Kategorie: English

11 Arguments Against so called „Intellectual Property“

Home Sewing is Killing Fashion[Reposted from qummunismus; license: GFDL]

The Terms „Intellectual Property“ (IP) or „Intellectual Property Right“ (IPR) are used to describe rather different legal constructs. Copyright, Patent Law, Trademark Law, etc, etc..

What they have in common is that they cover rights to exclude others from the use of immaterial goods like knowledge and information. Some authors, among them them most prominently Richard M. Stallmann, argue that the term should not be used at all. On the other hand, there are a lot of points that can be brought up against the concept of IP that applies to most or all of the different legal constructs that are commonly lumped under the term „intellectual property“. So it makes sense to use a term that describes all of the laws that exist for the purpose of excluding people from the access to knowledge and information.

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What is profit?

During a recent debate on Oekonux mailing list, Patrick Anderson gave some theses about the relationshp between profit and competition. He wrote:

Profit disappears when Competition is Perfect, but Competition is usually not Perfect, so Profit is usually not Zero.

Profit and Competition are inversely related, while Profit and Monopoly are directly related. A Perfect Monopoly would enjoy Infinite Profit, right?

I found, that these theses are wrong, because they base on on the assumption, that profit raise from the circulation of commodities. Profit is not explainable as a difference of prices. But where else did the profit come from? What is profit at all?

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Hiddinghausen talks, part 3: Pooling effort where free sharing fails

In HiddinghausenMy last talk in Hiddinghausen was a little talk given as a complement to the Commons Network idea. The Commons Network is based on the idea of free and unconditional sharing—that others share with you goods they have or produce because they like to do so (and the other way around). This leaves, inevitable, the question: what if there is nobody who likes to share what you need (and you can’t produce it for yourself)? What if people need some additional incentives to produce what you would like to have?

I have already given an answer to that question in my peerconomy book: people can join an explicit agreement to help each other to produce the goods each of them likes to have, sharing the necessary effort (the tasks to do) in some pre-agreed manner. The General Luxury Production System (GLuPS) is a slightly updated version of that idea. The word “luxury” in the name is meant to express the hope that the Commons Network will become sufficiently flexible and versatile to satisfy—at least—all of people’s essential needs (the “8 Essentials” discussed in my UPset talk).

This optimistic assumption stems from the generalization of Eben Moglen’s dictum

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Life Despite Capitalism – Building Radical Economies

In the beginning of November 2008, the Escanda collective along with others will be hosting a four-day radical economics gathering. We will analyse why the current economic system has failed and we will learn from the possibilities and experiences of those working despite capitalism to build autonomous networks of production and circulation from a basis of sustainability, self organization, solidarity, respect and social/environmental justice.

The gathering will focus both on the theory of radical economics and the practice: working towards creating and building radical economies within and between our own movements and collectives.

We will provide a space for networking and there will be our very own radical marketplace for participants to bring, exchange, barter and give away goods as well as services etc. [reposted]

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Hiddinghausen talks, part 2: A network for sharing and shared production

Discussion in HiddinghausenFree design is an important building block for spreading peer production, but it is not enough. A second topic discussed in Hiddinghausen was therefore how to facilitate and encourage the sharing and the shared production of physical goods and of services in all areas of life. My proposal here is called the Commons Network.

The Commons Network is inspired by the practices of free software and free content projects, where people do things they like to do (such as writing software or texts) and, by doing so, produce goods that are useful for others; but also by the approach of wireless community networks where the participants jointly build a free network, allowing everyone to transfer data through the free network or to access the Internet through it. Community networks are interesting because they organize the free sharing of limited resources that cannot just be copied freely (bandwidth and Internet access). And some community networks are interesting in that they’re self-organizing and self-healing: whenever nodes (participating computers) join or leave such a mesh network, it reconfigures itself to ensure that all data still finds the best route through the network.

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Critique of Peerconomy Model

Stefan Merten wrote a harsh critique of the Peer-Economy Model Christian has developed. Due to the text being very long, I only re-post the headlines giving a good overview of the direction of the critique. I find it very useful, that Stefan explained his critique in this long text, although I did not share his views. I hope, that I will find the time to discover the shortcuts of the critique. But maybe others will do this too.

The headlines:

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Hiddinghausen talks, part 1: An integrated collection of free design

Peer-Ökonomie-Wochenende in Hiddinghausen

As announced in the German part of this blog, a weekend workshop on peer production and the peer economy took place during the last weekend (29-31 August) in the nice little town of Hiddinghausen in the German Ruhr Area. A detailed three-part report on the workshop, which was a fully self-organized event with about 30 participants, is available in German. The first part of the workshop was dedicated to my proposal of how to generalize the principles and practices of commons-based peer production into a full-fledged peer economy; in the second part we discussed ways of growing the range and versatility of peer production that are possible here and now. For this English-language documentation of the event, I’ll focus on this second part.

As a first initiative for facilitating the peer production of physical goods and services, I proposed to set up a „Universal Production Set“ (UPset): an integrated collection of free or open design. The goal of the UPset would be to provide designs, blueprints, and other production know-how for all areas of life, but with a a special focus on things that are essential for people to live a good life.

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The Open Source World in 2020

Stefan Merten, founder of Oekonux project, is going to give a presentation at FrOSCon — the Free and Open Source Conference in Sankt Augustin, Germany, 23th – 24th of august. The presentation titled »The (Open Source) World in 2020 — A History Based Look into the Future« is already online. Stefan’s style is to cut down complex analysis to handy statements, where he draws his conclusions from.

Here are the conclusions giving a good overview of the talk:

  • 1984 — Very beginnings may be hard to notice
  • 1996 — Good ideas grow because they are useful to people
  • 2008 — Basic principles are strong enough to spread out
  • First basic principle: Selbstentfaltung — Something what individual and society wants
  • Second basic principle: Openness — Technology may make way for new societal phenomenons
  • A new mode of production emerges — Something wrong with classic economy 😉
  • Power from new principles — Oekonux thesis: New mode of production => new society
  • Five-step model of development — There is hope!
  • Capitalism as a successful germ form: 200 years back — A new mode of production as a germ form can take over
  • A peek into the future — Vertical expansion is quite sure — Horizontal expansion depends on many aspects
  • Deeper embedding — More won’t happen in 12 years

Please read the details (aka bullet points).

Conclusion of the conclusions of the bullet point list: Qualitatively, in 2020 we have the same situation as in 2008.

Payment for peer production

[Deutsche Übersetzung unten – german translation below]

This is a repost from Michel Bauwens in P2P-Foundation Blog. Michel writes:

In a recent discussion on Oekonux, I came up with the following gradation of payment vs. voluntary contributions in peer production, which echoes the distinction made by Oekonux between singly-free software (a commons as output, but input is wage labour); and doubly-free software (commons output and participatory input).

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