Red en Defensa del Conocimiento y la Cultura para Todos
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Acceso al Conocimiento
ACTA- Acuerdos de Libre Comercio
Colección de absurdos
Conocimiento libre
Conocimientos y expresiones culturales tradicionales
Cultura y Globalización
Derecho de Autor y Creación
Derechos Culturales
Diversidad Cultural
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Informes 301
Otras de Propiedad Intelectual
Problemática del Derecho de Autor en Foros Internacionales
Robo de cerebros
Sociedad de la Información
Software Libre


In today’s world ruled by consumption and greed for money, humankind’s spirituality, creativity and knowledge collected over thousands of years, along with the rich mosaic of cultures upon which we have placed our imprint, is seriously threatened.  

Something of so much importance should not escape legal protection, but the economic interests of transnational corporations have distorted everything. What should serve to protect creativity instead protects investments, which prevent the effective exercise of the most elementary human rights such as the right to life, to knowledge, to one’s identity, and to actively participate in the spiritual life of society.

Currently, the copyright regime in force neither meets society’s needs, nor concurs with the possibilities that technological development places in its hands. This system has legitimized the subjugation of culture to trade laws, favoring the economic and cultural domination of peoples.  

The balance between an author's right to his or her work and society’s right to have access to it should be implicit within copyright as a human right. This balance has been broken, neither in favor of authors nor of society, but in favor of those who exert rights upon the author’s name - the great monopolies of the publishing and entertainment industries.

The exercise of exclusive monopolies granted by the legislation of intellectual property frequently contradicts the exercise of other important human rights such as the right to health, to life and to education. These are being lost.

After an apparent defense of author’s rights, corporate interests join creators, governments and society to reinforce legislation on intellectual property and their international homogenization, taking as reference proposals by the most developed countries supported by international organisms that have responded to these interests. Thus, culture, exchange of knowledge and development are being severely damaged.

The inclusion of intellectual property norms within World Trade Organization free trade agreements constitutes the final turn of the screw, seriously threatening the sovereignty and cultural diversity of populations. When forcing nations to adopt very high protection standards, and having no possibility whatsoever of exerting cultural policies with effective protection, an unequal trade of products and cultural services is guaranteed and development of national cultural expression is smothered.

The study of creative processes all over the world demonstrates the lack of universality of many concepts and institutions created by copyrights for protecting creativity, when not acknowledging, among other aspects, collective methods of creativity and appropriation from native peoples, or the need for other regulatory systems different to those used by exclusive monopolies of exploitation on creative results. The ruling system, when being applied to so different realities and moments, has only made possible - and even motivated - the illegitimate use and looting of collective heritage.

Preventing its spread does not protect creativity, and greater creativity will not come about as a result of more rigid norms. Technology places into the service of humankind ever-greater means, yet legal norms establish prohibition. Models in force should change, so that author and society become mutually favored and industries occupy their role as vehicle, allowing dialogue and the exchange of knowledge. In order to protect creativity it needs to be encouraged and motivated. Its spaces need to be guaranteed, its results allowed to be a commercial success or not, judged only by virtue of its expression of people’s spirituality - of each and every one in their infinite diversity. 

The aforementioned contradictions have become evident in different international forums, and opposing positions are evident. A considerable number of initiatives have arisen that seek the use of more permissive legal models that foster solidarity and cooperation instead of barring them. Principles such as Copyleft and the Creative Commons initiatives have opened a way for associations of professionals, intellectuals, and creators to transform, little by little, the international scenario. 

Our countries of the South present a more complex problem than the new technological environment can inspire. This only makes things more obvious. There can be no encouragement of creativity without literacy, without educational development, without health, without meeting the most peremptory needs. None of this is possible under neoliberalism, which ties down ever-weakened states that lack public policies - especially in the field of the culture.  

The World Organization of Intellectual Property (WOIP) has not performed its role. It should impose priorities rather than strengthen the system already in force that is supported by developed countries and huge corporations. It should be training the administrative and judicial organs of nations so that they may guarantee enforcement of rights and attempt to solve the problems of development. It should be dedicating resources to financing projects that favor the creation of a common intellectual wealth in accordance with the most peremptory needs of humankind.

With these principles in mind, the Cuban chapter of the “Network in Defense of Humanity” and the Autonomous Intellectual Property Service of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, have decided to propose the implementation of a “Network In Defense of Culture and Knowledge for All”, which will embrace the following. 

Strategic aims:

  1. To theoretically match cultural and intellectual rights to an integrative and non-hegemonic thought process.
  2. To articulate resistance by connecting people, institutions, broadcasting systems, organizations and networks sensitive to these problems that will develop a system to immediately mobilize a response against both national and international hegemonic power maneuvers through every possible channel.
  3. To link systematic surveillance within the different international forums (WOIP, UNESCO, WTO, Summit of the Information Society and others) in which those topics dealing with cultural and intellectual rights are discussed, in order to promote positions and common actions in defense of the people, and thus become a world watchdog organization. 
  4. To support up and running alternatives within an open cultural environment. 
  5. To contribute to the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas, or to other similar integrative processes which may emanate from our countries of the South. To also add proposals or viable projects whose primary aim would be the development of cultural relations and the flow of knowledge among our countries, thereby stimulating creativity in society as a way to enrich the cultural, educational and spiritual heritage of our peoples, and enable the results to be accessed by all. 

To achieve these strategic aims we seek the following:  

Specific aims:  

  1. To collect and spread materials denouncing the consequences brought about by the intellectual property régime in force against society - particularly those relating to education, science and culture.
  2. To collect and spread articles and critical studies which provide evidence of the manner in which the current system and its mechanisms have subtly been used by transnational corporations and developed countries in imposing - within different forums - the protections demanded by their investing interests, thus helping to determine creators and other actors involved.
  3. To collect and spread alternatives, such as the principles of Copyleft, free knowledge, free software, free art, and free libraries. 
  4. To collect and spread the content of discussions and positions adopted by the transnational corporations and developed nations, and by defenders of social interests within different forums, taking into account the Information Society Summit, discussions in UNESCO, claims relating to the WOIP development program, demands concerning the protection of knowledge and traditional cultural expression, as well as the development of alternative meetings regarding intellectual property, creation of networks, watchdog groups, etc.  
  5. To promote the creation of articles, essays, or another types of research or works conforming to anti-hegemonic thought regarding cultural and intellectual rights, as well as holding meetings, workshops and debate forums, and spreading the word through publications and educational action.  
  6. To work toward viable and effective proposals that allow for the gradual application of alternative cultural knowledge and the spread of new integration models. 

Keeping in mind the different areas in which the effective norms of intellectual property have generated contradictions for creativity, the spread of knowledge and for cultural life in general, and in order to contribute to the formation of integrative thought in defense of culture and knowledge, our network intends to interconnect people, institutions, organizations and other networks which - from differing points of view and thematic areas - may contribute to this debate. Among these are: 

  • Defenders of cultural diversity who plead for the safeguarding of native people’s cultural expression, defending cultures and expressive forms that are in danger of being absorbed by the dominant culture, as well as defending non-material cultural heritage and collective forms of creativity, cultural appropriation such as an indigenous community’s traditional knowledge, and issues relating to afro-descendants.
  • Those who question the current technological development of the system in force, and persons or groups who consider that the system is in crisis due to the fact that technology has changed the rules of the game, offering possibilities both for creativity as well as for the spread of knowledge that neither can nor should be regulated in the traditional way. Copyleft and free software principles arise from here; and thereafter come free art, free music, the Creative Commons licenses and other variants.
  • Those artists who witness or support a change in creative ways influenced by new technologies and not just related to them. The birth of the so-called aesthetic postproduction, the ever increasing presence of appropriation, the crisis of the concept of originality, hypermedia literature, the interactivity of visual arts in general, the digital art challenges where tools and pre-existing works mix with new creations and for whom the current inflexible norm is curbing creativity.
  • The position of cultural promoters, professors, librarians and other actors who seek greater access to information and knowledge in defense of social interests, and who witness how the immense potential of most technological development is not used to favor education and the spread of culture.  
  • The claims by social activists and researchers who, from an ethical standpoint, approach the topic of the appropriation of scientific knowledge and research, criticizing secrecy and competitiveness, and questioning market demands that are imposed in lieu of the real needs of society.  
  • The positions of intellectuals and artists who oppose cultural globalization, and a canned pseudo culture that comes from subjugating culture to trading norms.  
  • Law students who demand legal protection for a balanced culture, where copyright is acknowledged as part of cultural rights in its two aspects: as a right granted to its creator and as society’s right to access creative results, such as is established by international juridical instruments.  
  • Economists, social leaders and other actors who analyze the implications of free trade agreements for underdeveloped countries, specifically the sections of intellectual property unethically designed to protect the entertainment investments of transnational corporations, as well as the consequences for our people’s cultures of the unequal exchange of cultural products and services generated as consequence of these treaties.  
  • Artists, creators and independent producers who, from alternative models, question the traditional production and distribution chains of transnationals, and search for new forms of exchange and diffusion that count on legal alternatives.
  • Any other organization, institution or person opposing to hegemonic thought being sensitive to the limitations imposed upon creativity, culture, knowledge and people’s cultural rights by transnational corporations and economic power.  

If constructing a network involves patient work, making us thinking again about those urgent matters, which summon and involve each of us – this is even more so when we are forced to move forward along a path on which we only glimpse just a few lights. Nevertheless, we are impelled by the conviction that the other way only leads to the perpetuation of exclusion and inequality that segregates and defrauds our peoples. 

We should recall Simón Rodríguez in this sentence, so often quoted by President Hugo Chávez: : "We invent or we err." Among our errors we, the peoples of the South, have back-stepped enough in assuming as valid the excluding and reactionary thought process of developed countries in the North, or when attempting and even justifying our supposedly own thoughts that emanated from their own structures. 

We must create new questioning, rebellious ideas that are not tied to institutions which essentially do not agree with humanist ethics. They must be a thought rooted in today’s society and corroborated by our everyday realities.   

In presenting you this document, its promoters appeal to all institutions, organizations and movements sharing the Declaration of Principles and Aims expressed within it, to join the network. On agreeing, we invite you to diffuse this project through every means possible. 

Supporters may send e-mail to: 

Caracas, November 18th, 2005.