Viral Spirals: the growing movements for free culture and its political and social significance

, by Red Pepper

At the end of October, artists, hackers, teachers, lawyers and free culture activists of all kinds will converge on Barcelona for the second meeting of the Free Culture Forum (FCF). This is an international space for movements that have emerged across the world around the production, access, circulation and management of cultural and knowledge goods.

The FCF’s first meeting produced the Charter for Innovation, Creativity and Access to Knowledge. It declares that: ‘We are in the midst of a revolution in the way that knowledge and culture are created, accessed and transformed. The consequences of this revolution are comparable with the far-reaching changes brought about by the invention of the printing press.’

The charter focuses on the restrictions on citizens’ rights to education, access to information, culture, science and technology, freedom of expression, the inviolability of communications and privacy, and the freedom to share. It makes proposals for alternative forms of regulation of knowledge, information and culture, based on the principles of free culture. At the same time it provides a useful map of the crucial struggles, the issues at play and the dangers in these areas (see Read more