Monday, October 17, 2005

Public Domainalism

In A Politics of Intellectual Property: Environmentalism For the Net?, James Boyle draws an analogy between the environmentalist movement (a reaction against the rising power of private property and the erosion of the literal "Commons" through pollution, overuse, etc.) and the cyberpunk movement of the Internet (a reaction against the rising power of intellectual property stakeholders and the erosion of the public domain, fair use, patent thickets, etc.).

All analogies have flaws, and this one is not immune (likening real, physical property to ideas is troublesome). But the comparison of the two movements is appropriate and striking. Boyle calls for the formation of a political movement to advance the cause of the public domain, something that has already begun to happen with activities centered around the EFF and a few other groups such as copyfight and freeculture. But the ball has only begun rolling. Get involved.


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