Property is mean - intellectual or not - London - 27. April

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wineandcheese's picture
Joined: 26-10-09
Apr 16 2012 13:46
Property is mean - intellectual or not - London - 27. April

The free software movement (Richard Stallman, the GNU Project, the Free Software Foundation, etc.) claims that intellectual property is a bit of a contradiction in terms. They argue that information wants to be free and restricting use, distribution or development of digital goods such as software is a violation of its purposes and principles.

As these "goods" can be copied almost infinitely often one might ask: why constrain access to these goods that are already virtually a common good? But then, one also has to ask: what is it about material wealth that makes it right, without alternative even, to treat it as private property? Most proponents of open-source software and proponents of intellectual property rights reforms distinguish between "intellectual property law" and your run-of-the-mill property law; they oppose the former but appreciate the latter. On the contrary, we want to ask how well founded is the proclaimed distinction between "intellectual" and material property?

When free software was first devised against the emerging software industry it was thought of as a "legal hack": by claiming one's ownership of software one could ensure it stayed freely available and could not be appropriated. Nowadays Lawrence Lessig and the Creative Commons movement encourage everyone to act in the same spirit: musicians, authors, snapshot photographers and bloggers are all encouraged to claim copyright on their work and to specify exactly what someone is (not) allowed to do with their work. Somewhere a "legal hack" became the means to establish a more rigid copyright regime. We want to discuss whether this development is inherent in attempts to hack the law.

Finally, we want to discuss how people make money with open-source software. The curiosity of it is, that it seems to combine the idea of giving away stuff for free with successful business models. How does this work?


Friday, 27. April 2012, 7pm

Unit 3j, Omega Works 167 Hermitage Rd, N4 1LZ London, United Kingdom
twitter: @limazululondon

See also

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This announcement on Junge Linke's website: