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« Hacking for the Commons » (aka « La bataille du Libre » in French), a 87 minute documentary film
writen and directed by Philippe Borrel, produced by Jeremy Zelnik & Tancrède Ramonet (Temps Noir), released in France in May 2019, broadcasted on ARTE TV.
Presentation : "Computing has infiltrated almost all human activities of today’s world. Has it contributed to making us more self-reliant ? Or has it turned us into the passive consumers of what has become a total market ? Without our being aware of it, two logics are confronting each other at the very heart of technology, since the emancipating principles of free software have shaken the exclusive proprietary rights of so called « intellectual property » since the 1980s.
For decades, Big Data multinationals, generally referred to as GAFAM (Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple, Microsoft) have sought to simplify, even infantilise our relationship with the digital world and ultimately with the world around us. Their designers assume that the less we know, the more we will behave as captive and passive clients and the more we will be kept under control, without our knowledge. Yet this is not necessarily an inevitable fate, and many initiatives around the world show us that it is still possible to regain control of our tools, whether digital or not.
It would have seemed totally unimaginable just 20 years ago that non-industrial or non-state protagonists might succeed in collectively creating a system of exploitation or an encyclopedia. Several challenges that appear insurmountable today - climate, energy or social - might well be tackled tomorrow by all of humanity, across borders, thanks to models being tried out by the “Free” activists.
Free software, open source seeds or hardware, generic medicine or alternative treatments and free access to knowledge… Objects, devices, machines, concepts, reproducible to infinity by all who wish, thanks to the free distribution of their blueprints. The founding legal principles of free software serve as an example with the battle won against the dominant model of intellectual property. Since then, collective and contributing practices of “Free” are flourishing in many other domains. Their principle attraction is designing alternatives to the system of marketing and control, whether in relation to technology, ecology, the defence of public services or culture. By stressing the importance of freedom, cooperation and sharing, at the same time they revive users’ autonomy and power. They can as such contribute to the emergence of a world that might be liberated of copyright and patents for the benefit of the Common. Which is perhaps the challenge of these utopias; every large-scale social and political revolution is above all a cultural revolution.
Featuring : Kenneth Roelofsen, Karen Sandler, Richard Stallman, James Boyle, Hervé Le Crosnier, Shamnad Basheer, Pierre-Yves Gosset, Thomas Bernardi, Kwame Yamgnane, Lucile Vareine, Asa Dotzler, Denelle Dixon, Abhiram Ravikumar, Pascal Chevrel, Lionel Maurel, Martine Cailbault, Nicolas Huchet, David Gouailler, Xavier Niel, Giorgio Regni, David Bollier, Marc Oshima, Vandana Shiva, Guy Standing, Joseph Stiglitz, Pierre Dardot, James Love, Francis Gurry, Anthony Di Franco, Steve Berman, Yann Huon de Kermadec, Olivier Maguet, Vidyashankar R., Marc Bouché, Mick Minchow, Kevin Kenney, Lydia Brasch, Vinod Kumar, Bhavani, Mani Kantan, Grégoire Wattinne, Marie-Laure Marcadé, Nicolas Sinoir, Vladimir Ritz, Benjamin Coriat, Marcel Thébault, Michel Dartois.
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