“Fuck you, this is my culture.” — Amelia Anderstotter

Amelia shows her brilliance in this moving speech to the Internet Governance Forum, in Baku, Azerbaijan. Well worth having a read/listen to.

Amelia’s speech in the opening of Internet Governance Forum, Baku 2012

AMELIA ANDERSDOTTER:  Thank you, Chairman, ladies and gentlemen, participants of the Internet Governance Forum 2012.  My name is Amelia Andersdotter.  I am a member of the European Parliament on behalf of the Swedish Piratpartiet since December 2011.  I am mindful of the fact that I am one of only two women speaking in the opening session.  Also, I am probably the youngest person speaking.  I am only 25 years old.

The Piratpartiet wants to change the legislative framework for communication, interaction, innovation and culture.  We formed around the idea that communication technologies and culture present fantastic ways of building broad global communities.

We want interactions, social, cultural and economical to be determined and under the control of the people interacting.

When information, communication and culture can be freely accessible and used, which on the internet is basically always the case, this should be allowed and any exceptions or deviations to that general rule must be kept exceptional.

Unfortunately, laws at both nation state level and the international level are very ill‑equipped to achieve these goals.  Direct interventions by nation states into communication and cultural flows of their citizens are ubiquitous in the world.

More insidious are the restrictions on communications imposed on users by private network operators or intellectual property rights holders.  We hear words like “freedom of speech” and “Human Rights must be respected online” but actually so far very few top political figures in the world have acknowledged, or are willing to acknowledge, that this will require regulatory intervention on some private sectors and also letting go of some of the regulatory hinders that we’re currently putting in place to block communications between people.

It is clear to me both at the personal and at the political level that we need to fundamentally reconsider our approach to communication.  We need communication to be open and accessible.  This is how we make friendships, it is how we make societies, it is how we form words.

The control over communities and the ability to shape them must be with the communities themselves.  Infrastructure must be regulated to enable that ability and such autonomy.

The raw material for cultural identities, the culture itself, must be made more accessible than is currently the case.  Copyright is not only an untimely instrument for the 21st century, it is doing active harm to culture and to communities around the world.

During one of my travels this summer I met a young man who told me with a straight face that he liked open torrent trackers because he wants to be able to see the unpopular files.  I want to see the unpopular files.  I want to see the unpopular torrents and I want to live in a world where a social network, a community on its own initiative preserves the cultural wealth through the spontaneous contribution of all its members.  All of the changes that are needed in our laws to ensure that these communities can exist must be undertaken and now.

To all of you here and to all of the Governments and to the public officials and lobbyists that haven’t been able to bring themselves to support these actually very extensive reforms that are necessary for these places and creative communities to exist, I would like to paraphrase George Michael from I think 1992, “fuck you, this is my culture and if copyright or telecommunications operators are standing in the way, I think they should go.”  Thank you.

7 comments

  1. Dennis Au (@dennishcau)

    I agree. Amelia Anderstotter’s speech was amazing.

    I’m pretty sure though that the transcript on the 2nd last paragraph should read:

    “During one of my travels this summer I met a young man who told me with a straight face that he liked open torrent trackers because he wants to be able to seed the unpopular files. I want to seed the unpopular files. I want to seed the unpopular torrents…”

    i.e. see should be seed. She goes right to the heart of one of the big arguments against restrictive copyright, namely out of print, no longer published and/or orphan works. It’s a beautiful story, and a compelling one.

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