Friday, October 14, 2005

Gilberto Gil: Minister of Counterculture

Guardian interview with Gilberto Gil, Brazilian Minister of Culture and jazz legend, "surely ... the only serving politician to have completed a 22-gig tour of Europe earlier this year."


  • "The Brazilian government is definitely pro-law. ... But if law doesn't fit reality anymore, law has to be changed. That's not a new thing. That's civilisation as usual."
  • The two worlds of Gil's music and his politics merged most closely when he announced that he would license some of his own songs for free downloading. Time Warner, which owned the licences in question, quickly announced that, actually, he would not. "That showed me how difficult the situation is," he says. "An author is not the owner anymore. He doesn't exercise his rights. His rights are exercised by someone else, and sometimes the two don't coincide. ... I think it's a good development that the minister of culture of Brazil is looking after the interests of a Brazilian artist ... who happens to be himself."
  • A similar mischievousness seems to have explained the government's response when an official accused Microsoft of behaving like a drug dealer in handing out free software to make customers dependent on its products. Microsoft Brazil sued, but the administration simply ignored the case, and the company eventually withdrew it. "But this is not demagoguery ... This is pedagogy."