Free Culture Forum

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Free Culture Forum
Free Culture Forum.png
FCForum logo
Location Barcelona, Spain
Organised by Xnet

The Free Culture Forum (FCForum) is an international encounter of civic society actors on free culture, digital rights and access to knowledge. It has been taking place in Barcelona every year since 2009. It takes place jointly with the oXcars, a free culture festival.

What is the FCForum[edit]

The FCForum is a major international meeting of the most relevant organisations and individuals working on the international scene, who are engaged in reflecting on the social and economic challenges of the dissemination of culture and knowledge in the digital age.

FCForum 2009[edit]

The main objectives of the Free Culture Forum 2009 (from October 30 to November 1) were, on the one hand, building networks to optimise the efforts of the different groups and setting common demands against the proposals from industry and governments in their eagerness to control culture and information; and on the other hand reinforcing the self-organisation of tools and infrastructures to support free culture.[1] The first edition of the Forum was organised by eXgae (now Xnet), Simona Levi, Mayo Fuster Morell, Networked politics and the Free Knowledge Institute. The FCForum 2009 produced the Charter for Innovation, Creativity and Access to Knowledge. The Charter has been disseminated and implemented worldwide, including the 26th Chaos Communication Congress in Berlin[2] and the Free Culture X Conference.[3]

Official observers from the European Community's Commission for Culture and Education (Valerie Panis), the European Community's Commission for Consumer Protection (Katrine Thomsen) and Government of Brazil (through its José Murillo from its Department of Digital Culture ) were present.

Main thematics of the FCForum 2009[edit]

The working program was focused on five working lines:

  • Education and Access to Knowledge
  • Organisational Logic and Political Implications of Free Culture
  • Free Software and Open Standards: Knowledge Sharing Hacker Philosophy and Action Technical Ware
  • Economies, New P2p Models and Sustainable Distribution
  • Legal Perspectives and User Access

List of participants FCForum 2009[edit]

FCForum 2010[edit]

The second FCForum[4] was held in Barcelona from October 28 to 31, 2010 and focused on economical models. It was organised by Xnet, Simona Levi, Mayo Fuster Morell and Yproductions, with the advise of Felix Stalder. It resulted in a Declaration and How to Manual on sustainability of creativity in the digital era. The FCForum declaration was signed by 80 organisations and individuals, including Richard Stallman.


Participants in the FCForum split into working groups focusing on the following topics:

  1. Economic Sustainability and Governance of Open Online Collaboration
  2. New models of sustainability for the creative sector
  3. Tools for policy reformers
  4. Open public sector information

Sustainable models for creativity in the digital age[edit]

In February 2011, two documents drafted by FCForum participants were released: Sustainable Models for Creativity and the How-To Manual for Sustainable creativity, addressed at political reformers, citizens and free culture activists. Both documents are based on an understanding that current royalties management and cultural distribution systems have become obsolete in the digital age, and the conviction that free software and peer production and distribution is not incompatible with market strategies and commercial distribution. The How-To Manual sets out a series of alternative commercial and non-profit models. It insists that the Internet must remain free and open in order to allow online collaboration models to develop, and it must be recognised as a tool that promotes contact between creators and the public. The manual offers an overview of new models that are already operating in a variety of fields, such as freemium, crowdfunding and micropayment systems in which users make small financial contributions to projects that are looking for seed funding through platforms such as Kickstarter and or to existing initiatives that are given money depending on the number of users who vote for them (such as Flattr, created by Peter Sunde and Linus Olsson). It also claims that the creators of commercial cooperative platforms should share their profits with the creators of the content they publish.

FCForum 2011[edit]

The third annual FCForum was held in Barcelona on October 28, 29 and 30, under the title ‘Networks for a R-evolution’.

Day one revolved around sustainable models for creativity in the digital age. It included a round table on the current situation of film and the Internet in Spain, with Álex de la Iglesia, Juan Carlos Tous, Amparo Peiró, Eudald Doménech and the lawyer Josep Jover. This was followed by a session in which Yproducciones, Kayros Transmedia, Daniel Granados, Kolector, Flattr, Goteo and Verkami explored some new sustainable alternatives for the creative sec tor.[5][5]

Day two focused on challenges and tools for the defence of the Internet and of sharing in the framework of the digital revolution. Participants included the lawyer David Bravo, La Quadrature du Net, John Perry Barlow and Richard Stallman.

FCForum 2012[edit]

The fourth FCForum was held at Ars Santa Mònica on October 26 and 27.

Day one explored the theme of sustainable models for the creative sector, with practical examples from the fields of journalism, education (Freeangle) and publishing (Bookcamping). The report on crowdfunding "Crowdfunding Experiences in Spain and Catalonia: Key Characteristics, Challenges and Obstacles. Inspiration and Recommendations for a Stronger Tool for Collective, Public and Private Cross-Financing” was presented by its authors.

One of the main sections looked at how cyber crime is being used as an excuse to criminalize and control the Internet, with an introduction by the lawyer Carlos Sánchez Almeida and presentations of projects such as Tor Project and Telecomix.

Day two focused on democracy in the digital age, with debates on transparency in public institutions (Cuentas Claras, Discursia, Sueldos Públicos, Graba to Pleno, Qué hacen los diputados, Open Knowledge Foundation, Access Info, Tu Derecho a Saber and Civio), journalism and freedom of information, and networked democracy.

The 2012 FCForum also worked on a system for the collaborative reform of Intellectual Property legislation in Spain and the European Union, using documents linked to the FCForum and the proposal prepared by Quadrature du Net as a point of departure.

The 2012 FCForum team also participated in the book Cultura libre digital - Nociones básicas para defender lo que es de todxs, which was published by Editorial Icaria in 2012.

FCForum 2013[edit]

The FCForum 2013 took place on October 25 and revolved around four core themes: Creativity, Culture and Knowledge: New models of access and production; Data Science: The potential and limits of Big Data; Networked Democracy; and Electronic Money and Distributed Currency: Strengths and weaknesses.

FCForum 2014[edit]

The sixth edition of the FCForum was itinerant; it took place in different spaces and dates.

The Barcelona Growth Center hosted on November 4 an all-day meeting on Networked Democracy and Technopolitics where eight participants with experience in these fields explained both dimensions and the practices in technopolitics and democracy. These participants were: Joan Subirats, professor at the Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona; Simona Levi, founder of Xnet; Ismael Peña-López, teacher at the UOC; Víctor Sampedro, teacher at the Universidad Rey Juan Carlos; Antonio Ruíz, from Appgree; Sergio Salgado, member of 15MpaRato and the X Party; Javier Toret; Miguel Arana, member of the Laboratorio Democrático and Francesca Bria, head of the European project D-CENT.20.

On November 5, 6 and 7, at the BAU Design College of Barcelona, several workshops on design tools took place as well as lectures divided in five blocks:

  • Free design practices
  • Prosthetics and pots
  • Open hardware and design
  • Critical perspectives in art and design
  • Design of open spaces

The participants in this edition were designers, artists, associations and cultural collectives like: Anne Laforet, Femke Snelting, Josianito Llorente, En torno a la silla, Exando una Mano, Ana Isabel Carvalho and Ricardo Lafuente (Manufactura Independente), OSP, Raúl Nieves (Faboratory), Tomas Diez (FabLabBcn), LaCol, Zuloark or Makea Tu Vida.

On November 27, 28 and 29, at the Barcelona's Center of Contemporary Culture, The Influencers took place; a festival about non conventional art, communication guerrilla and radical entertainment.

FCForum 2015[edit]

Under the title Fighters & Makers, the seventh edition of the FCForum took place on October 30 and 31 and November 2, 2015, in different spaces in Barcelona.[6]

On October 30,[7] Sala Conservas held a series of working groups that came together round the following topics:

- Legislation on copyright and intellectual property. Net Neutrality.[8]

With the participation of Diego Naranjo and Maryant Fernández-Pérez (European Digital Rights), Till Kreutzer (An Initiative Against Ancillary Copyright - IGEL), Gaelle Krikorian (advisor on access to Knowledge and Intellectual Property), Estelle Massé (Access), Thomas Lohninger (Netzfreiheit), Rejo Zenger (Bits of Freedom) and Jérémie Zimmermann (La Quadrature du Net).

- Freedom of expression, freedom of information

With the participation of James Love (Knowledge Ecology International ), Jeremy Malcolm (Electronic Frontier Foundation ), Renata Ávila (human rights and intellectual property lawyer, advisor of Wikileaks, the Courage Foundation, Creative Commons and member of the Web We Want), Diego Naranjo and Maryant Fernández-Pérez (European Digital Rights) and Ali Nikouei (Baaroo Foundation).

On October 31, the FCForum moved to the Farinera del Clot cultural centre, opening with a press conference for journalists and attendees to introduce the "Citizen Group against Corruption"; a state platform of citizen groups actively working against corruption, formed by Simona Levi [9] and Sergio Salgado, from XnetLeaks and 15MpaRato; Audita Sanidad, a collective working on a citizen debt audit of the health care sector; Ana Garrido, one of the first plaintiffs if the corruption case Gürtel; Kontuz, a citizen association of users, consumers and taxpayers that has uncovered major corruption cases in Navarra; Acción Cívica; Encarnacion Cortés, councillor who denounced corruption in the town of Benalmádena; David Fernàndez, former president of the Parliamentary Commission on the 'Pujol Case' as deputy of the CUP-Parlament; Fernando Urruticoechea, who has reported several cases of corruption from the public administration and Patricia Ramirez Suarez, activist in defence of banking abuses and founder and president of ASUFIN.

Other participants as advisors were the Citizen Debt Audit Platform - PACD; Pau A. Monserrat, economist author of "La banca culpable" (The Guilty Banks) and Raul Burillo, tax inspector who led the team of inspectors which investigated cases such as 'Palma Arena', 'Son Oms' or 'Maquillaje'.

The day continued with two blocks of conferences and a new working group.

The lectures focused on the "crisis" as a "scam" and on surveillance, repression, data protection and civil liberties. The first batch of interventions had activist Enric Duran (Faircoop & CIC), the Finsalud Foundation and the journalist and lawyer Hibai Arbide, social movements expert. The second block had Jeremie Zimmermann, James Love, Jeremy Malcolm, Renata Ávila and EDRi, as well as Arjen Kamphuis (Centre for Investigative Journalism) and Alberto Escorcia (LoQueSigue TV).

The working group "Freedom of expression, freedom of information, freedom of action: state of affairs and coordination of struggles in the Spanish State" analysed the so-called "gag law" and the "Torquemada law" with the participation of LegalSol, Rights International Spain and the lawyer Carlos Almeida.

The day ended with a series of workshops on digital self-defence and the right to privacy of communications, such as the right to information and freedom of expression as well as a specific workshop for journalists conducted by the Centre for Investigative Journalism.

November 2 was the last day of the seventh edition of the Free Culture Forum, dedicated to "Makers & business models" and held at the BAU Design College of Barcelona.

Participants:Ateneus of Digital Manufacture, BAU Lab, Ehcofab - Fabmóvil, Companyia, Defko Ak Ñiëp, Kër Thiossane, collective Malahembra and Josef Prusa (Reprap developer).

The day ended with a show conference held by ZEMOS98.

See also[edit]


External links[edit]