Berlin Commons Conference/Workshops/Legal Session

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Erling: Norway and Sweden recreated the commons late 19th century, relatively well, his hypothesis is that it was because it focused on procedural law, not outcomes.
Betsy Taylor: US small watershed watches contradict govt data, how to aggregate the knowledge commons to challenge the regulatory state
X… Li: China NGOs help government to make policy, others try to challenge the government, see if policies are implemented—he thinks both are important,
Tula Tsalis (NY and Greece) regeneration project on small island, social activist, to understand how it is possible for people on the ground to use the law and change the law, taught environomental studies and sociology
Glyn Moody: lots of energy, activity, but all movements split, see how they can come together
Xxx Heinz: noncommercial agriculture,
Marybell Nsegu, environmental justice lawyer from CA, representing small communities challenging pollution, challenging CA global warming solutions act, cobenefits of reducing carbon emissions, now at Turin, has insight on how law and politics work together, wants to see how different movements can work together
Birgit: trade union-related foundation, activist dealing with urban commons
Fritz: political activist against big real estate activist, commons organizations and their democratic legitimation, how to avoid wrong/nonobjective ideas to get into law through commons organizations, commons very subjective, what scale do you focus at? Localized or bigger interests
Thretn Schreuer retired, tools for contesting power, e.g. people’s tribunals on corporate crime (caging the tiger)
Harard Rieger, retired from large German corporation, lawyer by training, in Germany has respected constitutional order, courts, idea of commons should be furthered in 3 steps:
Permanent institution speaking for the commons (not just individuals), that the media can turn to
Analyze German situation to see where commons would be beneficial (e.g. patent law, to restrict increased patentability the excludes knowledge; urban life, foster subsidiarity and participation, even global commons)
What changes are needed to the laws? Which are possible to introduce principle of the commons—lawyers and politicians, talk to media, practical proposals
Ewa: architect dealing with private public property, deal with law in some way, how to operate within the city
Carolina Otero: corporate lawyer from Colombia, software law and technology, now to free software, creative commons, educational issues, contracts  licensing, but sees need for legal change to make visible, most law just has private and public (esp. from continental law, as opposed to common law systems), confuse public and commons, at least in legal format
Wolfgant Herschele—geographer,
Volker Free software belongs into licensing space and not law, fighting against new laws that erode commons, social contract used by software community, 3 strikes on file sharing then get disconnected from internet in France and Korea, war on file sharing has technical issues, inspection, domain seizures—they want to legalize file sharing in exchange for flat rate on broadband access, organize redistribution processes between artists and audiences, copyright law bill of Min of Culture in Brazil is working on this
Beatrice, Argentina, free software movement, Via Libre foundation, civil rights in digital media, Wikimedia Argentina (Wikimedia commons); free software can use it, copy it, study source code and modify, share modified version (copyleft), use the copyright law to set it free—condition that you have to share it under same conditions (so no one else can privatize), how to build the right laws
Claudio: Chilean copyright lawyer/activist, how to protect public interest in copyright law, in Spanish, no word for the commons, so all they teach is about restrictions on copyright, proprietariazation/enclosure of public domain—balance between public and private interests
Saki Bailey: Turin, founder of university blocked privatization of water in Italy, also dealing with digital property, trying to change ideology, critical of law and economics model (neoclassical, efficiency, from U of Chicago), instead look at ecology and law—sees law as tool for social change, Foundation for Sustainable Development UNDP initiative found huge gap between policy and implementation, that law is technocratic
Customary law—what is its status as a source of law: should be easier in common law countries, except in Latin America indigenous people may have customary law if they show they have a law, and can’t do capital punishment –where law is unclear, custom can become part of law. But in US court law has displaced customary law. What do you mean by customary law? It takes time to evolve. Law as a cultural phenonmenon, legitimacy of law. Peter Linebaugh shows that Magna Charta was about forest commons, but US teaches it as root of individual rights
Free software movement resists the use of intellectual property terms, but also don’t use the commons term. In Wikimedia uses the term commons for only one of their projects. Each Wikipedia language has different rules, different community
Stopping bad laws vs promoting good
Allies: Synthesize diverse groups
Communication—to general public,
Procedural law vs outcome
Legal pluralism
What legal space for commons (some systems only have public and private)
Policies and implementation. Local data collection to challenge monitoring systems
Tools: People’s tribunals: as soon as you bring people together with people as witnesses to the effects of corporations, can evolve people’s law (which is a commons in itself), recognizes value of this customary law, a tool for recognizing what has been lost—permanent tribunal in Rome
Different commons: how to build the commons and show them on the law. Once you start to define the commons, no agreement,
Wasteland in India
Saki: Propose a project: database of information about ways that you can make a claim for common property in different countries, share the information (e.g. in China they tried to apply for listing under Ramsar convention) so that no outside investor can touch it, river under international heritage to block dams—international mechanisms: wiki that lays out existing laws, possible frameworks for commons, an atlas for this . EF Schumacher society has an archive of alternative land strategies, Sierra Club; Language problem in translating legislation, problem of methodology, can use Crawford/Ostrom way of analyzing rules
Commons are not objects, but social relationships
Can’t always differentiate natural resource commons because they are related, communicate about the connections