
of technology and greed.
How it came to be that everything that was solid melted into air?
Well, we know: because they wanted to sell the air.
How did it happen that the technologies of the 21st century
emerge from the more(???) of the Eddisonian(???)
technologies of the 20th?
Well, digitization was a higher efficiency
and better way of generating technology
than the analog technology that preceded it.
And money moved towards the technology of higher efficiency,
even as it began to slide the owner of the money
off, to the side of the table.
Now, of course, the solution is to find somebody else
to express contempt for the audience.
Who should be the next chosen people
to stand in the line of fire between those who want art,
and those who want money?
How about… the Internet Service Providers?
Let’s see if we can push them into crossfire.
And the state?
How about the state?
Why don’t we get them into it, too?
If they have contempt for the authors
that will be only usual, correct?
Well, not so correct.
The state has a limit to the extent of its expression
of contempt for its voters.
Just as in an era of declining telecommunications profitability,
the telecommunications operator too, cannot afford
to become too deathly hated.
All very well to be contemptuous,
when you are the only phone company in town,
but much more difficult to be contemptuous
of the people who do the talking
when everybody is a telephone company.
And have I mentioned Voice over IP?
The same thing that happened to music,
and that is happening to movies
is going to happen… is happening…
has happened… to telephone calls.
We share the ability to communicate by voice around the world,
at low friction, and with almost no cost.
We buy our bandwidth wholesale and labour(???)
without to one another retail, at no cost,
or nearly no cost.
In my law firm, we keep the telephone in the waiting area, in the front,
and we allow people to make calls
anywhere in the world they want,
because they cost us nearly nothing.
So, drop in some day, and even if you don’t need a lawyer,
maybe you need to call Fiji.
It’s ok with us!
In that environment,
the network operators with their… declining profitabilities
and their inability to establish a retail business,
are going to become the enforcers for the owners of culture?
They’re going to take all the bullets,
and live with all the contempt
and all the derision,
and all the desire to go find someone else to deal with,
because these people are suing their customers?
I do not think so.
The very idea of banishing people from the Net,
as I suggested in my opening,
is, after all, contrary to sound social policy,
both, for those who sell network services,
and for those who have the fate of societies in their guard.
You spend a lot of money making
a national information infrastructure,
only to allow some guy in Los Angeles,
pretending to begin exiling your own population
because it’s good for his business?
You know that isn’t really going to work…
The question, in short,
is how long the farce will go on
before it comes to a conclusion, and how much damage will be done
in the meantime.
And of course, as humanists,
we want the farce to end as soon as possible,
no matter how funny it may be,
because some people will be dangerously hurt.
I even have some compassion
for the widows and orphans who own the stock.
They deserve far better from the people
who are managing their money than they’re likely to get.
The state will also be a major victim.
Because it is a poor strategy,
in the state, to render respect for the law… a joke.
It is a poor strategy for any wise ruler
to allow the law to fall into the contempt
where it will be put by those who would make use of it
for their own matter(???) or(???) purposes, in a way which causes it
to become a joke, or a substance of popular discontent.
The sharpest of all weapons against government
is always ridicule,
and it is ill-advised of any state
to make itself ridiculous, for that reason.
So will we now are(???), where it really works,
is in the trenches of the relationship between people
who understand what technology can do for them, in their lives,
and people who do not understand
how to make money in the current technological environment.
Those behind are pushing very hard.
They want allies.
They want substitutes.
They want people who will stand between them
and the firing squad
that their own poor behavior has turned civil society into.
And they risk, seriously,
the consequences of their own [cough masks word]??? actions.
I’m approached… almost every week now,
by a student in my own university,
or, in a nearby university,
about the bullying behavior
of the Recording Industry Association of America.
All those millions of dollars I have previously pointed to,
collected by extortion from young people,
all of them, magically, it turns out, not owed to any musician
Odd, isn’t that?
Almost forty thousand people,
almost 18 million dollars…
And not one of them, a dollar, owed to a musician
as a royalty for anything.
One wonders why…
(Or perhaps not.)
The children who approach me
are people who have done what?
They have taken a file off the Net.
Or it is said,
–in a society whose Copyright Act makes no provision
for communication to the public–
that they were offering to communicate to the public
some music in their possession.
The Act is one which one can well understand:
it’s a knock on the door in the middle of the night.
It’s a letter of extortion slid under the door:
« If you don’t pay us money, we will hurt you ».
I was consulted recently by a distinguished visiting professor
of a major American university,
come on a short academic visit
to a country, not his or her own,
who had brought a child’s laptop computer from a city far away,
because it was the smallest one in the house.
And who was then delivered, with the compliance of the university,
a letter demanding $40,000 or else… Because the computer
had been sharing music,
or offering to share music,
or considering sharing music,
without the knowledge of its human owner.
But why should that be a problem?
You are strictly liable for the technology
under your control;
if it offers to share with anybody else,
that’s your problem
off to the gulag, with you.
We should banish you from the Net,
because you weren’t a responsible member
of the network community.
You didn’t do as you were supposed to do;
you thought networks were for sharing!
Obviously, this isn’t gonna work.
Obviously, new models, in every direction
will allow us to nullify this technology,
this strategy, this form of law.
Obviously, it isn’t gonna pay.
It’s an attempt to maintain a soviet control
of populations understandings,
in an era of post-soviet free technology.
It’s an activity involved in scaring people
into the belief that the normal human tendancy
to share is somehow… wrong, criminal, unacceptable.
Now, what to do with legislation which(???) purports
to put the state on the side(???) of this absurdity?
Well, we must ??? undignify???? the end??? response???
It isn’t the state’s fault that it’s been bought.
We need to disengage, as gently as possible,
those institutions which belong to us,
as voters in a democratic society,
from those institutions which belong to the few
who come to own???.
We need to say, persistently and gently,
but without any… willingness to go away,
or change our grasp at the least,
that this society is ours,
that this network is ours.
That we built it,
we made its bits, we made its bytes,
we put the copper wire,
and the fiber in the ground,
we luxuriated??? in our control of it,
we played with it, we ss… tuned??? it,
until its end???.
The network is our instrument;
it belongs to us the way the streets
and the parks belong to us.
It belongs to us, because it’s public,
because we made it,
because it’s here,
because we cared for it
gardened it, and grew it up.
« Leave it alone!, » we need to say.
The good mother state should recognize
that it is ours and no one else’s.
They should recognize that, each of those states.
Because the alternative is to begin engaging
in a slow demoralization of the population’s
respect for the realities of the rule of law.
Because the alternative is to make it appear
that the state can be purchased by the music seller,
or the movie seller;
by those who have nearly something to paddle(pedal???),
and not even something that we necessarely think
does the whole of us any… particular good.
I spent the last 15 years
trying to free the executable layer of software
in the network.
Not myself, of course!
Just by trying to keep out of trouble,
and in good working order,
all those wonderful human minds
that went to work reforming the technology,
making free software,
producing things that we need,
and giving them away.
Along the… course of that
freeing of the software layer in the Net,
we began to free culture.
We began to produce the conditions
that will reward the makers of the devices
for giving us better devices to use.
We created the conditions for those devices.
We created the environment in which a digital camera’s
a useful thing to have in every pocket.
We created the conditions under which
the things that you can do
with a map, and a photograph,
and a song file, and a video
under production are… extraordinary.
In my classroom, or a college classroom,
or a secondary school classroom,
in the United States, these days,
if you say to people:
« Go, give us a report about something! »
Most of the time they don’t come back any more
with a written document;
they come back with a web site,
with a multimedia production,
with a collection of artefacts, and music,
and the Wikipedia, and the film we found on the Net,
in??? the way we already (to be done???)
and all the remixing we have done ,
and all putting it together,
we have created a society of creators,
and we have given them the material
with which to exercise their arts.
In compensation, we have reduced the profitability
of certain unimportant businesses.
And that’s a fair trade, if ever there was one.
Oh yeah, they will make noise;
of course they will.
And they will purchase every politician
who is purchaseable.
They will use every last dollar
to strangle every last freedom
if it will keep them in business another week.
I don’t propose that we should
criminalize that activity.
I don’t propose that we should
sue these people for beeing greedy.
I don’t propose that we should
put them in jail,
or banish them from the network,
or… send them to Siberia!
I don’t propose that we should use any
of these coercive measures against people
who are wrong-headed and believe that
next Tuesday will be 1855.
We should just ignore them.
We should just go about our business.
We should just… not… let
the law be bent to their will.
We should acquit the people who are charged,
we should forebout??? the politicians who do their willing(bidding???).
We should make it clear to people
that contempt for the rule of law
is not expressed by sharing.
Contempt for the rule of law
is expressed by trying to turn
the great majesty of the state
and the wonder of our technology
into a tool for extracting money
from people against their will.
Can we do it?
Sure we can!
In fact, we had 20 years of training,
while they were busy trying to figure out
how to get just a little bit up at the next turn.
We’ve been doing everything we needed to do:
we have the software,
we have the hardware,
we have the bandwidth,
and we have the… skill, the daring,
and the creative knowledge
required for the activity.
Culture must become autonomous of those
who owned it in the 20th century.
It has almost left the launching pad,
it is nearly gone,
and at the last minute, they would like us
to chain it back up for them…
and it’s not gonna be like that!
You’re gonna have a hell of a fight,
They’re gonna make a lot of noise.
They’re going to get right up there,
with the President’s visit to the Pyramids
It’s gonna be the biggest thing on page one
for as long as they can keep it there.
They’re gonna make it appear that every single person
who has anything to say against them
is some kind of communist who’s crawled out
from under the rock
that Stalin was buried under.
They’re gonna yell « Pirate! » and « Thief! »,
they’re gonna carry on like the Dickens???
… and all of this isn’t gonna??? make a bit of difference
in the long run.
Because the story’s already written;
this is a rear-guard action;
this is the last of the last
of the last….
And you can prove it.
Imagine what it’s like to be a child
suddently threatened by a lawsuit.
Or, for that matter, a distinguished visiting professor
in a country far from home.
Imagine that knock on the door that says:
« We, the real people of the society,
have a gripe with you. »
Imagine how frightening it is!
I’ve see a lot of terrified children
in the last 6 years.
And I do hold it against the people
who terrified them.
But no handcuffs,
no criminal indictments(???),
no jail sentences…
Mr Murdock can walk the… pathways of this society
for his ??? pleases,
and Mr Kerry??? chairman???, too.
You don’t need to fight a revolution against ownership;
ownership is dying in its own… root??? pace.
You just need to walk straightforward,
keeping your eyes on the prize;
you just need to do what you’re already doing:
make, and share.
That’s the end of it(???):
make, and share.
Because, as we create that rich alternative culture,
distributed in a million alternative ways,
we are dooming those who would have us believe
that without them there would be silence;
without them there would be no art;
without them, culture… would be struck down(???).
How does it work?
It works because human beings are social animals.
They communicate, biologically because they must;
they interact with one another because
there isn’t any reality for a human beeing…
without an interaction.
We are traders of symbolic tokens;
we began that millions of years ago,
and we are long expert in it.
And without the opportunity to exchange
tokens of meaning with one another,
we shrivel up… and we die.
It’s easy for us to do
what we know we’re meant to do,
and it’s hard for anybody
to keep us from doing it.
That human sociability,
that natural tendancy to the exchanges
of symbolic meaning,
tokenized in a sound,
a picture, a moving image,
all the various ways in which we have learned,
over generations after generations,
to make ourselves heard,
is the fundamental activity
that makes us human.
When we speak of the rights of human beeings
in their environnment,
when(???) we begin listing the things
we think are fundamental,
we begin by talking about humans’ ability
to communicate with one another.
And we are very close
to one of the great epochs
in the history of human beings.
The epoch that begins
with the ability to connect
everybody… to everybody else.
The epoch that begins when all human minds
are capable of interacting
one with another,
five with five,
a thousand with two,
two with a million,
in every geometry,
and in every structure of meaning
and every form of crying out with love,
with grief, with… hope(???),
with doubt, with uncertainty,
and with religious awe(???).
Human beings are about to come into a communion
that has never existed,
but which… we were always yearning for.
We’re about to come into
the state of complete sociability
for which we were… made.
And we are now facing
a few forms of token opposition,
ignorance and poverty and greed,
and we face them as we have always faced them;
the freedom of communication
always had enemies.
We were fighting for thousands of years about this.
The whole of the modern history of the European nations
is the history of the struggle over freedom of thought…
Over the question:
« Who controls the mind and the destiny of people,
in their deadly lives…–?
Who controls the ideology of their communication?
Who determines what may be shared,
with whom, when and how? »
We have seen vast sacrifices made for small improvement
in the freedom of expression
and the right to know.
We have seen amazing prices paid
by people far stronger
and far more determined than we, ourselves,
in order to achieve small victories
against the refusal to permit
the sharing of knowledge.
We have seen enormous crises,
and great bloodshed,
over the ability to share
our knowledge and our understandings
of the world with one another,
without oppression and control.
And after all those centuries of labor
we’re close to the end;
we’re almost there…
Six billion people on Earth,
and by the end of this generation,
even if there are 12 billion,
we could have connected all of them.
Ignorance, the deprivation of knowledge,
and desperation, the deprivation of culture
are preventable diseases now.
We know how,
at very low cost,
to bring to everybody on Earth
the ability to communicate.
We can destroy ignorance,
as the last generation
We can eliminate deprivation
from everything useful and beautiful,
because we have nearly finished
digitizing everything useful and beautiful.
And once digitized,
it has zero marginal cost.
If one person can possess it,
everyone else can possess it,
at almost the same instant,
and at almost no additional cost.
So, in an economy of zero marginal cost,
where almost everything
that is beautiful and useful
can be indefinitely… postponed
and transferred, and copied,
and reused, and remixed;
in an environment
in which everything that we have ever known
has become something that we can teach
tomorrow, without friction,
to anybody who wants to learn it…
we are not likely to be delayed at the doorstep
by the claims of a few people
that they will lose money,
when we are home(???).
We are not likely to be prevented
from getting to the end
of what we meant to do,
by people who tell us
that they have a business model
that doesn’t involve
everybody’s knowing everything they want to know.
They have yet to telling us
that they are… acting in support of ignorance.
They have yet to say roundly
that their purpose is the permanence
of cultural deprivation.
They have yet to say clearly
that their goal is that you should have only
so much art and so much knowledge
as you can afford to buy.
But soon we will be at grips with them,
and they will be forced to declare
what is their purpose.
We will say: « We have built a Net
which can teach everyone,
and which can bring all beauty… everywhere!
Why are you opposed to it? »
And they will have to say:
« Because we will not be so rich ».
And then it will be easy to say:
« Well, we feel very bad for you.
That’s too… much of a shame for us
even to express `c’est dommage’…
C’est dommage… Farewell. »
This is the moment that is coming.
With a little bit of luck,
you and I will all live to see it.
We don’t have to do much to get there;
we nearly need to be perseverent
in the pursuit of the right.
We know what the right is, now.
And they will make that lesson ever more clear…
by doing wrong.
They will make that lesson ever more clear
by being more… thoughtlessly oppressive;
by being more unreasonable in their demands;
by being more overt in their determination
to bend politics to their will.
If we are merely quietly persistent,
they will make clear screaming hurt(???),
and people will do what they do
when people scream in the street:
they’ll call the police.
So, we are watching the working out
of the last part of a very happy story.
Our friends, the owners,
the proprietors of culture…
they’re not so happy.
They’re not so sure.
You think behind all this bluster,
there is certainty and confidence?
You think that they are jumping up and down
with eagerness to put the Internet service providers
and the State between them and you
because they are so capable
and so fully conscious of their power?
Or because they are afraid…
because they doubt;
because sunlight no longer serves their purposes?
Which is it?
Here is how things really work:
the cultural industries
have another 15 years to run….
after which time they will either
have converted themselves into businesses
respectful of the needs
of human beings in the 21st century,
or they will have been swept to side.
Other parties, capable of distributing
more frictionlessly, and with less arrogance,
will have replaced them.
The artists will have moved.
Because of course the best that they can say
is « We stand for the remuneration of the artist. »
They say it all the time, you hear it, right?
« Without us, no artist will ever get paid…
and that’s… [??? new cassette] »
What compensation is due to an artist,
when her art has suddenly become visible
all around the world, to
anybody who wants it?
Compulsorily collected on her *behalf*.
You mean like the collection societies…
Collecting on her behalf.
This is like the people who go from door to door
collecting for the charities
they never give any money to… right?
If I go out and I start a charity
and I collect 18 million dollars from children
to pay artists with,
and then I don’t pay the artists a cent,
I’ll go to jail!
The assumption will be that
I’m a… thief, a… cheater.
« Oh no, we’re merely
the Recording Industry Association;
we’re not criminals,
we’re doing what we’re supposed to do.
All right–I’ll give them
the benefit of the doubt;
I’ll call no man « thief »
unless he calls me « pirate ».
But it seems to me… that
the question « For who has the structure
of the ownership of culture been good? »
is unlikely to be answered by the statement:
« All the artists made out well. »
The artists made out poorly.
Which is why, as they see the new technology
offering them alternatives,
they begin to desert.
And it was that,
not theft by audiences,
that all of this technological control
and people coercion, was designed to prevent.
The real goal of the cultural industries,
from the beginning of the digital era,
was not to prevent the audience from stealing;
it was to prevent the artists
from finding out
that there were better alternatives.
Our machinery of alternative distribution
not because it stole from artists,
but because it promised better to artists
than the existing regime.
The merchandizer has been using,
for the last decade,
a very weak psychological proposition:
« You, my dear artist, you maestro,
your enemy is your audience.
I, I alone am your friend »
Most musicians are not that stupid;
most painters are not insane;
most sculptors know perfectly well
what’s what! Hum?
There wasn’t an alternative to them.
this so-called « ally, »
was the only game in town!
And so they played it.
And it mostly hurt them.
And they mostly died
wishing they were rich.
I do not think that Mick Jagger
has to worry about the love
of his audience deserting him.
I do not think that even
the sing-a-song writer, down the street,
in the weakest piano-bar in town,
has more to be afraid of
from the people who love his music,
than from the merchandizers.
So what is happening
is a realignment of alliances.
What is happening
is an alliance between those
we used to call « consumers, »
we used to call « producers. »
They are now joined
in a network of « prosumption. »
Think about the digital camera for a moment,
and what it means
to be a photographer in the 21st century.
To have a digital camera
is to be immediately connected
to the eyeball of anybody
who might like what you are looking at.
And we have reduced the friction,
in the distribution of images,
from the point of taking
to the point of receiving,
near zero now.
Within a year, or two or three or four,
you are likely to be offered,
by almost every company,
with a placard in the airport,
a digital camera,
wirelessly connected to the Net,
which puts your photographs on Flickr
the moment you take the picture.
Tagged with your location
and time, thanks to the GPS chip
in the back,
–which you might just as well have done without–,
and probably giving you some alternative to add
a few tags with your thumb,
after you take your forefinger off the trigger.
Should we, in such a world,
get all worried about
whether photographers can be stolen
from by(their???) viewers?
Not at all!
The photographers of the world,
over the last 8… years,
have largely discovered
that free licensing is good for them.
The Creative Commons BY-ND-NC license,
or the GFDL of the Wikipedia,
are licenses which have revolutionized
the business of being a professional photographer.
Because you get to spread your work
through the Net
to every eyeball
that might like to see the picture,
but the moment that someone needs your picture
for an advertisement,
they have to come to you
for a commercial license.
So by discriminating
between the commercial user
and the casual viewer,
the most professional photographers
have learned that they can have
the best of everything.
can be in every eye,
and every commercial user
knows where to find them,
and they can get paid.
The same basic process
of using free distribution
as a gateway to commercial… exploitation
of one’s own work, as an author,
lies ahead of all the musicians
and the videographers,
as it has come to the photographers.
The alternate mechanisms
of cultural distribution
are up and running.
the desperation of the existing owners
is so extreme!
they have to tilt the pot,
and push all the chips they have,
into the game between themselves
and the state, over who will
take the children away to jail,
in the police wagon.
they have to talk about
banishing you from the Net.
That’s the Net you built.
That’s the Net you run.
That’s the Net you use
to make other people’s lives better.
You have to be banishable from it,
because, otherwise, the alternative
mechanisms of distribution
will doom their business and make yours.
So we stand there now.
We stand on the cusp(???)
of the freedom to communicate,
as so many of our forebearers???
have stood before.
We stand at the place
from which we can see… the Promised Land.
We can see… the fulfillment
of human beings’ needs
to communicate and share.
We can see… the end of culture
which is proprietized
in the interests of the few,
which reduces the many, to mere consumers.
We stand where the technology
of the « prosumer » culture
leaves us: almost ready
to make everything, for one another,
And there are a few last obstacles
being put in the way.
A few last… ugly little barriers
we have to jump.
A few… last unfortunate involvements
we have to undertake,
before we can get over the finish line.
I have immense respect
for the lawyers,
and the politicians,
and the organizers,
and the dreamers, and the lovers,
and the amateurs…
who came before us.
Because I know how hard their work was,
compared to ours.
I know how much they suffered,
and I know how much they gave,
and I know how little they got.
And we are the beneficiaries
of their hopes.
lucky generation that we are,
to be alive now.
And we have
a few little carboisps???
to sweep away,
and we have some blocks, beneath our feet,
to kick beyond… if we are to get
where everybody has always tried to go.
This is the generation
in which it happens.
It’s been a long, long… fight,
and it hurt a lot of people,
but it’s almost over.
We are the ones
who happened to be here
and the difference is,
this time… We win!
Thank you very much. [applaud]
Hello again, Eben. I’m Jeremy Zimmerman, one of the conference organizers,
with Christophe Espern, and La Quadrature du Net.
First of all, I want to personally thank you for
being here, and, as each time you… I hear you
talking or I read you, you give me a bit of hope,
and make me feel a bit more optimistic about the outcome
of all this. Second of
all, in the name of everybody
participating in La Quadrature du Net, I want you to get sure
that we will do our do our best,
and even better than that, to kick those greedy bastards’
ass. [laughs]. We will.
And, by the way we need support and help
and participation from everybody here to get another
matter. We talked a bit about
this already, erm,
but I’m afraid that I’m not as optimistic
as when I hear you talking, that the control
that once was embedded into the software, that we’re beginning to
truly emancipate from, using free software,
is being translated into the network infrastructure,
with many forms of
all around: the phone networks,
tags, and so on, that, that will emerge,
yet there is quite a… a
small community working towards a free
network infrastructure, I’m thinking in
France of FDN,
which is a particularly small, yet
very interesting initiative,
what are your hindsights on this, how do you think we
could… breach the community the freedom
for software and freedom from… for network infrastructure?
Eben: So, I agree that there are three
components to the
free society with(???) the 21st century:
there’s free software, there’s free
culture, and there’s free bandwith.
And without a commitment to establishing
freedom in each of these places, there is always
the… likely event that control will reassert itself.
and ??? leave??? behind. I would say
that these are steps, that there is actually a sequence in
them, and I recognize your doubt
that third one: it is high, and long,
and we have a good deal of work to do, in dealing
with it. But we have some resources. So let’s just take a look
at how the sequence unrolls itself.
As we freed the executable
layer of the network, as we began to
make software responsive to its users,
rather than to anybody else,
we created an environment within
the network, in which there would be an expectation of
control at the point where the eyeball
and the brain are. We create the possibility of
a generation of people who think that’s how it should work
for them. Left
to their own devices, the
owners, of course, will ext??? that belief(???).
But they’re not left to their own devices.
We have their devices.
And we use those devices
to create an expectation of freedom in children.
I said, a long time ago,
that we were merely keeping dinner warm until another generation
came home to eat. And that’s what the free software movement has been
doing. We have been creating an expectation
in a generation of people who grew up
with the Net, that the Net
is a place that empowers them, not
dis-empowers them. The consequence of that
movement of empowerment is the freeing of culture, that we are talking about tonight.
It becomes the privilege of every citizen of the network society to speak however she wants.
She grows up learning she can do it.
She takes from here, she takes from there, she puts together and
she creates something new. The very process of education,
that form of experimenting with the world, that–the
American philosopher John Dewey thought of this–the structure
of education, the nature of the growth of the mind, becomes also an expectation
of freedom, an expectation
of individuals’ rights, that’s what Dewey’s _Democracy and Education_
said, at the beginning of the 20th century, and we are building
with our own hands the technology that makes that philosophy
reality. So the inevitable consequence of the
freeing of the executable layer of the Net, was pressure
on the ownership of culture. And it hasn’t taken very long for that
pressure to become, as I say, a tiny wave which is beginning to sweep the landmarks away.
Now, of course, they come and they attempt to chain the landmarks
to the surface of the Earth, but it does no good, you know!
The continents, move, right, they push them over! That’s it,
it’s done! And so culture begins to free itself,
and the next step is to say « Well, then we will take the microphone away!
We will reassume control over the technology
of communication, we’ll put everything in
there, we’ll close that up! »
There are two things to worry about, if you’re in that position.
One of them is the air around you: nobody owns
government on Earth recognizes that the electromagnetic spectrum is public
property, which means property belonging
to the people. Every government on Earth.
Of course, every government on Earth also attempts to control it, attempts
to own it, license it,
permit it, move into it,
keep their armies stationed on large parts
of it. But no government can
at… any longer ignore the enormous need for what the technical
jargon calls « unlicensed spectrum ». That is our
home yard, right? And we have learned
to be more and more intelligent about how we use that home yard, right?
We don’t worry about interference any more, we have a zillion…
intelligent devices that share that unlicensed
spectrum, and we’ll soon have more. And with that unlicensed spectrum
we begin to prove that the ownership of bandwidth isn’t all that it’s craked up to be. Because we begin
to show that intelligently used, the part that nobody can deny us,
will do all the work for the other parts put together.
The very idea of paying for a telephone call will be
extinct, a generation from now. People will wonder what it meant. « To pay for a _telephone call_? There were little boxes on the street
that you put coins in, in order to… talk to people? » Sure, then that will be
absurd! How could that ever have been?
It will strike people funny! Because they will take for granted
that everyone can talk to everyone, everywhere, all the time,
as long as they want,
without even thinking about it. And that will
be true because the electromagnetic spectrum will be working
for the people, whose spectrum it is.
But, getting all this impacted power, all this
wealth, all this influence, all this relationship,
to the policemen, and the spies, and the
polices and all the rest of it, that’s the structure
of force in the 21st century, right? That’s where power really
concentrates itself, and you say it’s scary, and I agree with you:
it’s very scary. You say: « It might win! » and I agree with you: it might!
When I began to say Microsoft
was over, nobody thought I was(???) telling(???) the truth(???):
« Now??? that’s??? crazy, Microsoft isn’t over, look at them, how rich they are! »
We didn’t beat them, they beat themselves! It turned out they couldn’t make their product any more.
warriors, the owners, th…e possessors
of all music and all the art and all video, they’re in the same situation, right?
They can’t make as well as we can make, and we don’t have to get
paid for! Bandwidth? Ya, we can
produce *enough*, ourselves,
to begin to put the owners on notice that things
are gonna change. And as we do…
One of the interesting things about what happens
to the bandwidth sellers is that they find that the establishment
is no longer strong behind them. The VoIP revolution
is a case where the fish rots
from the head. Your grandmother may not be
using voice over IP right now, but soc??? gen??? is.
it’s not necessarily the case that your
cousin knows how to make a free phone call to Fiji, but Nokia
does. General Motors doesn’t pay phone bills any more,
right? They buy their bandwidth wholesale, and
distribute it to themselves retail, as you and I may do in our
personal lives. I couldn’t
even think straight this afternoon, when we were in a meeting this morning,
because Loïc’s laptop kept ringing. Hum?
We’ve taken… all of that, and we’ve regenerated the relationships.
You say: « They’ll fight back, they’re pretty scary, they’ll put the control
inside, we’ll have nothing left to do! » I’ve got a potato chip can and a wireless router, and so does my friend,
halfway accross the city, and together we can make
music together, right? There’s lots of ways
that this war over the telecoms is gonna
go back and forth,
and back and forth, and there will be good days and bad days, and there will tactical victories, and there will be
strategic defeats, and
it’s going to be uncertain for the longest time.
2030? But we know how it comes out,
we really do! Yes! The current example
of the attempt to use the bandwidth provision
system to shore up the
cultural ownership system, is a reminder
that they’re all going to pull together by the end.
But here’s something to think about:
I spent a
little time last year in a small
Indian state. The state of Kerala.
It’s very small: only 57 million people.
And it’s very poor–the second poorest in India, in fact.
Iliteracy is only 99.5%.
I met with the chief minister of the state of Kerala,
in his…, study at home,
in the evening. Little bronze
busts of Mao Tse Toung and Ho Chi Minh on the
mantlepiece, and over his head, behind
his desk, a vast ceremonial portrait
in tapestry, of Marx and Engels. But he’s a good
practical politician, most of whose work is making sure that the streets are clean and the people go to school.
They teach free software in the school system;
there’s no more Windows in Kerala, as of a few weeks ago,
in any school.
They teach the operation of free software, beginning in the first
primary grade, at six years old, and they teach the philosophy
of free software, the idea of the sharing of knowledge, beginning at age ten.
57 million people. So,
what happens, erm, two decades from now, when
those 57 million people have grown up? Oh, but they’re so poor!
and… no! Right?
And, could we do the same? Well, it’s
hard, you know, there are lots of countries that I go to and visit, and even some you go to, or even live in, where, if
you open a secondary school computer science book, you’ll find that what it teaches people is how to
use proprietary software. Click…
here. Press… this button, drop
this menu, do this thing. But it doesn’t have to stay like that, right?
What if the great problems that we have in dealing with these… powerful people who scare you, is that
our allies out there, don’t know what they could
But we can teach them, we can show them.
In my office, we built some big
glass panes in the hall, by the elevator.
We wrote things on the glass by
etching them and one of the things we put
there, which I think is really
very important, is the following phrase: « Proof of Concept
+ Running Code ». Because
of course that is the mechanism of how we fight the people you’re afraid of, right?
We show people, not that something could be true,
but that it is true. We say
to people, not: « You know, if we had a revolution, we could do it
this way! ». We say to people: « We have already done this. It works!
Would you like it? Take it! It’s free! » That’s very strong politics.
They will compete with you,
at their best! You will say:
« Hear, I did this, I like it,
you might like it, take it, it’s free! »
They will say: « No introductory offer. 30 euros a month for the first two years. »
And you’ll win!
Because they can’t compete with free!
That’s the only thing they can’t compete with: it’s free!
???: Maybe an easy question. Are you
telling us that we need to ask our
just wipe out copyrights
from the law books?
Eben: No. We don’t have to ask them to do anything… to the law books.
The beauty of our position is:
if nothing happens, we win.
That’s why it’s always the other guy
trying to line up a bunch of
law, force it into the books and jam it into your living room,
right? We’re doing just fine, we don’t need anything!
We don’t need anything destroyed, we don’t need anything built,
we don’t need a whole bunch more law, we don’t need a whole bunch less law;
we’re ok! History’s on our side. It’s the other fellow who has the problem, right? And we should be saying that,
ok? We don’t need anything! Leave us alone!
We’ll build you a 21st century that will knock
your eyes out! We don’t anything! We didn’t need venture
capital, we didn’t need legal subsidization,
we didn’t need the law books rewritten to give us an edge,
we don’t need an oligopoly, we don’t need relief from competition law,
we don’t need to fine anybody, we don’t need to put anybody in jail, we don’t need the cops
working overtime… Just sit back and watch, dear President!
And we’ll deliver you a society you will be proud to run, right?
That’s the structure of our position.
The structure of the other fellow’s position is: « More handcuffs, please! » Right?
The structure of the other fellows’ position is: « I cannot remunerate
the artists unless you make me richer! » The structure of the other fellow’s
pitch is: « God damn society, it refuses to behave the way I
want, force it! »
That’s why I like our deal.
That’s why I think
we… have the easy hand this time, that’s why I think
we win! We don’t need nothing!
And nothing… is about what they’re willing to give us right now!
So let’s just strike hands, and go our way, right? We have long expected that the
state would have to throw its weight behind
us, in order for freedom of expression to occur. We long expected
that we would have to storm??? the wind to police???,
in order to get oppression to get
its foot off the back of our Net! That’s not true any more.
That’s not where we are.
The beauty of the situation
as we find it now, is that we need only to ask
the state to refuse to
make injustice on behalf of the few.
And if they take a holiday, we win!
Philippe Aigrain: I know it was probably
not your intention, but at some point
you seem to assume that
every form of beauty could be digitized and pursuited???, and I do think that
this??? is??? certainly not the case, and quite happ… happily stole???
you’d say… I… I’d feel
part???… We’d not even mention it, if it was not a…
a… connected to a kind
of resurgence of
the importance of what happens in the material world.
But it seems that in a network society of the type you describe, actually
face to face meetings,
performance, territory, landscape,
all these things become not less valuable, but much more valuable, that’s why, for instance, there is
a potential business for carriers…
also because in a… in a soc… in a…
in any foundation world, where everything is re???written all the time, we need carriers to sort of…
phrase for our, our storage, our, our,
to… to hold??? something
of use of that(???)
and I saw…
I thinks it’s a… it’s actually a…
also a way of putting forward the fact that
there… all these new businesses
err… they are actually
going no just to survive,
but they will serve you new needs!
Eben: S… S… So the secret is out, now, you see!
Erm… I, I come here in order to listen to Philippe
and become wise! He does everything that I do and he speaks better French!
Erm… Look… this is, this is
of course the necessary corrective(???), right?
I understand here(???) ??? ??? ??? ??? ???
??? ??? ??? diplomacy(???). It’s true,
right? The point that
he makes is absolutely correct: it isn’t that everything becomes digital, it’s
that everything that people are deprived of, that they can’t get, by
immediate personal interaction, they can at least substitute
for, in some other way, not better, but at least available, right?
Erm, the… we never thought the photograph was better than reality
and… allowing for
some people’s attitudes towards sex and driving???
so we??? wouldn’t??? rather see
the movie than be there, right? Human experience
has not become palid???
because of the Net;
it became shareable, to some extent,
and only to some extent.
But the richness of the lines we live in,
our intimate connection with people, are made greater
by the availability of all that other…
stuff that comes into our relationships: all the other people, all
the other things, all the other sounds, all the other images, we are
making one another
smarter, this way! And our personal lives, and the things that we are privileged
to see and do,
and people we are privileged to know, we bring more too,
because of the availability of all that has been
experienced before. We have taken
for granted all the books and all the photographs
and all the music that was in our lives,
and we haven’t often reflected on the
material that provation??? of people
around us, but we have rarely even tried to imagine
what it was to live in ignorance.
I worked, when I was a young lawyer,
for a man in the United States, called Thurgood Marshall,
who was then??? a??? judge in the United States, Supreme Court,
but he had lived a long and… complicated life as a lawyer,
he had,–I suppose, it would be fair
to say,–invented one kind of being a lawyer in the
United States. He had made being a civil rights lawyer possible
for a generation of people, and he had won
great victories for the equality of people, in the face of racism.
And there was a story that Marshall told,
not to show how great he was,
or what he had done,
but to show something about the moment that had formed him.\NIt had to do with being a young lawyer in Arkansas,
in the middle 1930’s, working on one of the early cases, about teacher pay.
And he was walking down the street, in Little Rock, in
Arkansas, and there was an eight year old boy, sitting on a
step, and he said:
« Mister, mister! What’s that?\NMister, mister! What’s that? »
Because… Thurgood Marshall was eating an orange.
And the boy had never seen… an orange!
And that was the moment that which I think my boss came to understand
that there was something more going on
than just the inability of teachers to get equally paid
or the fact that black people couldn’t use white
people’s water??? firms??? Something was being
crushed out of the boy, that he never even knew the boy was missing,
cause he never even imagined what their condition was.
Everybody in this room has a wonderful mind,
and everybody in this room
has had an opportunity to train that mind, to allow it to expand,
to give it knowledge and new experience and to see what
what it would be like to be un-able.
Not to be able to hear Bach,
be able to read Thomas Mann,
not to know that there are
Bach or Thomas Mann, in the first place…
not to know the history of anywhere,
not to know the art of anybody, or of anything?
So what we are confronting,
it is true, is not… a world in which
everything has been digitized\Nand there’s nothing left for us to teach,
or saying(sing???), the tickets are important;
the seats that we sell are what sustain us–
me, and you, and everybody else who live by performances,–we live by
what is scarce, which is our time,
our knowledge, our ability to teach, or sing, or write poetry.
But we don’t have to exclude
anybody in order to be well.
We don’t have to do the job of making ignorance
in order to have enough to live with.
We don’t have to impose deprivation,
and we don’t have to accept anybody else doing it,
???: and so if you look on… informational resource,
you’re talking about liberating that resource,
when you look another resources, also, like
electricity, or food, or…
??? can you comment
how these ideas of liberating
are going in these domains?
Can you tell us your observations?
Eben: The distinction between the economy of zero marginal cost
and the economy
of non-zero marginal cost is powerful, and deep.
Until this generation,
the economics that the West knew was
the economics of the « real economy », where everything has non-zero marginal cost,
where every unit of everything must be paid for. And in that world,
of non-zero marginal cost and
rivalrous use, where only one of us can be sitting on the chair or drinking
from the particular glass, or wearing a particular pair
of shoes, the inevitability of scarcity
and the necessity of allocating resources and distributing the gains
from their??? manufacture(s???) remains
a dismal??? science. And we don’t, from the beautiful and complex
structure of the digital world, learn how to eliminate that reality.
We don’t find the way that everybody can wear the same pair of shoes,
and we don’t
eliminate the marginal
cost of goods.
And so we discover that in a competitive economy
doing well and reaching the equilibrium, the price of goods comes to be
equal to their marginal cost, just at the economist(s???) told us in Eco 101
that it would, and we recognize the limitations
and the inevitability of deprivation if we don’t
find a way to give everybody to… according to his needs!
What the digital economy does, however, is to allow us to empower people
to enter the real economy on favorable terms.
It allows us to tell people who are far from the center
of human affairs, and who have not inherited great opportunities, that they
too can participate
in the real economy, because they have a skill, because they have a knowledge,
because they have a brain… that can be put to work.
And so, the 21st
century economy doesn’t lack for features which remind us
of the real
economy of the past; it doesn’t eliminate
industrial work, and it doesn’t
eliminate (anyway a nation)???, and
it doesn’t eliminate
the tragedies of working men’s lives. But it
gives peoples opportunities to better themselves that were never there before.
Societies that are poor but well educated
have a long history in human affairs, right?\NThe Scots of the 18th century lived in a poor\Nand beknighted???
land. And yet they give knowledge
as teachers, and thinkers, and writers, philosophers
and mathematicians, not just to Europe, but to North America,
and to much of the rest of the world.
In Kerala, they say, when a book is written in German, before it is translated
into French, it’s translated into Malayalam.
That is to say: we have
always looked our for the new, and we have
tried to find a way by making use
of the new, to raise ourselves to the dignity of work.
This is an important insight, and one that much of the human
race has been prevented from experiencing, because knowledge never
reached where they were.\NWhat we’re going to do, that’s going to give our sons\Na little bit of comfort
and an opportunity to share performances of Tusco??? with one another at low
friction; it’s going to have far more
consequences for them, than they have for us.
It won’t eliminate the poverty of the real economy.\NIt won’t eliminate the injustice of the fact that this table cannot serve
those who aren’t here to eat on it, and it won’t change the fact
that I’ve too much, and others have too little.\NWe can’t just say
« Ah, well! Now we know how to have anarchism and eliminate property
and everything will be fine! » I say again: we are not on the verge of
all the rules and asking government
to redo everything and… suddenly we live in Utopia!
The great problem of… the
European political dream has been the presence of that idea:
Utopia. Nowhere. The place we’ve all never been,
but we know if we could only get there, it would be fine. The beauty
of our revolution is its refusal to adopt Utopia.
You see(in this???)? We’re not talking about nowhere.
We’re talking about « Proof of Concept and Running Code. »
Conservative approaches to pragmatic issues,
real problems getting solved in real ways.
Everybody here knows what the
problems are that can be solved, and everybody knows a little bit
about the solutions. No magic.
Nothing… behind the curtain.
No smoke, no mirrors, no _coup de foudre_, no lightning…
Just good code… that runs,
and we could make it better if we took another night,
and really just pushed on through.
???: It’s difficult to have freedom of speech, freedom of movement,
it’s difficult to be free when you don’t have privacy.
And, in the, project of the law
« Création et Internet », one of the main
findings is to
thank you, to force people to monitor what is done with their computer,
err, everybody in France
will have to be its own Big Brother, and to monitor what is done by
erm, our lover,
our friend, our children. How do you see this…
err… civic??? society ???
and this fight between the freedom and privacy?
Eben: Well it was nice to be here. Thanks… very much!
Erm… This will take
a long time, so I’m not even
going to start, I’m only going to indicate the direction of the start.
Erm. Free software
is about freedom, hum hum? And Stallman
was right, you understand? The, the
the movement to free
the technology is the only
guarantee we have of not being ultimately
controlled by the technology.
And you’re right: what’s happening now,
in the technological environment,
in which we live, is a strenghtening of the claim
to be more aware of us than we ever have been…. before.
The search engine knows what we wish, and dream
of, and would like to have.
The search engine plus the owner of the
credit card, plus the guy in possession
of the supermarket tape,
plus the guy
who knows where the car was driven, plus the little man taking pictures
of every license plate in the UK once every 24h, together they have
a kind of power insi…
insipiently over us, that no totalitarian state in the 20th century possessed.
I don’t know how many of you saw
Florian von Donnersmarck’s wonderful movie: _The Lives of Others_, erm, but if
you have, you know the, the, the, the, the, the extraordinary
the, the files
of the regime that was the German Democratic
Republic, after it’s all over,
and you realize how many thousands and thousands and thousands
of people spent hundreds of thousands of hours
spying on everybody else and writing it all
down, on little pieces of paper, which sat
in books, in filing rooms, in room after room after room…
But of course, nobody could get to it, or??? ever??? know what it all meant, hum?
Not true, now! Hum?
Datamining,–that is to say, the getting
of the data about us to answer questions
about us that nobody even thought to ask yet, is the
great problem behind all this
spying we’re talking about. It isn’t nearly that there is one data collected,
it’s that the data
is active in a way that the data of secret policemen??? never was
before. It anticipates you.
Models built on what you have done are being constructed to
predict what you will do next. Most of that information is there for a
somebody wants to sell you something, and they’d like to know how.
In the United States, if you get a new
cellular telephone this year, it has to have a GPS
The stated reason why your phone has to report its location all the time\Nis if… that if you call the emergency
services, they have to know
where to come with the ambulance. But the real beneficiary
of GPS in the telephone, will be Kentucky
The real actual benefit of all
that location information, is that people
are trying to study where you are at 3:30 in the afternoon,
when you suddently get hungry, and they
want to be able to SMS your phone:
« You know, there’s a special
KFC on just what you like and it’s only 50 meters
that way! » Hum? One more sale,
and this is a pretty good deal!
Disneyland? Do I need to tell you about Disneyland? It’s a place, you know?
Actually, it’s a number of places,
one of them near here. Erm, you have to go
there. You have to go there! You have to go there several times in a lifetime.
If you are taken to Disneyland as a child, the Disney company opens a
file on you. And it
buys everything that can be bought about you for the rest of your life.
It studies all of that information in order
to figure out how to get you to go
back! Of course, you will go back! The assumption
is you’ll go back twice more in life:
once with your children, and once with your grandchildren.
But if the Walt Disney Company can convert three trips
in a lifetime at Disneyland to four trips in a lifetime,
Eurodisney can continue to exist.
If not, it will go broke.
will spend a lot of time analysing you, to figure
out when would be a good moment to get you back for that fourth-
-in-a-lifetime visit. And it is well worth it
to buy all the data about everybody who’s ever been there, and keep processing it
model shows that it’s the right moment to send you another ad.
Scared? Of course it’s bad!
And we are in trouble, about it. We’re in trouble
because we have made a number of judgements about technology, collectively,
that are wrong. We have bought, for free, webhosting
and a low-quality CMS from something called Facebook, or maybe
it was MySpace. We’ve decided that the World Wide Web is too complicated
to deal with,
we don’t know how to set up websites and
RSS feeds, and all this… Who knows
what ??? do all that? Let’s just go to Facebook!
The result is
that they have the log. And the log is the great information
gold mine of the 21st century, right?
So you’re quite right, these are big problems.
They’re big problems. Erm, they raise enormous difficulties.
I’m starting this summer to try and write a book about
the difficulties that they raise.
It’s not whether you go to Disney. It’s whether you go to the polls
on election day. Imagine
if you know everything that there is to know about the voters
in a small or moderate-sized democracy, imagine
what it would take to find a way to get one percent
of them to decide they have something more important to do on any
than to vote? Modern electoral democracy
is about driving one
or two percent of the voters, either
towards or away from the polls, and away
is usually the better bet.
What does it mean, in a society like mine,
which uses juries to determine who goes to jail,
if… somebody, in the prosecutor’s office, has
a predictive model of everybody who’s been called for jury
What does it mean when the
state can buy on the open market information
sufficient to predict the behavior
of citizens? We haven’t even begun
to consider the full
social problems that are raised by the end of
forgetting. And by the nature
of what can be done, after forgetting is obsolete.
So I’m not gonna disagree with you in the least about this:
this is another whole problem, with a lot
of work to be done, but note that the tools
of our liberation, are the software
we are making together. Note that the question is:
How does the web server work?
How does the… appliance work?
Could I… maybe… deal with this by getting together a bunch
of good hackers
and saying: « You know what we need to do? We need to produce an appliance
you can go and buy
in a store. And you take it home and you plug it into the wall
and into the power
lines, and it’s your Facebook.
It’s your presence on the Net, it conducts your
friendships in it, updates your profile,
it serves all good information about you, but it keeps
its logs in a little bag???, where you can press the button and vaporize
them once a week, hum?
In other words, we need to have privacy-fail-safe technology.
And we’re the boys to build it. We need to do it, and we need to give it
away to people and need??? to show them
why they want to use it. And once again, we can count on the other fellow
the advertising for us.
So, I agree with you entirely. This is the great second frontier
in what the free software revolution has to do. And it’s
why « Open Source » is not really a good definition
of what we’re about.
Because this is moment when we really get
to say « free, » as in « freedom, » hum hum?
Freedom from inspection,
freedom from surveillance,
freedom from calculation,
freedom from control.
And guys who have spent a lot of time figuring out how a pre-emptive
queuing system ought to work,
or how a really good cluster filesystem
ought to work, should now be turning their attention to
a simpler question, like: « How do I keep
the other guy from getting the log? »
But we’re going??? to attempt??? at this question,\NI never really doubted
that we’re going??? to attempt???,
because I’m afraid, and he’s afraid,
and she is afraid, and we’re all
hackers, we all know??? something about it.
build safer technology, and we’re gonna??? explain to people why they don’t
to live in a privacy firetrap, and it’s gonna work.
Thank you, very much.