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October 10, 2003

new work on the commons

I have just posted two new articles about the idea of a "commons." Both are defenses of a particular position, which I would summarize as follows: The Internet should be an open arena for creators to make and give away digital material. That is how the Net was born; but this commons ideal is now under serious threat from government censorship and especially from corporate control of the Internet's "architecture" and intellectual property. So far, my argument is completely indebted to work by Lawrence Lessig, James Boyle, David Bollier, and Yochai Benkler, among others. I add the view that we won't ever succeed in protecting the commons through legislation, court decisions, or clever software that circumvents corporate or state control. We need formal associations of citizens who have personal experience with the new digital media and commitment to using it for civic purposes. In "Building the E-Commons," The Good Society, vol. 11, no. 3 (2002), pp. 1-9, I discuss one such association and then move to a general argument for the "associational commons" as our ideal. In "A Movement for the Commons?" The Responsive Community, vol. 13, no. 4 (Fall 2003), pp. 28-39, I start with the legal battle over intellectual property, and again conclude that we need citizens' associations to protect and enrich the commons.

October 10, 2003 12:34 PM | category: Internet and public issues | Comments


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