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Copyright activists let off steam in London

After Hours: Boing Boing editor Cory Doctorow and free software activists denounce copyright law in London's Hyde Park

A group of copyright activists took over Speakers' Corner in London's Hyde Park on Sunday to expound the evils associated with strict copyright law and point out some potential solutions.

An informal group of copyright activists meet on a regular basis at the famous London landmark to voice their opinions. On Sunday, the first speaker to take to the soapbox — well, stepladder — was Cory Doctorow, the European coordinator for civil liberties group Electronic Frontier Foundation and the co-editor of the Boing Boing blog. Doctorow said the music industry has often criticised new technologies, from the advent of radio in the early 1900s to today's file sharing networks.

Next to speak was Ronaldo Lemos, the director of the Center for Technology & Society at the Fundação Getulio Vargas law school in Brazil, which recently advised Brazilian government on the its free software strategy. Lemos discussed the link between copyright and creativity in Brazil.

A number of other copyright activists spoke at the event, including Salim Fadhley, an open source developer for the Plone CMS and Zope application server projects. He said that recent developments in the entertainment industry confound the music industry's view that copyright promotes creativity. He provided examples of this, talking about podcasting, a method of subscribing to audio broadcasts which are then delivered to your PC or digital media player, Resonance FM, a London radio station that focuses on programming outside the broadcasting mainstream, and the Creative Commons licensing schemes, which aim to provide a more flexible alternative to traditional copyright laws.

Cory Doctorow atop a stepladder, at Speakers' Corner in Hyde Park, talking about copyright law reform
Cory Doctorow talking in Hyde Park

Salim Fadhley atop a stepladder, at Speakers' Corner in Hyde Park, talking about copyright law reform
Salim Fadhley talking in Hyde Park