Copying Jacobin Code

Why and how I am copying Jacobin's design

Iamgonnacopy sticker by Miltos Manetas 2010, design by Experimental Jetset

I am gonna copy, I wrote this in 2001 and then I turned it to, a website where people can vote if they will copy:

-We copy digital nature, we share, we agree with Piracy.

-We don't copy digital stuff, we don't share, we don't agree.

Back then, 96 people voted FOR Piracy, 42 -among them Noam Chomsky- voted against. I called Chomsky on the phone (WIPEOUT a committee about copyright had asked me to design their logo, Chomsky's was one of the endorsers and I had his phone ) to ask for explanations.... "I just don't find it correct that anyone can just take profit from the intellectual work of others-Chomsky said- I have too many friends who are artists or writers, most of them are not famous, they hardly make a living.." It was the first time I was interacting with a Socialist and this was the first lesson I was receiving from them. In a computer age, "Not Copying" would be crazy-I decide. I should try copying as much as possible but ALWAYS I should give credits to the person or to the company who did the work I was gladly appropriating.

PIRACY: a NEEN ethic

In 2001 I was trying to put together a few theories related with the internet, to fortify the existence of the NEEN ART MOVEMENT, a post-internet situation that myself and a few friends were launching. Having discovered the question of copyright, I decide that not only we should be free to copy but we should try to do art appropriating tools and expressions as much as possible. Only if it would be impossible to create something using pirated material, we should be trying to invent stuff ourselves.

Here are my answers to a few questions John Glassie asked me during an interview published at on March 21, 2002:

###You'd like to see copyright eliminated? Why? ###Copyright and intellectual property are some of the most urgent social issues. People don't realize it but we live now in a time where images and ideas are replacing nature: We should be able to move freely inside this nature, and the main reason is that a part of it is inside ourselves. We are made up of logos and pictures, books and music. The images of paintings, once published, belong to everybody and the same is true for the songs by Beatles or the Coca-Cola logo. If I have a dream which is a collage of all that, I should have the right to do whatever I want with them. ### Isn't it more complicated than that? ###I believe that copyright and intellectual property are really black and white issues. It's like slavery: Either you consider that all people should be born free, or you want some of them under the control of others. Information is like people: It has its own life, separated by its creator. Nobody should own his/​her information, at least after he/​she made it public and therefore he/​she exchanged it with fame and other bonuses. ###So I assume Neen is not copyrighted? And I can do anything I want with it? ###Yes, indeed. ###I don't know, suppose I headed an organization of homicidal maniacs or neo-Nazis, and we decided we liked Neen as our new brand name, and we stole it and made huge money off of Neen T-shirts that supported our ability to kill people, wouldn't you want the legal power to stop us from using it? ###Of course not. It's part of the game: Words bring us to an unpredictable version of reality. They are cultural software, not Yellow cabs. ###On one hand, you seem like a fan of commercial culture. On the other, you seem to be against some of the things that drive it. How do you see it? ###There is no such a thing as commercial culture. All culture is commercial and a few commercial objects are culture. I am interested only in those, wherever they come from.


When MAXXI-Rome's Contemporary Art Museum- opened its doors to the public on May 28, 2010, visitors were surprised to find a LARGE WALL in the entrance of the Museum hosting a Piracy Manifesto ! Some of them may have noticed already that similar manifestos were also hanging on most of the streets that were bringing to that glamorous museum- designed by Zaha Hadid, MAXXI had cost to Italy 150 million Euros. I had written the Manifesto in 2009, following my experience with THEPIRATEBAY.ORG crowd. My intention was to perform the manifesto next to the remains of the Berlin Wall in the occasion of “Make Capitalism History”where I was invited to talk about my "Embassy of Piracy"- the theme of the first Internet Pavilion of the Venice Biennale.

The Manifesto

News from a future newspaper: "A man was stopped yesterday at the border of Italy and France, his computer was scanned and pirated material was found, mostly Adobe software and songs by Beatles. The man was arrested at the spot" From a poem to a drug, from an piece of software to a music record and from a film to a book, everything that's famous and profitable, owns much of its economic value to the manipulation of the Multitudes. People haven't asked to know what the Coca-Cola logo looks like, neither have they asked for the melody of "Like a Virgin". Education, Media and Propaganda teach all that the hard way; by either hammering it on our brains or by speculating over our thirst, our hunger, our need for communication and fun and most of all, over our loneliness and despair. In the days of Internet, what can be copied can be also shared. When it comes to content, we can give everything to everyone at once. Around this realisation, a new social class is awakening. This is not a working class but a class of Producers. Producers are pirates and hackers by default; they recycle the images, the sounds and the concepts of the World. Some of it they invent but most they borrow from others. Because information occupies a physical part of our bodies, because it is literary "installed" on our brain and can't be erased at wish, people have the right to own what is projected on them: They have the right to own themselves! Because this is a global World based on inequality and profit, because the contents of a song, a movie or a book are points of advantage in a vicious fight for survival, any global citizen has the moral right to appropriate a digital copy of a song, a movie or a book. Because software is an international language, the secrets of the World are now written in Adobe and Microsoft: we should try hack them. Finally, because poverty is the field of experimentation for all global medicine, no patents should apply. Today, every man with a computer is a Producer and a Pirate. We all live in the Internet, this is our new country, the only territory that makes sense to defend and protect . The land of the Internet is one of information. Men should be able to use this land freely, corporations should pay for use - a company is definitely not a person. Internet is now producing "Internets", situations that exist not only online but also in real space, governed by what is happening online. This is the time for the foundation of an global Movement of Piracy. The freedom of infringing copyright, the freedom of sharing information and drugs: these are our new "Commons". They are Global Rights and as such, Authorities will not allow them without a battle. But this will be a strange battle because this is the first time the Multitudes disrespect the Law instinctively and on a global scale. Today, an army of teenagers is copying, the adults are copying and even the senior citizens, people from the Left and from the Right are copying. Everyone with a computer is copying something; like a novel Goddess Athena, Information wants to break free from the head of Technology and it assists us on our enterprise. Pirates of the Internet Unite! Miltos Manetas, 2009