Friday, July 17, 2009

Gilberto Gil Chimes in on the Question of Digital "Piracy"

Gilberto Gil, one of the founding members of Tropicalia, the former Minister of Culture under Lula, and (for my money) a much better writer and singer than Caetano Veloso, has entered the fray on the debate over music piracy and how to treat it. Gil has become a vocal critic of how piracy is being punished, and while he does not go so far to openly support piracy either, he has a far more sensible approach. In an interview, he suggested that broader notions of democracy and access to cultural production need to be taken into consideration, rather than simply handing out heavy-handed fines and jail time. Beyond calling for a "full" and "democratic" debate involving all sides discussing the role of technology, culture, and democracy, he also commented that, "in the cultural arena it's necessary to find an equilibrium between common interests and the agenda of the capitalist world." ("No terreno cultural é preciso buscar um equilíbrio entre o interesse comum e a agenda do mundo capitalista."). Gil's stance is remarkably sane and even-handed; here's hoping more individuals in the music industry and government apparati are willing to join him in this vision of how to proceed with the "digital revolution."