Introducing Free Culture Canada

A new organization aimed at raising awareness for rights of users has recently emerged in Canada.

Note: This is an article I wrote that was published elsewhere first. It has been republished here for archival purposes

This time, the initiative is aimed at not at government, but directly at a newer generation. It goes under the name Free Culture Canada.

This initiative appears to be an exact of opposite of the controversial US initiative Campus Downloading. Nor do the differences stop at the message being sent. Free Culture Canada is based on initiatives set up by individuals in the student body, as opposed to major companies trying to do the same thing. Both sides appear to be aimed at ‘raising awareness’, though the language used to bring the message across is clearly a stark contrast.

Essentially, it brings information to the campus setting about creativity and the legalities behind creativity, and how the legalities can be set. This is completely different from other Canadian initiatives such as the Canadian Music Creators Coalition or Online Rights Canada, where similar messages are more aimed at the Canadian government.

Free Culture Canada is based on the ideas and concepts of Lawrence Lessig’s Free Culture. The manifesto says, “We believe that culture is a two-way affair, about participation, not merely consumption. We will not be content to sit passively at the end of a one-way media tube and buy things until we look like the people on Friends. With the Internet and other advances, the technology exists for a new paradigm of creation, one where anyone can be an artist, and anyone can succeed, based not on their industry connections, but on their merit.

We refuse to accept a future of digital feudalism where we do not actually own the products we buy, but we are merely granted limited uses of them as long as we pay the rent. We must halt and reverse the recent radical expansion of “intellectual property rights”, which threaten to reach the point where they trump any and all other rights of the individual and society.”

How much will such a movement grow? Given the climate of creativity in Canada, it was most apparent when six of Canada’s largest labels left the CRIA (one of which started their own coalition for users rights). It would seem that there is a definite mood amongst Canadian creators, as well as consumers, to support a culture based more on sharing and less on controlling it.

Slyck was unable to contact FreeCulture Canada for comment.

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Google+.

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