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Introduction to the philosophy of free culture


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A brief philosophical tour of copyright and free culture issues, using some practical examples and the ideas of Kant, Locke and Marx as a guide.

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Introduction to the philosophy of free culture

  1. 1. The philosophy of intellectual property and free culture Tom Chance Speaker on Intellectual Property, Green Party Open Source City, Liverpool, 20th June 2008    
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  3. 3. What's it all about? Property Licenses Working spaces Working practices Aesthetic, political or functional goals    
  4. 4. It's mostly about... property Private – 'I own x, it's mine' Communal – 'we use x to achieve y' Common - 'x belongs to us all / nobody'    
  5. 5. Private property Family of rights might include right to: • Possess • Use • Manage • Derive income • Gain capital value • Security from expropriation • Transmission • Lack of term on rights • Positive duties    
  6. 6. Collective property    
  7. 7. Common property Negative – free for expropriation Positive – belonging to the entire community    
  8. 8. Copyright is... Private property with collectivist exceptions  Fair use / dealing  Various other goal-oriented exceptions  Limited terms leading to a commons    
  9. 9. Copyleft is... Positive intellectual common enforced by subverting private property rights    
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  11. 11. Kant's categorical imperative ”Act only according to that maxim whereby you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law.” - Immanuel Kant, Grounding for the Metaphysics of Morals    
  12. 12. Stallman's categorical imperative ”copyleft is the rule that when redistributing the program, you cannot add restrictions to deny other people the central freedoms [to use, study, share and modify software]” - Richard Stallman, The Free Software Definition    
  13. 13. Myers' categorical imperative ”Creators who reserve a right of creative fiat may see that same right exercised against them, and they will appreciate it much less in those circumstances. This is a permission culture, not a free culture.” - Rob Myers, Why the NC permission culture simply doesn't work    
  14. 14. The Big Licensing Debate Copyleft: GNU GPL, CC BY-SA, etc. Libertarian: BSD, CC BY, etc. Permission culture: CC BY-NC-SA, etc. Teleological: Hacktivismo Enhanced-Source Software License Agreement    
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  16. 16. Locke – a necessary right? ”Labour is the unquestionable property of the labourer” and ”the common is of no use... there must of necessity be a means to appropriate them some way or anothr before they can be of any use” - John Locke, Two Treatises of Government    
  17. 17. Locke – a personality right? ”every man has Property in his own Person. Thus no Body has any Right but himself.” and We have ”the utmost property” in that which we create - John Locke, Two Treatises of Government    
  18. 18. Locke – a fair or just right? ”God gave the world to the use of the industrious and rational, (and labour was to be his title to it;) not to the fancy or covetousness of the quarrelsome and contentious” - John Locke, Two Treatises of Government    
  19. 19. Locke – beneficial use ”the end of Law is not to abolish or restrain, but to preserve and enlarge Freedom” - John Locke, Two Treatises of Government    
  20. 20. Eric Raymond – beneficial use ”Lockean property customs arise only where the expected return from the resource exceeds the expected cost of defending it” - Eric Raymond, Homesteading the Noosphere    
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  22. 22. Marx – labour and alienation ”The object produced by labour now stands opposed to it as an alien being, as a power independent of the producer” - Karl Marx, Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts    
  23. 23. Feenberg – labour and alienation ”The worker becomes a mere appendage to an already existing material condition of production... [and] suffers a knowledge deficit [as well as a] solidarity deficit” - Andrew Feenberg, Critical theory of technology    
  24. 24. Berry – labour and alienation ”Free software is not directly linked to necessity, and is in many ways similar to the creation of an artist... to create free culture is to contribute toward culture rather than consume (i.e. destroy it)” - David Berry, Free as in “free speech” or free as in “free labour”?    
  25. 25. Copyleft is... Positive intellectual common enforced by subverting private property rights to  Defend our right to a public good, or  Maximise benefits to society, or  Promote unalienated labour and better social relations    
  26. 26. Ta Slides, text, my thesis, short paper etc.