Presentation: Mathias Klang (SE)

Mathias Klang (photo by Arnar Bergmann)

Mathias Klang, a lawyer and lecturer from Gothenburg, presented the  other side of the copyright argument after Robert Levine’s talk with an entertaining, thought-provoking presentation.

“Where were you when they locked up culture?”, asks Matthias Klang,  challenging the dominant myth that ‘everything is property’ and ‘creation needs cash.’ Cash is not required for creation, argued Klang.

“It will work if it’s providing for the common good,” we don’t need to cling to the economic and creative myth. His take on stealing and sharing? “Stealing stuff is creative, by the way; Piratebay is a really creative community.”

“My problem with copyright and the chasing and enforcing of it is the people who get caught in between. The people who don’t have or can’t afford lawyers, the people who (don’t) realise they need a lawyer. The galleries, libraries and museums are also suffering. Culture is proving a casualty of this war.”

On the subject of participatory democracy, Klang said that we have felt for a long time that we don’t have the tools for it. “We now have, thanks to digitilisation, connectivity, storage and devices. We took the content from the content carrier and removed the physical  item. Connectivity is the basis for everything. With modems we used to pay by the minute, it was awful. With fixed rates you stay online more, and start file-sharing etc. We are saving more stuff, creating more stuff, storing it.”

Devices are “the most important, they are the interface to the world, the way in which we see the world, they change our life.” He joked that we have become so used to the ‘pinch’ mechanism on our iPhone and iPad screens that he is waiting for the day a child goes up to a TV and tries out the pinch mechanism on it, and gets angry when the picture doesn’t enlarge.

Ultimately, Klang feels that culture “shouldn’t be so focused on fixation. It’s depressing when artists talk about copyright, I know it’s important but when we equate the successful artist with the one who makes the most money, when the artist becomes an entrepreneur, aren’t we changing the game-plan?”