ars electronica 2007: joi ito – fundamental rights in the digital world

[sorry about the cryptic notes towards the end]

limits of existing legislation and legal precedents with respect to the demands of life online (examples)
keynote: fundamental rights in the digital world
joi ito 4.9.2007 11:30

legislation needs to make market sense, but even more importantly it has to make social sense to the users online. it is very important to look at the way the new generation of internet users thinks. we witness the emergence of what has been coined “the creative class”, many of them stem from a new generation of young people who can’t remember a time without the internet. their behavior is very different from people like us who saw it develop. this is a historically unique situation, when young people know more about a technical medium than older people, kids more than their parents, users more than judges.

(joi explains icann)
many people who run name servers don’t follow laws. internet is a working anarchy, the only way to make them follow laws is by consensus. a dozen of people could turn the internet off, if they wanted to. internet does not have a real legal foundation.

(shows the pepsi commercial that used convicted internet pirates to hand out free itunes songs)
when people download music from the internet, the record industry got it wrong, they said they break the law, let’s procecute them. apple and itunes tried to find a business model that works, that makes legal uses possible and accessible.

some points that describes the new generation of internet users:


what sms and text messaging show is that the context – the who, the where, the when – has the value, not the actual data.


an average japanese teenager is copresent w. 5 – 10 other people, he knows when they sleep, when they are awake. copresence is a new kind of content.


(shows some examples of clips)
the cost to remix has gone down so much that all content now can get remixed easily. with video and music there are legal issues, copyrights. this is very different than with text, where quotation and remix are very common and accepted.


for hollywood sharing means stealing. but kids are exchanging data in an exchange that helps them to get literate.


amateur comes from a latin root, doing it for the love of it. linux developpers do it for the love of open source, not because they can’t get jobs at microsoft. the bar to be creative has gone down; the downside is, there is more noise, but on the upside amateurs can be very creative in fresh and innovative ways, while professionals tend to get stuck in certain set ways.


many online behaviors are driven not by market interest, nor are they done for fame, people do them because it brings them happiness.

example: wikipedia, where users do much, even tedious work without even asking for attribution.

example: FanSubs, communities of fans who will translate their favorite tvshows adding subtitles. hollywood says they are pirates, but often they will stop distribting these files as soon as the dvd becomes available.


the internet and digital media means everything can be copied. so it is important to find a way that makes sense to regulate this.
(explains the creative commons licences)

About Jan Zuppinger

Jan Zuppinger has been writing this blog since 2002. He likes to grow vegetables. He likes to eat them too. He has opinions on everything, but sadly no one cares. Jan Zuppinger is not joking, just joking, he is joking, just joking, he's not joking. *click.