A New Ministry of Culture in Brazil

 Posted by on September 18, 2012
Sep 182012
 

Just after entering the 21st month heading the Ministry of Culture in Brazil, Ana de Hollanda was dismissed on Tuesday, September 11. The new Minister, Marta Suplicy, a well known Labor Party politician from São Paulo, took office on the 13th (see the news on the ceremony).

Ana de Hollanda has been on shaky grounds since she appointed. Her first words were to say she would review the Copyright Law Reform in order to “protect the author” from what she saw as an attack on their rights and its exercise. By that she meant the expansion of the limitations, the supervision of the Collective Management Organization and the institutionalization of the equivalent to a Copyright Office with consulting, mediation and possibly arbitration powers. She also declared open warfare towards open licenses, especially Creative Commons, which she took off the Ministry site within her first month in power – even though many other Ministries and even the Presidency use open licenses. With all that she brought about a strong wave of resistance from different sectors – including digital activists, academics, artists, politicians and even businesses. Although she had resisted since then, the Ministry itself was hurt with budget cuts and was not able move forward or build their policies – which was a good thing after all.

The new Minister is much more experienced both in the political and administrative arena. She is expected to give continuation to Lula’s policies and, as an example, one day before took office, while still a Senator, she managed to make a deal that would approve on a single day the National Cultural System, a Constitutional Amendment which was sitting in Congress for a while waiting to be voted, and is one of the key policies planned during Lula’s Presidency, aiming at integrating the cultural policies at federal, state and city levels, and would mean a boost public investment in the cultural arena as well as an upgrade of political and social value of such policies.

In her opening speech, the new Minister mentioned that “the [concern with] the difficulties in access to cultural products and goods, the [promotion of] cultural diversity, the continuing dialogue with all cultural and social segments as well as with Congress” will always be priorities in her Ministry.

It is important to note that, when taking office in 2011, the President Dilma established 13 directives which were priorities for the Government. Among them, the 11th, there is an explicit statement on “democratization of access to cultural goods”. One of the most important ways of achieving such goal is strengthening the copyright limitations and exceptions by opening up the system. We hope this time it will be for real.

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