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Challenges and opportunities for freedom of expression in the networked environment

Culture & Education - the debate

info: Submitted by Lisa Horner on Wed, 2006-11-15 12:23.

In culture and education, does the networked communications environment create opportunities to share & develop human creativity?


Technology such as web-based community forums and peer-to-peer networking reduces the costs of producing and distributing artistic works. Artists have direct access to geographically and culturally diverse audiences, and are less dependent on large companies to produce, market and distribute their work. New communications give audiences access to a wider range of culture, promote greater collaboration between artists and stimulate cultural innovation. When corporations and governments attempt to control the production and spread of culture in the networked communications environment, they are met with resistance in the form of technological innovation to subvert control mechanisms.


The web has not promoted cultural diversity, but has become an online ‘shopping mall’ with few new opportunities for producers and consumers of art. Intellectual property rights are being extended into the networked communications environment to protect corporate monopolies over the distribution of artistic work, and are closing off new opportunities in artistic production and distribution. While some production and distribution networks are not subject to corporate control, most artists still depend on media corporations to help market their work and make it stand out. The regulatory mechanisms through which corporations protect profits are also being used to control artistic production and consumption in countries where cultural censorship by the state is pervasive.

Click here to read the project paper Towards Freedom Of Artistic and Cultural Expression: Advancing Diversity In The Networked World