Interview | Glyn Moody: Walled Culture – A Journey Behind the Copyright Bricks

Glyn Moody has been writing about copyright, digital rights, and the Internet for 30 years. He is the editor of the Walled Culture project and author of Walled Culture – the Book (freely available as ebook). He previously wrote ‘Rebel Code: Linux and the Open Source Revolution’. He explains how the Walled Culture project is a reflection on digital copyright going wrong, and how copyright and the Internet have shown to be fundamentally incompatible. Glyn highlights how there’s no escaping copyright in an online world. He shares some copyright absurdities, with big content fighting the visually impaired and initiatives like Project Gutenberg and Google Books. He talks about how Big Content put on shackles on libraries thanks to Digital Rights Management (DRM), and reflects on the injustice of the Big Publishers’ suing the Internet Archive.

Glyn points out how Big Academic Publishers hijacked the shift towards open access to benefit their bottom line, while pointing out that diamond open access shows that we can move away from the academic publishing business. He recalls how Big Record Labels went on a rampage, suing grandmothers and children, neglecting the opportunity to give consumers what they wanted. Glyn describes Big Content’s push for copyright enforcement, from the French three strikes mechanism to the SOPA and ACTA battles, while emphasising how copyright laws got skewed towards Big Content. He talks about the failures surrounding the EU Copyright Directive and the looming dangers of upload filters. He further highlights how copyright no longer promotes culture but harms it, and how it’s about protecting Big Content, not creators. Glyn concludes by reflecting on a possible way forward: building on creators’ true fans.

Do you prefer watching our passionate interviewees talking about the 21st-century walls blocking access to culture? Then check out the vlog below.

Video highlights with timestamps:

00:00 Intro

01:05 Walled Culture: Digital copyright going wrong

03:51 Copyright vs. the Internet: Fundamentally incompatible

06:44 Who gives a toss about copyright: In an online world you should

08:27 Copyright absurdities – Part 1: Big Content vs the visually impaired

10:26 Copyright absurdities – Part 2: Big Content vs Project Gutenberg & Google Books

13:31 Digital Rights Management (DRM): Big content putting the shackles on libraries

15:33 Big Publishers suing the Internet Archive

17:58 Big Academic Publishers & open access: One step forward, two steps back

21:55 Diamond open access: Moving away from the academic publishing business

24:55 Preprints: More eyeballs scrutinising academic research

26:40 Big Record Labels on a rampage: Suing grandmothers & children

30:52 People pay: If you offer them what they want on fair terms

34:24 Big Content’s push for Copyright enforcement: From three strikes to SOPA and ACTA

39:06 The impact of copyright on our digital lives

40:05 Copyright laws: Skewed towards Big Content

44:17 The EU Copyright Directive: How not to bring copyright into the digital age

45:12 The EU Copyright Directive: No freedom of panorama

46:58 The EU Copyright Directive upload filters: It’s going to be bad

52:00 Stopping preservation: Copyright no longer promotes culture but harms it

55:35 Busting copyright’s creator myth: It’s about protecting Big Content

57:51 The power of true fans