At the Open Video Conference table in the Exhibit Hall.View of the Exhibit Hall from the table.

We’re at the Open Video Conference in New York City right now, and it’s terrific: a gathering of creative people who are dedicated to building freedom into both the technical and the legal infrastructure of the Internet. Today I heard a great talk by Prof. Gabriella Coleman of New York University: The Politics and Poetics of DeCSS, on the connection between computer code and legal theories of free speech, and how the kind of Internet we get depends in part on how that connection fares in courts.

If you’re at the conference, come stop by the table the exhibit hall. We’ve got shirts, stickers, DVDs, and more. The stickers are free, and they fit on a laptop — there’s even one for netbooks.

Saturday we’re on a panel (I say “we” because either Nina Paley or I will be a panelist, depending on logistics) at 5pm entitled “Who Owns Popular Culture? Remix and Fair-Use in the Age of Corporate Mass Media”:

Our shared popular culture is driven by Hollywood movies, television shows, video games and the latest musical hits. Due to its ubiquitous nature, it is entrenched in our everyday lives, becoming part of the language we speak to each other and also shaping how we see the world around us. Since pop culture is largely created, distributed and owned by a few major media corporations, copyright laws restrict its public use. Given the tight control of these powerful institutions, how can remixers, artists, educators, youtubers and filmmakers find ways to speak using our shared pop cultural language? How does fair-use intersect with copyright regarding our artistic rights to create, criticize and build on the past? This panel will attempt to demystify fair use and re-imagine what a truly public popular media culture might look like.

I’m looking forward to it a lot; the other panelists have all been doing very interesting work:

See the conference schedule for what else is happening Saturday.

Then on Sunday (the Hack Day), there’s a showing of Nina Paley’s film Sita Sings the Blues at 2pm in the Tishman auditorium at the conference venue, Vanderbilt Hall at New York University. Anyone can download the film, since it’s released under a totally free license, but it’s much better to see it on the big screen with a lot of other people. Come if you can; you’ll be glad you did.