Decentering piracies

April 21, 2017 4:30 pm - 6:30 pm

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Lisa Ikemoto
Lawrence Liang
Henry Stobart

What is “piracy” and from whence does it come? Who controls the piratical gaze? This panel will articulate, examine, and critique the typical piratical gaze which flows from North to South, examining instead non-US understandings of piracy. By refocusing on how non-Western nations view South-North knowledge flows, this plenary session complicates the category of piracy, offering new ways of thinking about the term and the implications of the act that the United States adamantly associates with “theft.”


Race and the Desire of Education: Public Law 480 and the Secret History of the DU Photocopy case
Lawrence Liang
Late last year the Delhi high court (in a single judge bench followed by a division bench) ruled in the Delhi University photocopy case. seen as a test case for fair use and education in India, the judgments are of immense significance both within india and within the global south for the future of access to educational materials. In this paper I will focus on the significance of the case but also locate it within a larger history of the ecology of access to learning materials through a focus on Public Law 480 (PL480), the notorious “Food for peace” program which amongst other things introduced wide ranging transformations in the academic publishing industry in the global south. Finally the talk whose title is a nod to Ann Stoler’s “Race and the Education of Desire”,  will examine the impossibility of articulating desire in the legal rhetoric deployed in the legal proceedings.

Piracy and the Pink Tide: Shifting landscapes of music production, distribution, and indigeneity in Bolivia and beyond
Henry Stobart

According to various commentators, Latin America’s ‘pink tide’ finally turned in 2015, after ebbing for a several years. With the arrival of Donald Trump and death of Fidel Castro in 2016 has it finally gone down the plughole? At the pink tide’s height, a group of Latin American and Caribbean countries had been exploring socially inclusive alternatives to existing intellectual property regimes and trading relations. This was most notably articulated by the ALBA-TCP (Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our Americas – Peoples Trade Treaty), originally an initiative of Venezuela’s President Hugo Chávez (1954-2013). Evo Morales brought Bolivia into the ALBA soon after he became president in 2006 and has been a staunch advocate of many of its stated principles. These include working towards “just and sustainable development,” protecting biodiversity and the human genome as “common patrimony of humanity and the mother earth,” and opposing the “voracity of transnational companies” and the extension of patent and IP duration. As this paper reveals, in Bolivia’s market places – where piracy reigns supreme – it is hard to see how ALBA’s principles, in the form of policy, have impacted on the ecology of media production and distribution. Nonetheless, it is suggested that media piracy – despite the local ambivalence that surrounds it – has brought about certain of the social effects sought by the ALBA alongside new challenges for producers. But, with the changing tide, where do things go from here?