June 08, 2004

"The Information Commons" - report from Free Expression Policy Project

[This deserves more distribution that it's getting so far]

See http://www.fepproject.org/policyreports/infocommons.preview.html and http://www.brennancenter.org/presscenter/releases_2004/pressrelease_2004_0608b.html

"The Information Commons", [by Nancy Kranich], just published by the Free Expression Policy Project at the Brennan Center for Justice, is a groundbreaking report that links the vitality of 21st century democracy to the creation of online communities dedicated to producing and sharing information. A response to "digital rights management," media consolidation, and growing imbalance in the copyright system, the information commons emphasizes open access, sharing, collaboration, and communal management. The report gives an overview of the problem of enclosure, explains how theories of the commons have been adapted to the information age, and describes dozens of flourishing information communities. For the full report, see: http://www.fepproject.org/policyreports/InformationCommons.pdf or http://www.fepproject.org/policyreports/infocommons.contentsexsum.html

[Disclaimer: They're organizational friends, have referenced me in the past, and conceivably I might write something for them for (minimal) pay)]

By Seth Finkelstein | posted in copyblight | on June 08, 2004 11:59 PM (Infothought permalink) | Followups
Seth Finkelstein's Infothought blog (Wikipedia, Google, censorware, and an inside view of net-politics) - Syndicate site (subscribe, RSS)

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I ask this not to flame, but as a genuine philosophical inquiry. Isn't it contrary to the spirit of the commons, to get paid (even minimally) for your writing? I think of the commons as an area where everyone contributes freely, out of the goodness of their hearts. And as a result, the products and information are equally freely available, which works since they didn't cost anything to produce. But if people are being paid to put stuff into the commons, won't people have to be charged to use it?

My concern is that this whole thing is a veiled attempt to promote public financing of information production, in effect "socialized content". The only way I can see for people to be paid to produce, while no one has to pay to take, is if the producers are paid by the government, which taxes users to acquire the necessary funds. Am I reading too much into this, and having a knee jerk libertarian reaction? Or do commons advocates agree that government financing is the most sensible approach, as an ultimate goal?

Posted by: Cypherpunk at June 9, 2004 03:01 PM