Twenty centuries ago, Emperor Nero fiddled while Rome burned. Today, some media companies are squabbling over copyrights while the planet is warming.
This is the main thrust of my latest op ed essay, just published by the Science and Development Network (SciDev.Net) anchored in London, UK. It’s titled: Planet before profit for climate change films.
I have adapted for this commentary some of my ideas initially expressed on this blog – especially the post on 12 Oct 2008: Climate in Crisis and planet in peril – but we’re squabbling over copyrights!
In writing this essay, I’ve also drawn on the excellent discussions we had last month during the Asia Pacific workshop on Changing Climate and Moving Images in Tokyo.
I’m challenging broadcasters to put their money where their mouth is.
Here’s an excerpt:
“Broadcast mandarins routinely support global struggles against poverty, HIV, corruption and climate change by offering free airtime to carry public interest messages. But few let go of their own products on these very subjects for non-broadcast uses.
“Making climate change a ‘copyright free zone’ for media products would increase the resource materials available to thousands of educators, social activists and trainers struggling to communicate this complex topic to audiences across the world. Moving images would make their task easier.
“The climate crisis challenges everyone to adopt extraordinary measures. Broadcasters and film-makers need to balance their financial interests with planetary survival.
“What use is intellectual property on a dead planet?”
Read my full essay on SciDev.Net: Planet before profit for climate change films.
In September 2006, speaking at the United Nations headquarters (photo below), I called for poverty to be recognised as a copyright free zone. The idea was to have broadcasters and other electronic publishers release copyrights on TV, video and online content relating to poverty and development issues -– at least until (MDG target year of) 2015.
The TV broadcast and film communities have reacted to this proposal with disdain or indifference, but I keep badgering on. If poverty didn’t motivate broadcasters to change business as usual, I hope, the planetary threat posed by climate change would.