Copyright and Non-western Countries
Gradually we are starting to understand that the philosophy behind our present copyright system is less self-evident than we usually accept. We observe that copyright is mostly not in favour of artists, the public domain and Third World countries. I have proposed elsewhere that we cannot continue to support a system that favours huge cultural industries more than the public interest.1 Furthermore copyright has an octopus-like character. It includes all expressions that contain even a vague reference to a specific work, and its reach is nearly endless.
Copyright filters artistic communication. The 'owners' of artistic expressions decide who may use, in what way, and for what price those elementary sources of our cultures expressed in theatre, dance, music, films, works of visual art and design, and literature. We should keep in mind that those 'owners' - cultural conglomerates that also control the production, distribution and promotion of artistic goods and values - are privatising and appropriating most of our cultural expressions. Free cultural communication is the victim. It is also strange that one person may privately 'own', for instance, a melody, with the consequence that others may sing or change it only in accordance with the conditions of the 'owner'. This is contrary to what has happened in all cultures everywhere in the world and dates back only to the end of nineteenth century with the introduction of the system of copyright in the Western world and the privatisation of knowledge and creativity.