workshop 02: Anty-Anty Piracy Campaign with Critical Art Ensemble
Members of art, technology, radical politics and critical theory collective from USA, Critical Art Ensemble, have been working with young people in Novi Sad concerned with new and just passed law against piracy in Serbia. This law was passed in April 2003 as one of direct consequences of government action after assassination of Serbian prime minister Zoran Djindjic. New laws against terrorism were passed and piracy fell in category of criminal acts. Law against piracy is on and it's very cruel: person could get from 5 to 8 years in prison for copying, redistributing and unauthorized public presentation of some copyrighted piece. A thousand of CD shops are now closed, street dealers cannot sell pirate CD's anymore and some people got arrested because of this illegal action. Still, piracy industry is live and vivid, and it's functioning through not so visible channels. It would be just great that piracy, formed as a kind of habit in Serbian society, could be understood as a collective consciousness of people here about importance of copyleft and idea of sharing. But, it is only the matter of collective poverty. Somewhere between government's urge for fast and visible political earnings and adaptation to standards and legislative of Western Europe trade markets, Serbian law against piracy exists as completely inadequate and premature step that devastates already poor information distribution.
Workshop's direct subject was one of blockbuster Hollywood movies in that period, "Catch Me if You Can" by Stephen Spielberg. Together they have re-edited DIVX, and hav ecreated new and improved version of the movie. Its improvement consists of extra titling the movie, as a kind of reaction on usual copyright sentence: "This DVD is for screening purposes only and it is not for public presentation", which showed up many times in the movie. Extra titles were added to point out different copyright issues as a form of cultural imperialism. Some of them are:
"Catch Me if You Can" was produced for $ 50 million and has already made 160 million. Expect millions more to be made when realized to video and cable.
You are under economic and cultural attack.
This DIVX has been created for public use and not for private interests!
The appropriation of digital information is a form of cultural self-defense.
The production and distribution of digital information should not be centrally controlled. Access for all is a requirement for world democracy!
Critical Art Ensemble: www.critical-art.net