the new open source economics
on separating fashion from deep change… from 1835 to 1850 – 10,000 to 2.5 million 15 yrs.. that’s the change that is being inverted by the net
for 150 yrs we’ve had an info economy.. it’s just been industrial.. but market based – govt owned..
now..june 2002 – supercomputers had a bombshell – fastest supercomputer… then seti@home creates massive super computer.. radical way in way info is capitalized.. ownership is radically distributed
5 min – diff – now info is in hands of public.. but said 600 mill to 1 billion – that’s 1/7th at best..
7 min – mars clickworkers… 85000 people used to generate mapping… opendirectory project – 60000..
10 min – google outsourcing what’s relevant, ie: via page rank
13 min – property is one mechanism of organization – but it’s not the only one
money is one mechanism of motivation..
Yochai Benkler (born 1964) is an Israeli-American professor of Law and an author. Since 2007, he has been the Berkman Professor of Entrepreneurial Legal Studies at Harvard Law School. He is also a faculty co-director of theBerkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University.
Benkler’s research focuses on commons-based approaches to managing resources in networked environments. He coined the term ‘commons-based peer production‘ to describe collaborative efforts based on sharing information, such as free and open source software and Wikipedia. He also uses the term ‘networked information economy’ to describe a “system of production, distribution, and consumption of information goods characterized by decentralized individual action carried out through widely distributed, nonmarket means that do not depend on market strategies.”
From 1984 to 1987, Benkler was a member and treasurer of the Kibbutz Shizafon. He received his LL.B. fromTel-Aviv University in 1991 and J.D. from Harvard Law School in 1994. He worked at the law firm Ropes & Grayfrom 1994–1995. He clerked for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen G. Breyer from 1995 to 1996.
He was a professor at New York University School of Law from 1996 to 2003, and visited at Yale Law School and Harvard Law School (during 2002–2003), before joining the Yale Law School faculty in 2003. In 2007, Benkler joined Harvard Law School, where he teaches and is a faculty co-director of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society. Benkler is on the advisory board of the Sunlight Foundation. In 2011, his research led him to receive the $100,000 Ford Foundation Social Change Visionaries Award.
notes/highlights (published in 2006 – says it took 10 yrs to write – so.. 1996-2006 ish):
which led me to think quite fundamentally about the role of property and economic organization in the construction of human free- dom.
I met Larry Lessig for (almost) the first time in 1998. By the end of a two-hour conversation, we had formed a friendship and intellectual conversation that has been central to my work ever since.
p14 – This new free- dom holds great practical promise: as a dimension of individual freedom; as a platform for better democratic participation; as a medium to foster a more critical and self-reflective culture; and, in an increasingly information- dependent global economy, as a mechanism to achieve improvements in human development everywhere.
p15 – What char- acterizes the networked information economy is that decentralized individual action—specifically, new and important cooperative and coordinate action carried out through radically distributed, nonmarket mechanisms that do not depend on proprietary strategies—plays a much greater role than it did, or could have, in the industrial information economy. The catalyst for this change is the happenstance of the fabrication technology of computation, and its ripple effects throughout the technologies of communication and storage.
p19 – Because the presence and importance of nonmarket production has be- come so counterintuitive to people living in market-based economies at the end of the twentieth century, part I of this volume is fairly detailed and technical; overcoming what we intuitively “know” requires disciplined anal- ysis.
The emergence of precisely this possibility and practice lies at the very heart of my claims about the ways in which liberal commitments are translated into lived experiences in the networked environment, and forms the factual foundation of the political-theoretical and the institutional-legal discussion that occupies the remainder of the book.
p20 – the core political values of liberal societies—individual freedom, a more gen- uinely participatory political system, a critical culture, and social justice. These values provide the vectors of political morality along which the shape and dimensions of any liberal society can be plotted.
vectors ness.. Wark
Market-based, proprietary pro- duction has often seemed simply too productive to tinker with. The emer- gence of the networked information economy promises to expand the ho- rizons of the feasible in political imagination.
The networked information economy improves the practical capacities of individuals along three dimensions: (1) it improves their capacity to do more for and by themselves; (2) it enhances their capacity to do more in loose commonality with others, without being constrained to organize their rela- tionship through a price system or in traditional hierarchical models of social and economic organization; and (3) it improves the capacity of individuals to do more in formal organizations that operate outside the market sphere.
p21 – The first-generation critique of the democratizing effect of the In- ternet was based on various implications of the problem of information overload, or the Babel objection. According to the Babel objection, when everyone can speak, no one can be heard, and we devolve either to a ca- cophony or to the reemergence of money as the distinguishing factor be- tween statements that are heard and those that wallow in obscurity. The second-generation critique was that the Internet is not as decentralized as we thought in the 1990s. The emerging patterns of Internet use show that very few sites capture an exceedingly large amount of attention, and millions of sites go unnoticed.
p25 – Because of the redundancy of clusters and links, and because many clusters are based on mutual interest, not on capital investment, it is more difficult to buy attention on the Internet than it is in mass media outlets, and harder still to use money to squelch an opposing view.
p27 – I sug- gest that the networked information environment offers us a more attractive cultural production system in two distinct ways: (1) it makes culture more transparent, and (2) it makes culture more malleable. Together, these mean that we are seeing the emergence of a new folk culture—a practice that has been largely suppressed in the industrial era of cultural production—where many more of us participate actively in making cultural moves and finding meaning in the world around us.
These practices make their practitioners better “readers” of their own culture and more self-reflective and critical of the culture they occupy, thereby enabling them to become more self- reflective participants in conversations within that culture.
p35 – This is not to say that property is in some sense inherently bad.
p1 networked info economy:
Because of these economic characteristics, the mass-media model of information and cultural production and transmission became the dominant form of public communication in the twentieth cen- tury.
The Internet presents the possibility of a radical reversal of this long trend.
This basic change in the material conditions of information and cultural production and distribution have substantial effects on how we come to know the world we occupy and the alternative courses of action open to us as individuals and as social actors.
Technology alone does not, however, determine social structure. The in- troduction of print in China and Korea did not induce the kind of profound religious and political reformation that followed the printed Bible and dis- putations in Europe. But technology is not irrelevant, either.
Technology creates feasibility spaces for social practice.
The interaction between these technological-economic feasibility spaces, and the social responses to these changes—both in terms of institutional changes, like law and regulation, and in terms of changing social practices—define the qualities of a period.
The way life is actually lived by people..
within a given set of interlocking technological, economic, institutional, and social practices is what makes a society attractive or unattractive,
.. (is) what renders its practices laudable or lamentable.
revolution of everyday life
Two fundamental facts have changed in the economic ecology in which the industrial information enterprises have arisen. First, the basic output that has become dominant in the most advanced economies is human meaning and communication.
Second, the basic physical capital necessary to express and communicate human meaning is the connected personal computer. The core functionalities of processing, storage, and communications are widely owned throughout the population of users. Together, these changes desta- bilize the industrial stage of the information economy. Both the capacity to make meaning—to encode and decode humanly meaningful statements— and the capacity to communicate one’s meaning around the world, are held by, or readily available to, at least many hundreds of millions of users around the globe.
Any person who has information can connect with any other person who wants it, and anyone who wants to make it mean something in some context, can do so. The high capital costs that were a prerequisite to gathering, working, and communicating information, knowledge, and cul- ture, have now been widely distributed in the society.
? still not true.. that’s the problem.. access/time/et al
Eisenstein carefully documented how print loosened the power of the church over information and knowledge production in Europe, and enabled, particularly in the Protestant North, the emergence of early modern capitalist enterprises in the form of print shops. These printers were able to use their market revenues to become independent of the church or the princes, as copyists never were, and to form the eco- nomic and social basis of a liberal, market-based freedom of thought and communication. Over the past century and a half, these early printers turned into the commercial mass media: A particular type of market-based produc- tion—concentrated, largely homogenous, and highly commercialized—that came to dominate our information environment by the end of the twentieth century. On the background of that dominant role, the possibility that a radically different form of information production will emerge—decentral- ized; socially, no less than commercially, driven; and as diverse as human thought itself—offers the promise of a deep change in how we see the world
This part of the book is dedicated to explaining the technological-economic transformation that is making these practices possible. Not because econom- ics drives all; not because technology determines the way society or com- munication go; but because it is the technological shock, combined with the economic sustainability of the emerging social practices, that creates the new set of social and political opportunities that are the subject of this book.
When economists speak of information, they usually say that it is “nonrival.” We consider a good to be nonrival when its consumption by one person does not make it any less available for consumption by another. Once such a good is produced, no more social resources need be invested in creating more of it to satisfy the next consumer. Apples are rival. If I eat this apple, you cannot eat it. If you nonetheless want to eat an apple, more resources (trees, labor) need to be diverted from, say, building chairs, to growing apples, to satisfy you. The social cost of your consuming the second apple is the cost of not using the resources needed to grow the second apple (the wood from the tree) in their next best use. In other words, it is the cost to society of not having the additional chairs that could have been made from the tree. Information is nonrival. Once a scientist has established a fact, or once Tolstoy has written War and Peace, neither the scientist nor Tolstoy need spend a single second on producing additional War and Peace manu- scripts or studies for the one-hundredth, one-thousandth, or one-millionth user of what they wrote. The physical paper for the book or journal costs something, but the information itself need only be created once. Economists call such goods “public” because a market will not produce them if priced at their marginal cost—zero.
As Kenneth Arrow put it in 1962, “precisely to the extent that [property] is effective, there is un- derutilization of the information.”
In order to harness the efforts of individuals and firms that want to make money, we are willing to trade off some static inefficiency to achieve dynamic efficiency. That is, we are willing to have some inefficient lack of access to information every day, in exchange for getting more people involved in information production over time.
Nonrivalry, moreover, is not the only quirky characteristic of information production as an economic phenomenon. The other crucial quirkiness is that information is both input and output of its own production process. In order to write today’s academic or news article, I need access to yesterday’s articles and reports. In order to write today’s novel, movie, or song, I need to use and rework existing cultural forms, such as story lines and twists. This characteristic is known to economists as the “on the shoulders of giants”
never just me ness
If we pass a law that regulates information production too strictly, allowing its beneficiaries to impose prices that are too high on today’s innovators, then we will have not only too little con- sumption of information today, but also too little production of new infor- mation for tomorrow.
not to mention… is not previous producer standing on giants.. no one is an exclusive producer.. patents/copyright.. never true.. no?
Increasing patent protection, both in devel- oping nations that are net importers of existing technology and science, and in developed nations that already have a degree of patent protection, and therefore some nontrivial protection for inventors, increases the costs that current innovators have to pay on existing knowledge more than it increases their ability to appropriate the value of their own contributions. When one cuts through the rent-seeking politics of intellectual property lobbies like the pharmaceutical companies or Hollywood and the recording industry; when one overcomes the honestly erroneous, but nonetheless conscience-soothing beliefs of lawyers who defend the copyright and patent-dependent industries and the judges they later become, the reality of both theory and empirics in the economics of intellectual property is that both in theory and as far as empirical evidence shows, there is remarkably little support in economics for regulating information, knowledge, and cultural production through the tools of intellectual property law.
rest of ch 2 heavy on assumption w/in today’s society, ie: money..
It suggests that the networked environment makes possible a new modality of organ- izing production: radically decentralized, collaborative, and nonproprietary; based on sharing resources and outputs among widely distributed, loosely connected individuals who cooperate with each other without relying on either market signals or managerial commands. This is what I call “commons-based peer production.”
“Commons” refers to a particular institutional form of structuring the rights to access, use, and control resources. It is the opposite of “property” in the following sense: With property, law determines one particular person who has the authority to decide how the resource will be used.
It suggests that the networked environment makes possible a new modality of organ- izing production: radically decentralized, collaborative, and nonproprietary; based on sharing resources and outputs among widely distributed, loosely connected individuals who cooperate with each other without relying on either market signals or managerial commands. This is what I call “commons-based peer production.”
title of chapter – peer production & sharing
“Commons” refers to a particular institutional form of structuring the rights to access, use, and control resources. It is the opposite of “property” in the following sense: With property, law determines one particular person who has the authority to decide how the resource will be used.
This latter characteristic— that commons leave individuals free to make their own choices with regard to resources managed as a commons—is at the foundation of the freedom they make possible.
A substantial literature in the past twenty years, typified, for example, by Charles Sabel’s work, has focused on the ways in which firms have tried to overcome the rigidities of managerial pyramids by decentralizing learning, planning, and execution of the firm’s functions in the hands of employees or teams. The most pervasive mode of “decentralization,” however, is the ideal market.
way in which firms… what if there are no firms…?
This requires anyone who modifies software and distributes the modified version to license it under the same free terms as the original software. While there have been many arguments about how widely the provisions that pre- vent downstream appropriation should be used, the practical adoption pat- terns have been dominated by forms of licensing that prevent anyone from exclusively appropriating the contributions or the joint product. More than 85 percent of active free software projects include some version of the GPL or similarly structured license.
p80 et al
seems we could leap frog over all of this.. ie: getting our shell back on so that we aren’t obliged to assume all pre-existing verbiage/practices.. ie: example given of 3 (one produces, one sees bug, one fixes) working w/in copyleft or whatever license.. when that’s just what humans do when set free.. why license it.. this is us perpetuating things we don’t like/resonate with… simply because they are already there… no?
While it is possible to break an act of com- munication into finer-grained subcomponents, largely we see three distinct functions involved in the process. First, there is an initial utterance of a humanly meaningful statement. Writing an article or drawing a picture, whether done by a professional or an amateur, whether high quality or low, is such an action. Second, there is a separate function of mapping the initial utterances on a knowledge map. In particular, an utterance must be under- stood as “relevant” in some sense, and “credible.” Relevance is a subjective question of mapping an utterance on the conceptual map of a given user seeking information for a particular purpose defined by that individual. Credibility is a question of quality by some objective measure that the in- dividual adopts as appropriate for purposes of evaluating a given utterance. The distinction between the two is somewhat artificial, however, because very often the utility of a piece of information will depend on a combined valuation of its credibility and relevance…..Fi- nally, there is the function of distribution, or how one takes an utterance produced by one person and distributes it to other people who find it cred- ible and relevant.
The clickworkers project was a particularly clear example of how a com- plex professional task that requires a number of highly trained individuals on full-time salaries can be reorganized so as to be performed by tens of thousands of volunteers in increments so minute that the tasks could be performed on a much lower budget. …What the NASA scientists running this experiment had tapped into was a vast pool of five- minute increments of human judgment, applied with motivation to partic- ipate in a task unrelated to “making a living.”
Indeed, corrections were so rapid that vandalism acts and their corrections did not even appear on a mechanically generated image of the abortion definition as it changed over time.10 What is perhaps surprising is that this success occurs not in a tightly knit community with many social relations to reinforce the sense of common purpose and the social norms embodying it, but in a large and geographically dispersed group of otherwise unrelated participants.
then 2nd life..
then amazon – for accreditation and relevance
thru p 91 et al – having a hard time seeing accreditation techniques as useful.. like Ed.. just getting us to be people pleasers.. as both what we comment/refer on/about and how we ourselves act..
Moving through the answers to these questions, it becomes clear that the diverse and complex patterns of behavior observed on the Internet, from Viking ship hobbyists to the developers of the GNU/ Linux operating system, are perfectly consistent with much of our contemporary understanding of human economic behavior. We need to assume no fundamental change in the nature of humanity;
We need to assume no fundamental change in the nature of humanity;
p104 – same sentence from above
we need not declare the end of economics as we know it. We merely need to see that the material conditions of production in the networked infor- mation economy have changed in ways that increase the relative salience of social sharing and exchange as a modality of economic production. That is, behaviors and motivation patterns familiar to us from social relations gen- erally continue to cohere in their own patterns. What has changed is that now these patterns of behavior have become effective beyond the domains of building social relations of mutual interest and fulfilling our emotional and psychological needs of companionship and mutual recognition. They have come to play a substantial role as modes of motivating, informing, and organizing productive behavior at the very core of the information economy. And it is this increasing role as a modality of information production that ripples through the rest this book. It is the feasibility of producing infor- mation, knowledge, and culture through social, rather than market and pro- prietary relations—through cooperative peer production and coordinate in- dividual action—that creates the opportunities for greater autonomous action, a more critical culture, a more discursively engaged and better in- formed republic, and perhaps a more equitable global community.p106
Intuitively, this model relies on there being a culturally contingent notion of what one “ought” to do if one is a well- adjusted human being and member of a decent society. Being offered money to do something you know you “ought” to do, and that self-respecting members of society usually in fact do, implies that the person offering the money believes that you are not a well-adjusted human being or an equally respectable member of society. This causes the person offered the money either to believe the offerer, and thereby lose self-esteem and reduce effort, or to resent him and resist the offer.
then cites examples of day care center ness.. including day care centers ie (top 107)
reading thru all this doesn’t feel right…
It is important to see, though, that there is nothing intrinsic about any given “thing” or behavior that makes it fall into one or another of these categories. The categories are culturally contingent and cross-culturally diverse. What matters for our pur- poses here, though, is only the realization that for any given culture, there will be some acts that a person would prefer to perform not for money, but for social standing, recognition, and probably, ultimately, instrumental value obtainable only if that person has performed the action through a social, rather than a market, transaction.
The presence of money in sports or entertainment reduced the social psychological gains from performance in late-nineteenth-century Victorian England, at least for mem- bers of the middle and upper classes. This is reflected in the long-standing insistence on the “amateur” status of the Olympics, or the status of “actors” in the Victorian society. This has changed dramatically more than a century later, where athletes’ and popular entertainers’ social standing is practically measured in the millions of dollars their performances can command.
The relative relationships of money and social-psychological rewards are, then, dependent on culture and context.
? – is that culture .. meaning – is that really people.. or people manufactured.. i don’t know. sports to me is a huge scream of what we’re doing to ourselves. crazy we are.
What needs to be understood now, however, is under what conditions these many and diverse social actions can turn into an important modality of economic production. When can all these acts, distinct from our desire for money and motivated by social and psychological needs, be mobilized, di- rected, and made effective in ways that we recognize as economically valu- able?
what does that even mean… economically valuable.. perhaps that concept is what’s messing with the times we think we need money et al
Now, having the core inputs of information production ubiquitously dis- tributed in society is a core enabling fact, but it alone cannot assure that social production will become economically significant. Children and teen- agers, retirees, and very rich individuals can spend most of their lives so- cializing or volunteering; most other people cannot. While creative capacity and judgment are universally distributed in a population, available time and attention are not, and human creative capacity cannot be fully dedicated to nonmarket, nonproprietary production all the time. Someone needs to work for money, at least some of the time, to pay the rent and put food on the table.
whoa. whoa. let’s question that. (on someone needing to work for money)
“Modularity” is a property of a project that describes the extent to which it can be broken down into smaller components, or modules, that can be independently produced before they are assembled into a whole.
“Granularity” refers to the size of the modules, in terms of the time and effort that an individual must invest in producing them.
A successful large-scale peer-production project must therefore have a predominate portion of its modules be relatively fine- grained.
However, if we were to step back and look at the entire phenomenon of Web-based publication from a bird’s-eye view, we would see that the archi- tecture of the World Wide Web, in particular the persistence of personal Web pages and blogs and their self-contained, technical independence of each other, give the Web as a whole the characteristics of modularity and variable but fine-grained granularity.
Together, they form a vast almanac, trivia trove, and news and commentary facility, to name but a few, produced by millions of people at their leisure—whenever they can or want to, about whatever they want.
The independence of Web sites is what marks their major difference from more organized peer-production processes, where contributions are marked not by their independence but by their interdependence.
The Web as a whole requires no formal structure of cooperation. As an “information good” or medium, it emerges as a pattern out of coordinate coexistence of millions of entirely independent acts.
This neces- sity for cooperation requires peer-production processes to adopt more en- gaged strategies for assuring that everyone who participates is doing so in good faith, competently, and in ways that do not undermine the whole, and weeding out those would-be participants who are not.
For purposes of analyzing the political values that are the concern of most of this book, all that is necessary is that we accept that peer production in particular, and nonmarket information production and exchange in general, are sustainable in the networked information economy. Most of the remain- der of the book seeks to evaluate why, and to what extent, the presence of a substantial nonmarket, commons-based sector in the information produc- tion system is desirable from the perspective of various aspects of freedom and justice.
not just info econ… commons of all areas..
It is sufficient that the policy is economically and socially sustainable on its own bottom—in other words, that it does not require constant subsidization at the expense of some other area excluded from the analysis. It is nonetheless worthwhile spending a few pages explaining why, and under what conditions, commons-based peer production, and social production more generally, are not only sustainable but actually efficient ways of organizing information production.
The two scarce resources are: first, human creativity, time, and attention; and second, the computation and communications resources used in infor- mation production and exchange. In both cases, the primary reason to choose among proprietary and nonproprietary strategies, between market- based systems—be they direct market exchange or firm-based hierarchical production—and social systems, are the comparative transaction costs of each, and the extent to which these transaction costs either outweigh the benefits of working through each system, or cause the system to distort the information it generates so as to systematically misallocate resources.
Instead, we develop a set of neighborly social relations, rather than a firm-based organization, to deal with shortfalls during periods when it would be too costly to assure a steady flow of paper from the market—for example, late in the evening, on a weekend, or in a sparsely populated area.
or neighbor\hood govt ness.. all the time
A market transaction, in order to be efficient, must be clearly demarcated as to what it includes, so that it can be priced efficiently. That price must then be paid in equally crisply delineated currency. Even if a transaction initially may be declared to involve sale of “an amount reasonably required to produce the required output,” for a “customary” price, at some point what was provided and what is owed must be crystallized and fixed for a formal exchange. The crispness is a functional requirement of the price sys- tem. It derives from the precision and formality of the medium of exchange—currency—and the ambition to provide refined representations of the comparative value of marginal decisions through denomination in an exchange medium that represents these incremental value differences. Simi- larly, managerial hierarchies require a crisp definition of who should be doing what, when, and how, in order to permit the planning and coordination process to be effective.
Social exchange, on the other hand, does not require the same degree of crispness at the margin. As Maurice Godelier put it in The Enigma of the Gift, “the mark of the gift between close friends and relatives . . . is not the absence of obligations, it is the absence of ‘calculation.’ ”9
does not obligation go alongside with calculation..? at least how we define/live it today. thinking of indigenous that don’t say thank you for food.. et al..
Across many cultures, generosity is understood as imposing a debt of obli- gation; but none of the precise amount of value given, the precise nature of the debt to be repaid, or the date of repayment need necessarily be specified. Actions enter into a cloud of goodwill or membership, out of which each agent can understand him- or herself as being entitled to a certain flow of dependencies or benefits in exchange for continued cooperative behavior.
oy. the death of us.. ness
Pricing therefore continues to be a function of relatively crude information about the actual variability among people.
immensely diverse associations with, idiosyncratic insights into, and di- vergent utilization of existing information and cultural inputs at different times and in different contexts. Human creativity is therefore very difficult to standardize and specify in the contracts necessary for either market-cleared or hierarchically organized production. As the weight of human intellectual effort increases in the overall mix of inputs into a given production process, an organization model that does not require contractual specification of the individual effort required to participate in a collective enterprise, and which allows individuals to self-identify for tasks, will be better at gathering and utilizing information about who should be doing what than a system that does require such specification.
self talk as data ness
Personal computers, wireless transceivers, and Internet connections are “shareable goods.” The basic intuition behind the concept of shareable goods is simple. There are goods that are “lumpy”: given a state of technology, they can only be produced in certain discrete bundles that offer discontin- uous amounts of functionality or capacity. In order to have any ability to run a computation, for example, a consumer must buy a computer processor. These, in turn, only come in discrete units with a certain speed or capacity.
the economics of microchip fab- rication and of network connections over the past thirty years, followed by storage technology, have changed that. ….So computation and storage today come in dis- crete, lumpy units. You can decide to buy a faster or slower chip, or a larger or smaller hard drive, but once you buy them, you have the capacity of these machines at your disposal, whether you need it or not.
Lumpy goods can, in turn, be fine-, medium-, or large-grained. A large- grained good is one that is so expensive it can only be used by aggregating demand for it. Industrial capital equipment, like a steam engine, is of this type. Fine-grained goods are of a granularity that allows consumers to buy precisely as much of the goods needed for the amount of capacity they require. Medium-grained goods are small enough for an individual to justify buying for her own use, given their price and her willingness and ability to pay for the functionality she plans to use. A personal computer is a medium- grained lumpy good in the advanced economies and among the more well-to-do in poorer countries, but is a large-grained capital good for most people in poor countries. If, given the price of such a good and the wealth of a society, a large number of individuals buy and use such medium-grained lumpy goods, that society will have a large amount of excess capacity “out there,” in the hands of individuals. Because these machines are put into service to serve the needs of individuals, their excess capacity is available for these individuals to use as they wish—for their own uses, to sell to others, or to share with others. …. If they were so finely grained in their capacity that there would be nothing left to share, again, sharing would be harder to sustain. The fact that they are both relatively inexpensive and have excess capacity makes them the basis for a stable model of individual ownership of resources combined with social shar- ing of that excess capacity.
Because social sharing requires less precise specification of the transactional details with each transaction, it has a distinct advantage over market-based mechanisms for reallocating the excess capacity of shareable goods,
the transaction-cost advantages of the sharing system become significant. et al
From an efficiency perspective, then, there are clear reasons to think that social production systems—both peer production of information, knowl- edge, and culture and sharing of material resources—can be more efficient than market-based systems to motivate and allocate both human creative effort and the excess computation, storage, and communications capacity that typify the networked information economy. That does not mean that all of us will move out of market-based productive relationships all of the time. It does mean that alongside our market-based behaviors we generate substantial amounts of human creativity and mechanical capacity.
With the right institutional framework and peer-review or quality- control mechanisms, and with well-modularized organization of work, social sharing is likely to identify the best person available for a job and make it feasible for that person to work on that job using freely available information inputs.
In both cases, given that much of what is shared is excess capacity from the perspective of the contributors, available to them after they have fulfilled some threshold level of their market-based consumption requirements, social-sharing systems are likely to tap in to social psychological motivations that money cannot tap, and, in- deed, that the presence of money in a transactional framework could nullify. Because of these effects, social sharing and collaboration can provide not only a sustainable alternative to market-based and firm-based models of pro- visioning information, knowledge, culture, and communications, but also an alternative that more efficiently utilizes the human and physical capital base of the networked information economy. A society whose institutional ecol- ogy permitted social production to thrive would be more productive under these conditions than a society that optimized its institutional environment solely for market- and firm-based production, ignoring its detrimental effects to social production.
tap in to social psychological motivations that money cannot tap, and, in- deed, that the presence of money in a transactional framework could nullify.
The latter are usually limited by their focus on discretely identifiable types of resources—common pool resources— that must be managed as among a group of claimants while retaining a proprietary outer boundary toward nonmembers. The focus of those who study these phenomena is usually on relatively small and tightly knit com- munities, with clear boundaries between members and nonmembers.
My claim is not, of course, that we live in a unique moment of humanistic sharing.
why of course..?
Open source software development, for example, first received mainstream media attention in 1998 due to publication of a leaked internal memorandum from Microsoft, which came to be known as The Halloween Memo. In it, a Microsoft strategist identified the open source methodology as the one major potential threat to the company’s dominance over the desktop.
Some scholars like William Fisher, and artists like Jenny Toomey and participants in the Future of Music Coalition, are already looking for alternative ways of securing for artists a living from the music they make.
Even when contracts are signed with employees or suppliers, they merely provide a probability that the employee or the supplier will in fact supply in time and at appropriate quality, given the difficulties of coordination and implementation.
The industrial information economy specialized in producing finished goods, like movies or music, to be consumed passively, and well-behaved appliances, like televisions, whose use was fully specified at the factory door. The emerg- ing businesses of the networked information economy are focusing on serv- ing the demand of active users for platforms and tools that are much more loosely designed, late-binding—that is, optimized only at the moment of use and not in advance—variable in their uses, and oriented toward provid- ing users with new, flexible platforms for relationships. Personal computers, camera phones, audio and video editing software, and similar utilities are examples of tools whose value increases for users as they are enabled to explore new ways to be creative and productively engaged with others.
part 2 – political economy of property and commons
Unlike the relationship of information production to freedom, the rela- tionship between the organization of information production and distribu- tive justice is not intrinsic.
Movies and television seek to control the entire experience—rendering the viewer inert, but satisfied. Second Life sees the users as active makers of the entertainment environment that they occupy, and seeks to provide them with the tools they need to be so. The two models assume fundamentally different conceptions of play. Whereas in front of the television, the consumer is a passive receptacle, limited to selecting which finished good he or she will consume from a relatively narrow range of options, in the world of Second Life, the individual is treated as a funda- mentally active, creative human being, capable of building his or her own fantasies, alone and in affiliation with others.
two conceptions of play?
Peer-production projects often are com- posed of people who want to do something in the world and turn to the network to find a community of peers willing to work together to make that wish a reality.
imagining us all doing that.. as the day.. self-talk as data for a nother way to live..
In the industrial economy and its information adjunct, most people live most of their lives within hierarchical relations of production, and within relatively tightly scripted possibilities after work, as consumers. It did not necessarily have to be this way. Michael Piore and Charles Sabel’s Second Industrial Divide and Roberto Mangabeira Unger’s False Necessity were cen- tral to the emergence of a “third way” literature that developed in the 1980s and 1990s to explore the possible alternative paths to production processes that did not depend so completely on the displacement of individual agency by hierarchical production systems.
In these two great domains of life—production and consumption, work and play—the networked information economy promises to enrich individual autonomy substantively by creating an environment built less around control and more around facilitating action.
let go ness
Human beings who live in a material and social context that lets them aspire to such things as possible for them to do, in their own lives, by themselves and in loose affiliation with others, are human beings who have a greater realm for their agency. We can live a life more authored by our own will and imagination than by the material and social conditions in which we find ourselves. At least we can do so more effectively than we could until the last decade of the twentieth century.
As a means of diagnosing the conditions of in- dividual freedom in a given society and context, we must seek to observe the extent to which people are, in fact, able to plan and pursue a life that can reasonably be described as a product of their own choices. It allows us to compare different conditions, and determine that a certain condition allows individuals to do more for themselves, without asking permission from anyone.
In particular, where we have an opportunity to structure a set of core resources necessary for indi- viduals to perceive the state of the world and the range of possible actions, and to communicate their intentions to others, we must consider whether the way we regulate these resources will create systematic limitations on the capacity of individuals to control their own lives, and in their susceptibility to manipulation and control by others. Once we recognize that there cannot be a person who is ideally “free,” in the sense of being unconstrained or uncaused by the decisions of others, we are left to measure the effects of all sorts of constraints that predictably flow from a particular legal arrangement, in terms of the effect they have on the relative role that individuals play in authoring their own lives.
Markets are indeed institutional spaces that enable a substantial degree of free choice. “Free,” however, does not mean “anything goes.” If John pos- sesses a car and Jane possesses a gun, a market will develop only if John is prohibited from running Jane over and taking her gun, and also if Jane is prohibited from shooting at John or threatening to shoot him if he does not give her his car. A market that is more or less efficient will develop only if many other things are prohibited to, or required of, one or both sides—like monopolization or disclosure.
The most basic set of constraints that structure behavior in order to enable markets are those we usually call property. Property is a cluster of background rules that determine what resources each of us has when we come into relations with others, and, no less important, what “having” or “lacking” a resource entails in our re- lations with these others. These rules impose constraints on who can do what in the domain of actions that require access to resources that are the subjects of property law.
While a necessary precondition for markets, property also means that choice in markets is itself not free of constraints, but is instead constrained in a particular pattern. It makes some people more powerful with regard to some things, and must constrain the freedom of action of others in order to achieve this asymmetry.
Commons are an alternative form of institutional space, where human agents can act free of the particular constraints required for markets, and where they have some degree of confidence that the resources they need for their plans will be available to them.
Both freedom of action and security of resource availability are achieved in very different patterns than they are in property-based markets. As with markets, commons do not mean that anything goes.
perhaps.. this is why we haven’t yet experienced us. in equity/commons ness.. ie: we can’t seem to let go of control.. can’t seem to let go to – anything goes ness.. (who’s to judge.. there’s never nothing going on.. )
Because computers and network connections are rival goods, there is less certainty that a commons will deliver the required resources.
A fundamental requirement of self-direction is the capacity to perceive the state of the world, to conceive of available options for action, to connect actions to consequences, to evaluate alternative outcomes, and to decide upon and pursue an action accordingly. Without these, no action, even if mechanically self-directed in the sense that my brain consciously directs my body to act, can be understood as autonomous in any normatively interesting sense.
All the designer need assume is that individuals will not act in order to optimize the autonomy of their neighbors.
Law then responds by avoiding institutional designs that facilitate the capacity of some groups of individuals to act on others in ways that are systematically at the expense of the ability of those others to control their own lives, and by implementing policies that predictably diversify the set of options that all individuals are able to see as open to them.
It is precisely the power to prevent others from communicating that makes infrastructure ownership a valuable enterprise: One can charge for granting one’s permission to communicate.
Will individuals spend all their time sifting through mounds of inane stories and fairy tales, instead of evaluating which life is best for them based on a small and manageable set of credible and relevant stories? None of the philosophical accounts of sub- stantive autonomy suggests that there is a linearly increasing relationship between the number of options open to an individual—or in this case, perceivable by an individual—and that person’s autonomy. Information overload and decision costs can get in the way of actually living one’s au- tonomously selected life.
The question then becomes whether the networked information economy, given the human need for filtration, ac- tually improves the information environment of individuals relative to the industrial information economy.
not too much info if you’re grokking/doing/being what matters.. (babel objection to your advantage.. idiosyncratics to the limit)
too much info if you are just following orders, people pleasing, earning a living, et al…
In chapter 7, I describe in detail and apply the literature that has explored network topology to the Babel objection in the context of democracy and the emerging networked public sphere, but its basic lesson applies here as well. In brief, the structure of linking on the Internet suggests that, even without quasi-formal collaborative filtering, the coordinate behavior of many autonomous individuals settles on an order that permits us to make sense of the tremendous flow of information that results from universal practical ability to speak and create. We observe the Web developing an order—with high-visibility nodes, and clusters of thickly connected “regions” where groups of Web sites accredit each other by mutual referencing.
www ness.. modeling us.. our capabilities.. if let go
The Internet allows individuals to abandon the idea of the public sphere as primarily constructed of finished statements uttered by a small set of actors socially understood to be “the media” (whether state owned or commercial) and separated from society, and to move toward a set of social practices that see individuals as participating in a debate. Statements in the public sphere can now be seen as invitations for a conversation, not as finished goods. Individuals can work their way through their lives, collecting observations and forming opinions that they understand to be practically capable of becoming moves in a broader public conversation, rather than merely the grist for private musings.
shoot.. then following goes into debates in public sphere.. democratic school sounding..
In academic discourse, the fact that a large number of people hold a particular opinion (“the universe was created in seven days”) does not render that opinion credible enough to warrant serious academic discussion. In political discourse, say, about public school curricula, the fact that a large number of people hold the same view and are inclined to have it taught in public schools makes that claim highly relevant and “credible.” In other words, it is credible that this could become a political opinion that forms a part of public discourse with the potential to lead to public action.
Filters, both for relevance and accreditation, provide a critical point of control over the debate, and hence are extremely important design elements.
whoa. curricula ness. crazy us..
204-206 – on newspaper/radio/tv et al – similarities to coming of web – amateurs chime in.. then regulations keep out.. hoover using radio as stage, radio revenue initially from selling tools rather than ads, et al
The passivity of readers, listeners, and viewers co- incided nicely with the role of the authoritarian public sphere—to manage opinion in order to cause the widest possible willing, or at least quiescent, compliance, and thereby to limit the need for using actual repressive force.
this section between 209 and 227 heavy on history with tech words i didn’t grasp easily
Throughout the discussion, it is important to keep in mind that the relevant comparison is always between the public sphere that we in fact had throughout the twentieth century, the one dom- inated by mass media, that is the baseline for comparison, not the utopian image of the “everyone a pamphleteer” that animated the hopes of the 1990s for Internet democracy. Departures from the na ̈ıve utopia are not signs that the Internet does not democratize, after all. They are merely signs that the medium and its analysis are maturing.
Blogging software allows the person who runs a blog to permit some, all, or none of the readers to post comments to the blog, ..The result is therefore not only that many more people write finished statements and disseminate them widely, but also that the end product is a weighted conversation, rather than a finished good. It is a conversation because of the common practice of allowing and posting com- ments, as well as comments to these comments.
why no comments on redefine.. it’s modeling that each chamber… virtual room… via pascal et al..
Two basic characteristics make sites like Slashdot or Wikipedia different from blogs. …They are intrinsically group communication media.
Common to all these Web-based tools—both static and dynamic, indi- vidual and cooperative—are linking, quotation, and presentation. It is at the very core of the hypertext markup language (HTML) to make referencing easy. And it is at the very core of a radically distributed network to allow materials to be archived by whoever wants to archive them, and then to be accessible to whoever has the reference.
as long as they have access.. and aren’t under paywalls or school walls.. et al
In the mass media, therefore, instead of allowing readers to read the report alongside its review, all that is offered is the professional review in the context of a culture that trusts the reviewer. On the Web, linking to original materials and references is considered a core characteristic of communication. The culture is oriented toward “see for yourself.” Confidence in an observation comes from a combination of the reputation of the speaker as it has emerged over time, reading underlying sources you believe you have some competence to evaluate for yourself, ..
Linking and “see for yourself” represent a radically different and more participatory model of accreditation than typified the mass media.
Howard‘s smart mobs mentioned
In a complex modern society, where things that matter can happen anywhere and at any time, the capacities of people armed with the means of recording, rendering, and communicating their observations change their relationship to the events that surround them. Whatever one sees and hears can be treated as input into public debate in ways that were impossible when capturing, rendering, and communicating were facilities reserved to a handful of organizations and a few thousands of their employees.
More fundamentally, the social practices of information and discourse allow a very large number of actors to see themselves as potential contributors to public discourse and as potential actors in political arenas, rather than mostly passive recipients of mediated information who occasionally can vote their preferences.
seeing the fractal ness… of people finding things out here… then continuing to argue/flap about… different…. things tat don’t matter (ie:still wasting time et al.. not grokking what matters… not quiet/free enough).
this fractal in schools as saying we are giving ie: stu voice ness – when they need detox time before they could even know what they want, otherwise.. anything other.. sounds good .. and the flapping/debating begins..
to top 237
showing tiny view people get (spinach or rock ness).. that they then act upon… respond to… in the false assumption of freedom… of assuming that they are actually thinking… rather than just following another lead/er
There was instead a series of uncoor- dinated but mutually reinforcing actions by individuals in different settings and contexts, operating under diverse organizational restrictions and afford- ances, to expose, analyze, and distribute criticism and evidence for it.
this is helpful – to me – w/ frustrations of wasted energy.. (ie: all the energy spent on debating/revealing voting machines.. when voting itself needs to be called into question).. at least we can see an example of how we can dance.
so imagine dancing over/about/with things that matter.. deep enough ness
Noam looked at markets in basic in- frastructure components of the Internet: Internet backbones, Internet service providers (ISPs), broadband providers, portals, search engines, browser soft- ware, media player software, and Internet telephony. Aggregating across all these sectors, he found that the Internet sector defined in terms of these components was, throughout most of the period from 1984 to 2002, con- centrated according to traditional antitrust measures. Between 1992 and 1998, however, this sector was “highly concentrated” by the Justice Department’s measure of market concentration for antitrust purposes. Moreover, the power of the top ten firms in each of these markets, and in aggregate for firms that had large market segments in a number of these markets, shows that an ever-smaller number of firms were capturing about 25 percent of the revenues in the Internet sector. A cruder, but consistent finding is the FCC’s, showing that 96 percent of homes and small offices get their broadband access either from their incumbent cable operator or their incumbent local telephone carrier.13 It is important to recognize that these findings are suggesting po- tential points of failure for the networked information economy. They are not a critique of the democratic potential of the networked public sphere, but rather show us how we could fail to develop it by following the wrong policies.
How- ever, the risk is not focused solely or even primarily on explicit pricing. One of the primary remaining scarce resources in the networked environment is user time and attention. As chapter 5 explained, owners of communications facilities can extract value from their users in ways that are more subtle than increasing price. In particular, they can make some sites and statements easier to reach and see—more prominently displayed on the screen, faster to load—and sell that relative ease to those who are willing to pay.14 In that environment, nonmarket sites are systematically disadvantaged irrespective of the quality of their content
The critique of concentration in this form therefore does not undermine the claim that the networked information economy, if permitted to flourish, will improve the democratic public sphere. It underscores the threat of ex- cessive monopoly in infrastructure to the sustainability of the networked public sphere. The combination of observations regarding market concen- tration and an understanding of the importance of a networked public sphere to democratic societies suggests that a policy intervention is possible and desirable. Chapter 11 explains why the relevant intervention is to permit substantial segments of the core common infrastructure—the basic physical transport layer of wireless or fiber and the software and standards that run communications—to be produced and provisioned by users and managed as a commons.
If true in this pure form about Web usage, this phenomenon presents a serious theoretical and empirical challenge to the claim that Internet communications of the sorts we have seen here mean- ingfully decentralize democratic discourse. It is not a problem that is trac- table to policy. We cannot as a practical matter force people to read different things than what they choose to read; nor should we wish to.
The basic intuition is that, if indeed a tiny minority of sites gets a large number of links, and the vast majority gets few or no links, it will be very difficult to be seen unless you are on the highly visible site. Attention patterns make the open network replicate mass media. While explaining this literature over the next few pages, I show that what is in fact emerging is very different from, and more attractive than, the mass-media-dominated public sphere.
Intense interest and engagement by small groups that share common concerns, rather than lowest-common- denominator interest in wide groups that are largely alienated from each other, is what draws attention to statements and makes them more visible. This makes the emerging networked public sphere more responsive to in- tensely held concerns of a much wider swath of the population than the mass media were capable of seeing, and creates a communications process that is more resistant to corruption by money.
chip app, self-talk as data, to help us find our people..
so what if the goal isn’t to be heard. ie: all these stats to determine if we will be heard.
the clustering coefficient of a network that exhibits power law distribution of connections or degrees—that is, its tendency to cluster—is related to the exponent of the distribution. At low exponents, below 2.333, the clustering coefficient becomes high. This explains analytically the empirically observed high level of clustering on the Web, whose exponent for inlinks has been empirically shown to be 2.1.2
this is all taken from data of people not being themselves.. no? science of people ness.. who’s to say what we’d do if we weren’t incased in supposed to‘s.. not to mention.. this data doesn’t include all of us..
The result is an ordered system of intake, filtering, and synthesis that can in theory emerge in networks generally, and empirically has been shown to have emerged on the Web. It does not depend on single points of control. It avoids the generation of a din through which no voice can be heard, as the fears of fragmentation predicted. And, while money may be useful in achieving visibility, the structure of the Web means that money is neither necessary nor sufficient to grab attention—because the networked infor- mation economy, unlike its industrial predecessor, does not offer simple points of dissemination and control for purchasing assured attention.
What the network topology literature allows us to do, then, is to offer a richer, more detailed, and empirically supported picture of how the network can be a platform for the public sphere that is structured in a fundamentally different way than the mass-media model. The problem is approached through a self-organizing principle, beginning with communities of interest on smallish scales, practices of mutual pointing, and the fact that, with freedom to choose what to see and who to link to, with some codependence among the choices of individuals as to whom to link, highly connected points emerge even at small scales, and continue to be replicated with ever- larger visibility as the clusters grow.
Without forming or requiring a formal hierarchy, and without creating single points of control, each cluster gener- ates a set of sites that offer points of initial filtering, in ways that are still congruent with the judgments of participants in the highly connected small cluster. The process is replicated at larger and more general clusters, to the point where positions that have been synthesized “locally” and “regionally” can reach Web-wide visibility and salience. It turns out that we are not intellectual lemmings. We do not use the freedom that the network has made possible to plunge into the abyss of incoherent babble. Instead, through iterative processes of cooperative filtering and “transmission” through the high visibility nodes, the low-end thin tail turns out to be a peer-produced filter and transmission medium for a vastly larger number of speakers than was imaginable in the mass-media model.
More significantly, it suggests that reading, as opposed to having a conversation, is only part of what people do in the networked environment. In the networked public sphere, receiving infor- mation or getting out a finished message are only parts, and not necessarily the most important parts, of democratic discourse. The central desideratum of a political campaign that is rooted in the Internet is the capacity to engage users to the point that they become effective participants in a conversation and an effort; one that they have a genuine stake in and that is linked to a larger, society-wide debate. This engagement is not easily purchased, nor is it captured by the concept of a well-educated public that receives all the information it needs to be an informed citizenry. Instead, it is precisely the varied modes of participation in small-, medium-, and large-scale conversa- tions, with varied but sustained degrees of efficacy, that make the public sphere of the networked environment different, and more attractive, than was the mass-media-based public sphere.
The zeal to curb peer-to-peer file sharing of movies and music could lead to a substantial redesign of computing equipment and networks, to a degree that would make it harder for end users to exchange information of their own making. Understanding what we will lose if such changes indeed warp the topology of the network, and through it the basic structure of the networked public sphere, is precisely the object of this book as a whole.
One manifestation of distributed coordination for political action is something Howard Rheingold has called “smart mobs”—large collections of individuals who are able to coordinate real-world action through widely distributed information and communications tech- nology. He tells of the “People Power II” revolution in Manila in 2001, where demonstrations to oust then president Estrada were coordinated spon- taneously through extensive text messaging.33 Few images in the early twenty- first century can convey this phenomenon more vividly than the demon- strations around the world on February 15, 2003. Between six and ten million protesters were reported to have gone to the streets of major cities in about sixty countries in opposition to the American-led invasion of Iraq. There had been no major media campaign leading up to the demonstrations— though there was much media attention to them later. There had been no organizing committee. Instead, there was a network of roughly concordant actions, none controlling the other, all loosely discussing what ought to be done and when.
They begin to free the public agenda setting from dependence on the judgments of managers, whose job it is to assure that the maximum number of readers, viewers, and listeners are sold in the market for eyeballs. The agenda thus can be rooted in the life and experience of individual participants in society—in their observations, experiences, and obsessions. The network allows all citizens to change their relationship to the public sphere. They no longer need be consumers and passive spectators. They can become creators and primary subjects. It is in this sense that the Internet democratizes.
It is easier to model respect for an individual’s will when one adopts a view of that will as independent, stable, and purely internally generated. It is harder to do so when one con- ceives of that individual will as already in some unspecified degree rooted in exchange with others about what an individual is to value and prefer.
Culture has, of course, been incorporated into political theory as a central part of the critique of liberalism. The politics of culture have been a staple of critical theory since Marx first wrote that “Religion . . . is the opium of the people” and that “to call on them to give up their illusions about their condition is to call on them to give up a condition that requires illusions.”
Habermas’s definition of lifeworld as “background knowl- edge,” for example, is a crisp rendering of culture in this role:
… This all-penetrating, yet latent and unnoticed pres- ence of the background of communicative action can be described as a more intense, yet deficient, form of knowledge and ability. To begin with, we make use of this knowledge involuntarily, without reflectively knowing that we possess it at all. What enables background knowledge to acquire absolute certainty in this way, and even augments its epistemic quality from a subjective standpoint, is precisely the property that robs it of a constitutive feature of knowledge: we make use of such knowledge without the awareness that it could be false. Insofar as all knowl- edge is fallible and is known to be such, background knowledge does not represent knowledge at all, in a strict sense. As background knowledge, it lacks the possibility of being challenged, that is, of being raised to the level of criticizable validity claims. One can do this only by converting it from a resource into a topic of discussion, at which point—just when it is thematized—it no longer functions as a lifeworld background but rather disintegrates in its background modality.5
In other words, our understanding of meaning—how we are, how others are, what ought to be—are in some significant portion unexamined as- sumptions that we share with others, and to which we appeal as we engage in communication with them. This does not mean that culture is a version of false consciousness. It does not mean that background knowledge cannot be examined rationally or otherwise undermines the very possibility or co- herence of a liberal individual or polity. It does mean, however, that at any given time, in any given context, there will be some set of historically con- tingent beliefs, attitudes, and social and psychological conditions that will in the normal course remain unexamined, and form the unexamined foun- dation of conversation.
Culture is revisable through critical examination, at which point it ceases to be “common knowledge” and becomes a contested assumption. Nevertheless, some body of unexamined common knowledge is necessary for us to have an intelligible conversation that does not constantly go around in circles, challenging the assumptions on whichever conversa- tional move is made.
Culture, in this framework, is not destiny. It does not predetermine who we are, or what we can become or do, nor is it a fixed artifact. It is the product of a dynamic process of engagement among those who make up a culture. It is a frame of meaning from within which we must inevitably function and speak to each other, and whose terms, constraints, and afford- ances we always negotiate.
we’re not doing that.
well – not for our own cultures… just for others’ cultures.
Indeed, in 1995, the U.S. Congress enacted a new kind of trademark law, the Federal Antidilution Act, which for the first time disconnects trademark protection from protecting consum- ers from confusion by knockoffs. The Antidilution Act of 1995 gives the owner of any famous mark—and only famous marks—protection from any use that dilutes the meaning that the brand owner has attached to its own mark. It can be entirely clear to consumers that a particular use does not come from the owner of the brand, and still, the owner has a right to prevent this use. While there is some constitutional free-speech protection for criti- cism, there is also a basic change in the understanding of trademark law— from a consumer protection law intended to assure that consumers can rely on the consistency of goods marked in a certain way, to a property right in controlling the meaning of symbols a company has successfully cultivated so that they are, in fact, famous. This legal change marks a major shift in the understanding of the role of law in assigning control for cultural meaning generated by market actors.
reminding of interview with Kevin… him grouping himself.. with a brand community.. ie:his jacket brand
Google’s strategy from the start has been to assume that what individuals are interested in is a reflection of what other individuals—who are interested in roughly the same area, but spend more time on it, that is, Web page authors—think is worthwhile. The company built its business model around rendering transparent what people and organizations that make their information available freely con- sider relevant.
We have, for example, always had more cultural experimentation and fermentation in cit- ies, where social ties are looser and communities can exercise less social control over questioning minds and conversation. Ubiquitous Internet com- munications expand something of the freedom of city parks and streets, but also the freedom of cafe ́s and bars—commercial platforms for social inter- action—so that it is available everywhere.
The claim I make here, as elsewhere throughout this book, is not that nonmarket production will, in fact, generally displace market production, or that such displacement is necessary to achieve the improvement in the degree of participation in cultural production and legibility. My claim is that the emergence of a substantial nonmarket alternative path for cultural conver- sation increases the degrees of freedom available to individuals and groups to engage in cultural production and exchange, and that doing so increases the transparency of culture to its inhabitants. It is a claim tied to the par- ticular technological moment and its particular locus of occurrence—our networked communications environment.
It is based on the fact that it is displacing the particular industrial form of information and cultural pro- duction of the twentieth century, with its heavy emphasis on consumption in mass markets. In this context, the emergence of a substantial sector of nonmarket production, and of peer production, or the emergence of indi- viduals acting cooperatively as a major new source of defining widely trans- missible statements and conversations about the meaning of the culture we share, makes culture substantially more transparent and available for reflec- tion, and therefore for revision.
Fisher, for example, has used the term “semiotic democracy” to describe the potential embodied in the emerging openness of Internet culture to partic- ipation by users. ….(tv ness) not the result of a self-conscious conversation among users of the culture about its limits, its meanings, and its subversions. One of the phenomena we are beginning to observe on the Internet is an emerging culture of conversation about culture, which is both self-conscious and informed by linking or quoting from specific reference points……The basic tools enabled by the Internet—cutting, pasting, rendering, annotating, and commenting—make active utilization and con- scious discussion of cultural symbols and artifacts easier to create, sustain, and read more generally.
They enable what Balkin has called “glomming on”— taking that which is common cultural representation and reworking it into your own move in a cultural conversation.
Cultural discourse is systematically not amenable to formal regulation, man- agement, or direction from the political system. First, participation in cul- tural discourse is intimately tied to individual self-expression, and its regu- lation would therefore require levels of intrusion in individual autonomy that would render any benefits in terms of a participatory political system Pyrrhic indeed. Second, culture is much more intricately woven into the fabric of everyday life than political processes and debates. It is language— the basic framework within which we can comprehend anything, and through which we do so everywhere. To regulate culture is to regulate our very comprehension of the world we occupy. Third, therefore, culture infuses our thoughts at a wide range of levels of consciousness. Regulating culture, or intervening in its creation and direction, would entail self-conscious action to affect citizens at a subconscious or weakly conscious level. Fourth, and finally, there is no Archimedean point outside of culture on which to stand and decide—let us pour a little bit more of this kind of image or that, so that we achieve a better consciousness, one that better fits even our most just and legitimately arrived-at political determinations.
The openness of digital networks allows for a much wider range of perspectives on any particular symbol or range of symbols to be visible for anyone, everywhere. …… This transparency of background unstated assumptions and common knowledge is the beginning of self-reflection and the capacity to break out of given molds.
the tension between the industrial model of cultural production and the net- worked information economy is nowhere more pronounced than in the question of the degree to which the new folk culture of the twenty-first century will be permitted to build upon the outputs of the twentieth-century industrial model. …We are as we are today, as cultural beings, occupying a set of common symbols and stories that are heavily based on the outputs of that industrial period. If we are to make this culture our own, render it legible, and make it into a new platform for our needs and conversations today, we must find a way to cut, paste, and remix present culture. And it is precisely this freedom that most directly challenges the laws written for the twentieth-century technology, economy, and cultural practice
The opportunities that the network information economy offers, however, often run counter to the central policy drive of both the United States and the European Union in the international trade and intellectual property systems. These two major powers have systematically pushed for ever- stronger proprietary protection and increasing reliance on strong patents, copyrights, and similar exclusive rights as the core information policy for growth and development.
A system that relies too heavily on proprietary approaches to information production is not, however, merely inefficient. It is unjust. Proprietary rights are designed to elicit signals of people’s willingness and ability to pay.
A system that relies too heavily on proprietary models for managing infor- mation production and exchange is unjust because it is geared toward serving small welfare increases for people who can pay a lot for incremental im- provements in welfare, and against providing large welfare increases for peo- ple who cannot pay for what they need.
Jack Andraka‘s latest talk (summer 2015) – on what’s holding up his research – red tape.. et al
thru 321ish – talking about math of balancing stuff… i don’t think it’s ever going to work if we have partial ness – ie: some patents.. some commercial..
equality of opportunity to act in the face of unequal endowment is central to all liberal theories of justice. As a practical matter, these characteristics of the networked information economy make the widespread availability of Internet access a more salient objective of redistribution policy.
We have seen an increasing merging of the concerns into a concern for basic human well-being everywhere. It is represented in no individual’s work more clearly than in that of Amartya Sen, who has focused on the centrality of development everywhere to the definition not only of justice, but of freedom as well.
Sen pointed out, the people of China, Kerala in India, and Sri Lanka lead much longer and healthier lives than other countries, like Brazil or South Africa, which have a higher per capita income.3
Education is also heavily dependent, not surprisingly, on access to materials and facilities for teaching. This includes access to basic textbooks, libraries, computation and communications systems, and the presence of local academic centers.
? what? Ed dependent on textbooks? and presence of local academic centers…? whoa.
Over the course of the 1990s, some estimates saw a 260 percent increase in the prices of scientific publications, and libraries were reported choosing between journal subscription and monograph purchases.
More im- portant perhaps is the possibility that teachers and educators can collaborate, both locally and globally, on an open platform model like Wikipedia, to coauthor learning objects, teaching modules, and, more ambitiously, text- books that could then be widely accessed by local teachers
or by people… just people.
They simply place some of the rents that pay for technology development in the rich countries on consumers in poor and middle-income countries. The morality of this redistribution from the world’s poor to the world’s rich has never been confronted or defended in the European or American public spheres. It simply goes unnoticed
In our trade policies, Americans and Europeans push for ever-stronger protection. We thereby systematically benefit those who own much of the stock of usable human knowledge. We do so at the direct expense of those who need access to knowledge in order to feed themselves and heal their sick.
The practical politics of the international intellectual property and trade regime make it very difficult to reverse the trend toward ever-increasing exclusive property protections. The economic returns to exclusive proprietary rights in information are highly concentrated in the hands of those who own such rights.
why it’s important to model another way.. that makes money irrelevant. we can talk till we’re blue in the face about balancing out moneys… no?
The basic inefficiency of excessive property protection is difficult to understand by comparison to the intuitive, but mistaken, Economics 101 belief that property is good, more property is better, and intellectual property must be the same. The result is that pressures on the governments that represent exporters of intellectual property rights per- missions—in particular, the United States and the European Union—come in this area mostly from the owners, and they continuously push for ever- stronger rights. Monopoly is a good thing to have if you can get it.
Bilateral trade negotiations are one domain that is beginning to play an important role. In these, the United States or the European Union can force a rice- or cotton-exporting country to concede a commitment to strong intellectual property protection in exchange for favorable treatment for their core export. The intellectual property exporting nations can then go to WIPO, and push for new treaties based on the emerging international practice of bilateral agreements. This, in turn, would cycle back and be generalized and enforced through the trade regimes.
and then drive higher standards elsewhere in the name of “harmoni- zation.” Because the international trade and intellectual property system is highly “playable” and manipulable in these ways, systematic resistance to the expansion of intellectual property laws is difficult.
on peer reviewers not getting paid..but proprietoriness making bundles.. internet’s own boy ness
While the effects of this odd system are heavily felt in universities in rich countries, the burden of subscription rates that go into the thousands of dollars per title make access to up-to-date scientific research prohibitive for universities and scientists working in poorer economies.
Indeed, in 2005, the Na- tional Institutes of Health (NIH), the major funding agency for biomedical science in the United States, announced a requirement that all NIH-funded research be made freely available on the Web within twelve months of pub- lication. Both PLoS and BioMed Central have waiver processes for scientists who cannot pay the publication fees.
but not for Jacks.. and not soon enough for any of us..
If scientists and other academics adopt this approach of self-archiving coupled with standardized interfaces for global, well- delimited searches, the problem of lack of access to academic publication because of their high-cost publication will be eliminated.
First, it should be recognized that responses to illiteracy and low educational completion in the poorer areas of the world are largely a result of lack of schoolteachers, physical infrastructure for class- rooms, demand for children’s schooling among parents who are themselves illiterate, and lack of effectively enforced compulsory education policy. The cost of textbooks contributes only a portion of the problem of cost. The opportunity cost of children’s labor is probably the largest factor.
again – money messing with our gut.. keeping us blind to potential. ie: not compulsory; not labor for money; … a nother way..
339 – on ebooks and mit open courseware as solution… why not wikipedia ness.. no ts, all ss
thru 356 – on foods (steeped in comparing moneys for foods et al); thru 359 – on medicines (same) – encouraging uni’s to work together… what about jacks..?
Leveraging University Patents. In February 2001, the humanitarian organi- zation Doctors Without Borders (also known as Me ́decins Sans Frontie`res, or MSF) asked Yale University, which held the key South African patent on stavudine—one of the drugs then most commonly used in combination therapies—for permission to use generic versions in a pilot AIDS treatment program. At the time, the licensed version of the drug, sold by Bristol-Myers- Squibb (BMS), cost $1,600 per patient per year. A generic version, manu- factured in India, was available for $47 per patient per year. At that point in history, thirty-nine drug manufacturers were suing the South African gov- ernment to strike down a law permitting importation of generics in a health crisis, and no drug company had yet made concessions on pricing in devel- oping nations. Within weeks of receiving MSF’s request, Yale negotiated with BMS to secure the sale of stavudine for fifty-five dollars a year in South Africa. Yale, the University of California at Berkeley, and other universities have, in the years since, entered into similar ad hoc agreements with regard to developing-world applications or distribution of drugs that depend on their patented technologies. These successes provide a template for a much broader realignment of how universities use their patent portfolios to alleviate the problems of access to medicines in developing nations.
We have already seen in table 9.2 that while universities own a substantial and increasing number of patents, they do not fiscally depend in any sig- nificant way on patent revenue. These play a very small part in the overall scheme of revenues. This makes it practical for universities to reconsider how they use their patents and to reorient toward using them to maximize their beneficial effects on equitable access to pharmaceuticals developed in the advanced economies.
? why patent?
Dating back to the passage of the Bayh-Dole Act, universities have increased their patenting practices for the products of publicly funded research. Tech- nology transfer offices that have been set up to facilitate this practice are, in many cases, measured by the number of patent applications, grants, and dollars they bring in to the university. These metrics for measuring the success of these offices tend to make them function, and understand their role, in a way that is parallel to exclusive-rights-dependent market actors, instead of as public-sector, publicly funded, and publicly minded institutions.
fitting with Rutger‘s stream of tweets – here’s 4th one and link:
And more ‘ rendementsdenken ‘ in education provides no longer returns, on the contrary.decorrespondent.nl/2590/Rendement…(
In partic- ular, it will be important following such a rededication to redefine the role of technology transfer offices in terms of lives saved, quality-of-life measures improved, or similar substantive measures that reflect the mission of univer- sity research, rather than the present metrics borrowed from the very differ- ent world of patent-dependent market production.
The problem is therefore one of reawakening slightly dor- mant cultural norms and understandings, rather than creating new ones in the teeth of long-standing contrary traditions.
If universities do make the change, then the more complex problem will remain: designing an institutional interface between universities and the pharmaceutical industry that will provide sustainable significant benefits for developing-world distribution of drugs and for research opportunities into developing-world diseases.
Universities working together can cooperate to include in their licenses provisions that would secure freedom to operate for anyone conducting re- search into developing-world diseases or production for distribution in poorer nations. The institutional details of such a licensing regime are rela- tively complex and arcane, but efforts are, in fact, under way to develop such licenses and to have them adopted by universities.23 What is important here, for understanding the potential, is the basic idea and framework. In exchange for access to the university’s patents, the pharmaceutical licensees will agree not to assert any of their own rights in drugs that require a univer- sity license against generics manufacturers who make generic versions of those drugs purely for distribution in low- and middle-income countries.
oh my. what’s important here… framework. exactly.. but not that
A government or nonprofit research institute operating in South Africa could work with patented research tools without concern that doing so would violate the patents. However, neither could then import the prod- ucts of their production or research into the developed world without vio- lating the patents of both the university and the drug company.
The “simple” answer to this problem is more funding from the public sector or foundations for both basic research and development. This avenue has made some progress, and some foundations—particularly, in recent years, the Gates Foundation—have invested enormous amounts of money in searching for cures and improving basic public-health conditions of disease in Africa and elsewhere in the developing world. It has received a particularly interesting boost since 2000, with the founding of the Institute for One World Health, a nonprofit pharmaceutical dedicated to research and development specifically into developing-world diseases. The basic model of One World Health begins by taking contributions of drug leads that are deemed unprofitable by the pharmaceutical industry—from both universities and pharmaceutical companies. The firms have no reason not to contribute their patents on leads purely for purposes they do not intend to pursue
oh my. simple? more funding ..
oy. how is that one world… give some left overs.. and yet still embedded w/B. we re missing out huge .. gates..
The initial response to the notion that peer production can be used for drug development is that the process is too complex, expensive, and time consuming to succumb to commons-based strategies. This may, at the end of the day, prove true. How- ever, this was also thought of complex software projects or of supercomput- ing, until free software and distributed computing projects like SETI@Home and Folding@Home came along and proved them wrong.
Laboratories have two immensely valuable re- sources that may be capable of being harnessed to peer production. Most important by far are postdoctoral fellows. These are the same characters who populate so many free software projects, only geeks of a different feather. They are at a similar life stage. They have the same hectic, overworked lives, and yet the same capacity to work one more hour on something else, some- thing interesting, exciting, or career enhancing, like a special grant an- nounced by the government.
The other resources that have overcapacity might be thought of as petri dishes, or if that sounds too quaint and old- fashioned, polymerase chain reaction (PCR) machines or electrophoresis equipment. The point is simple. Laboratory funding currently is silo-based. Each lab is usually funded to have all the equipment it needs for run-of- the-mill work, except for very large machines operated on time-share prin- ciples. Those machines that are redundantly provisioned in laboratories have downtime. That downtime coupled with a postdoctoral fellow in the lab is an experiment waiting to happen.
As in the case of One World Health, production and regulatory approval, from this stage on, could be taken up by the generics manufacturers. In order to prevent the outputs from being appropriated at this stage, every stage in the process would require a public-domain-binding license that would prevent a manufacturer from taking the outputs and, by making small changes, patenting the ultimate drug.
sounds like – if we did fold it ness. ..or wikipedia ness.. but then allows B (including money/property) to remain..
This proposal about medicine is, at this stage, the most imaginary among the commons-based strategies for development suggested here.
Welfare, development, and growth outside of the core economies heavily depend on the transfer of information-embedded goods and tools, infor- mation, and knowledge from the technologically advanced economies to the developing and less-developed economies and societies around the globe.
and vice versa.. we need all insight
The primary obstacles to diffusion of these desiderata in the required direction are the institutional framework of intellectual property and trade and the political power of the patent-dependent business models in the information-exporting economies. This is not because the proprietors of information goods and tools are evil. It is because their fiduciary duty is to maximize shareholder value, and the less-developed and developing economies have little money. As rational max- imizers with a legal monopoly, the patent holders restrict output and sell at higher rates. This is not a bug in the institutional system we call “intellectual property.” It is a known feature that has known undesirable side effects of inefficiently restricting access to the products of innovation. In the context of vast disparities in wealth across the globe, however, this known feature does not merely lead to less than theoretically optimal use of the information. It leads to predictable increase of morbidity and mortality and to higher barriers to development.
known – but assumed/blindly-accepted
The rise of the networked information economy provides a new frame- work for thinking about how to work around the barriers that the inter- national intellectual property regime places on development.
rather – The rise of the networked information economy provides a new frame- work for thinking … period.
rather than running circles around laws we made.. let’s make new ones.. no?
The practical freedom of individuals to act and associate freely—free from the constraints of proprietary endowment, free from the constraints of formal relations of contract or stable organizations—allows individual action in ad hoc, informal association to emerge as a new global mover. It frees the ability of people to act in response to all their motivations. In doing so, it offers a new path, alongside those of the market and formal governmental invest- ment in public welfare, for achieving definable and significant improvements in human development throughout the world.
indeed. let’s do this first.
alongside.. as hospice..
The Virtual Community was grounded on Rheingold’s own experience in the WELL (Whole Earth ‘Lectronic Link). The WELL was one the earliest well-developed instances of large-scale social interaction among people who started out as strangers but came to see themselves as a community.
Note the structure of Rheingold’s claim in this early passage. There is a hunger for community, no longer satisfied by the declining availability of physical spaces for human connection. There is a newly available medium that allows people to connect despite their physical distance. This new opportunity inevitably and automatically brings people to use its affordances—the behaviors it makes possible—to fulfill their need for human connection.
It was not long before a very different set of claims emerged about the Internet. Rather than a solution to the problems that industrial society cre- ates for family and society, the Internet was seen as increasing alienation by absorbing its users. It made them unavailable to spend time with their fam- ilies. It immersed them in diversions from the real world with its real rela- tionships….
turkle.. “is it really sensible to suggest that the way to revitalize community is to sit alone in our rooms, typing at our networked computers and filling our lives with virtual friends?”1 Instead of investing themselves with real relationships, risk- ing real exposure and connection, people engage in limited-purpose, low- intensity relationships.
In 2000, the Stanford Institute for the Quantitative Study of Society’s “pre- liminary report” on Internet and society, more of a press release than a report, emphasized the finding that “the more hours people use the Internet, the less time they spend with real human beings.
Benkler said earlier.. no evidence that net is damaging our relationships.. and here.. he’s just showing extreme reactions. amazing that we’re ok with the time we spend in non-deep convos ftof but critique them online.. as well as not realizing how deep you can get online… when physical ness can not be a deterrent.. ie: connect via curiosity rather than looks/et al
As Wellman puts it: “Communities and societies have been changing towards networked societies where boundaries are more permeable, interactions are with diverse others, linkages switch between multiple networks, and hierar- chies are flatter and more recursive. . . . Their work and community net- works are diffuse, sparsely knit, with vague, overlapping, social and spatial boundaries.”19 In this context, the range and diversity of network connec- tions beyond the traditional family, friends, stable coworkers, or village be- comes a source of dynamic stability, rather than tension and disconnect.
Nowhere is this interpolation clearer than in Mizuko Ito’s work on the use of mobile phones, primarily for text messaging and e-mail, among Japanese teenagers…….They continue to spend time in their home, with their family. They continue to show respect and play the role of child at home and at school. However, they interpolate that role and those relations with a sub-rosa network of connections that fulfill otherwise suppressed emotional needs and ties.
What we are seeing on the Net is an increase in the platforms developed to allow people to create these kinds of weak ties based on an interest or practice. Perhaps clearest of these is Meetup.com. Meetup is a Web site that allows users to search for others who share an interest and who are locally available to meet face-to-face.
so imagine all this combined.. with free people..
because of the relatively low-impact nature of these com- munications, the Internet allows people to experiment with looser relations more readily. In other words, the Internet does not make us more social beings. It simply offers more degrees of freedom for each of us to design our own communications space than were available in the past.
given the freedom to design our own communications environment flexibly and to tailor it to our own individual needs dynamically over time, we would create a system that lets us strengthen the ties that are most important to us. It was perhaps less predictable, but unsurprising after the fact, that this freedom would also be used to explore a wider range of rela- tions than simply consuming finished media goods.
This is not media determinism. This is not millenarian utopi- anism. It is a simple observation. People do what they can, not what they cannot.
goes on to talk about … (doing what they can vs what they can’t) because they are so busy..
We are a networked society now—networked in- dividuals connected with each other in a mesh of loosely knit, overlapping, flat connections. This does not leave us in a state of anomie. We are well- adjusted, networked individuals; well-adjusted socially in ways that those who seek community would value, but in new and different ways.
? well adjusted?
part 3: policies of freedom at moment of transformation
Part I -descriptive, progressive account of emerg- ing patterns of nonmarket individual and cooperative social behav- ior,
Part II – claim that these emerging practices offer defined improvements in autonomy, democratic dis- course, cultural creation, and justice.
Most im- portant, however, this has meant a battle over “intellectual property” pro- tection, very broadly defined. Building upon and extending a twenty-five- year trend of expansion of copyrights, patents, and similar exclusive rights, the last half-decade of the twentieth century saw expansion of institutional mechanisms for exerting exclusive control in multiple dimensions. The term of copyright was lengthened.
In almost all contexts, when presented with a policy choice, advanced economies have chosen to regulate information production and exchange in ways that make it easier to pursue a proprietary, exclusion-based model of production of entertainment goods at the expense of commons- and service-based models of information pro- duction and exchange.
Much of the formal regulatory drive has been to increase the degree to which private, commercial parties can gain and assert exclusivity in core resources necessary for information production and exchange. At the physical layer, the shift to broadband Internet has been accompanied by less com- petitive pressure and greater legal freedom for providers to exclude compet- itors from, and shape the use of, their networks. That freedom from both legal and market constraints on exercising control has been complemented by increasing pressures from copyright industries to require that providers exercise greater control over the information flows in their networks in order to enforce copyrights.
The battle over the institutional ecology of the digitally networked environ- ment is waged precisely over how many individual users will continue to participate in making the networked information environment, and how much of the population of consumers will continue to sit on the couch and passively receive the finished goods of industrial information producers.
The term “institutional ecology” refers to this context-dependent, causally complex, feedback-ridden, path-dependent process.
To say that there are periods of stability is not to say that in such periods, everything is just dandy for everyone. It is only to say that the political, social, economic settlement is too widely comfortable for, accepted or acquiesced in, by too many agents who in that society have the power to change practices for institutional change to have substantial effects on the range of lived human practices.
stability just means powerful are comfortable.. whoa.
thru 405 – crazy that we have to invent a way out of B – rather .. can’t we just live/model it..? as if already free..
In each layer, the policy debate is almost always carried out in local, specific terms. We ask questions like, Will this policy optimize “spectrum management” in these frequencies, or, Will this decrease the number of CDs sold? However, the basic, overarching question that we must learn to ask in all these debates is: Are we leaving enough institutional space for the social- economic practices of networked information production to emerge?
The networked information economy requires access to a core set of capabili- ties—existing information and culture, mechanical means to process, store, and communicate new contributions and mixes, and the logical systems nec- essary to connect them to each other.
app chip ness
At that point, perhaps regulatory intervention will be required. However, from the beginning of legal responses to the Internet and up to this writing in the middle of 2005, the primary role of law has been reactive and reactionary. It has functioned as a point of resistance to the emergence of the networked information economy. It has been used by incumbents from the industrial information economies to contain the risks posed by the emerging capabilities of the networked information environment. What the emerging networked information economy therefore needs, in almost all cases, is not regulatory protection, but regulatory abstinence.
At the same time, Hollywood and the recording industry are pressuring the U.S. Congress to impose regulatory requirements on the design of personal com- puters so that they can be relied on not to copy music and movies without permission.
One source of discipline would be a genuinely competitive market.
? whoa. (referring to orgs overseeing connections don’t abuse them)
thru 412-13 – on the wars as to whether broadband was info service or telecommunications service. ….As information services, broadband providers obtained the legal power to “edit” their pro- gramming, just like any operator of an information service, like a Web site.
Since 2003 the cable access debate—over whether competitors should get access to the transport networks of incumbent broadband carriers—has been replaced with an effort to seek behavioral regulation in the form of “network neutrality.” This regulatory concept would require broadband providers to treat all packets equally, without forcing them to open their network up to competitors or impose any other of the commitments associated with com- mon carriage. The concept has the backing of some very powerful actors, including Microsoft, and more recently MCI, which still owns much of the Internet backbone, though not the last mile………Even if successful, the drive to network neutrality would keep the physical infrastructure a technical bottle-neck, owned by a small number of firms facing very limited competition, with wide legal latitude for using that control to affect the flow of infor- mation over their networks.
In particular, it had been rendered obsolete by the fact that the declining cost of computation and the increasing sophistication of communications protocols among end- user devices in a network made possible new, sharing-based solutions to the problem of how to allow users to communicate without wires.
The “miracle” of Bristol is that the residents of the town, fed up with waiting for the local telephone and cable companies, built their own, municipally owned network. Theirs has become among the most ambitious and suc- cessful of more than five hundred publicly owned utilities in the United States that offer high-speed Internet, cable, and telephone services to their residents.
When the city of Abilene, Texas, tried to offer municipal broadband service in the late-1990s, Southwestern Bell (SBC) persuaded the Texas legislature to pass a law that prohibited local governments from providing high-speed Internet access.
The major regulatory threat to the openness of personal computers comes from efforts to regulate the use of copyrighted materials……..
As we will see in looking at the logical and content layers, these efforts have been successful in changing the law and pushing for more aggressive enforcement. They have not, however, succeeded in sup- pressing widespread copying. Copying continues, if not entirely unabated, certainly at a rate that was impossible a mere six years ago……….
The basic structure of these proposed statutes was that they required manufacturers to design their com- puters to be “trusted systems.” The term “trusted,” however, had a very odd meaning. The point is that the system, or computer, can be trusted to perform in certain predictable ways, irrespective of what its owner wishes.
The first element is the fact that, unlike in 1998, the technology industries have now realized that Hollywood is seeking to severely constrain their design space. Industries with half a trillion dollars a year in revenues tend to have significant pull in American and international lawmaking bod- ies, even against industries, like movies and sound recording, that have high cultural visibility but no more than seventy-five billion dollars a year in revenues.
a battle between Hollywood and Silicon Valley. At the time, unlike the telecom- munications giants who were born of and made within the regulatory environment, Silicon Valley did not quite understand that what happened in Washington, D.C., could affect its business. The Act was therefore an almost unqualified victory for Hollywood, moderated only by a long list of weak exemptions for various parties that bothered to show up and lobby against it.
Preserving the capacity of industrial cultural producers to maintain a hermetic seal on the use of materials to which they own copyright can be bought only at the cost of disabling the newly emerging modes of cultural production from quoting and directly building upon much of the culture of the last century.
The recording industry takes almost all of the revenues from record and CD sales, and provides primarily promotion and distribu- tion. It does not bear the capital cost of the initial musical creation; artists do.
The most comprehensive survey data available, from mid-2004, shows that 35 percent of musicians and songwriters said that free downloads have helped their careers. Only 5 percent said it has hurt them. Thirty percent said it increased attendance at concerts, 21 percent that it helped them sell CDs and other merchandise, and 19 percent that it helped them gain radio playing time.
The legal battles reflect an effort by an incumbent industry to preserve its very lucrative business model
They sought to deploy law to shape emerging technologies and social practices to make sure that the business model they had adopted for the technologies of film and sound recording continued to work in the digital environment. Doing so effectively would require substantial elimination of certain lines of inno- vation, like certain kinds of decryption and p2p networks. It would require outlawing behavior widely adopted by people around the world—social shar- ing of most things that they can easily share—which, in the case of music, has been adopted by tens of millions of people around the world. The belief that all this could be changed in a globally interconnected network through the use of law was perhaps na ̈ıve. Nonetheless, the legal efforts have had some impact on social practices and on the ready availability of materials for free use
The most important long-term effect of the pressure that this litigation has put on technology to develop decentral- ized search and retrieval systems may, ultimately and ironically, be to improve the efficiency of radically decentralized cultural production and distribution, and make decentralized production more, rather than less, robust to the vicissitudes of institutional ecology.
thru 444 on domain names and trademarks.. oy
The degree to which the increased appropriation of the domain name space is important is a function of the extent to which the cultural practice of using human memory to find information will continue to be widespread.
In 1995, Microsoft came to perceive the Internet and particularly the World Wide Web as a threat to its control over the desktop. The user-side Web browser threatened to make the desktop a more open environment that would undermine its monopoly.
To prevent this eventuality, Microsoft engaged in a series of practices, ultimately found to have violated the antitrust laws, aimed at getting a dominant ma- jority of Internet users to adopt Microsoft’s Internet Explorer (IE). Illegal or not, these practices succeeded in making IE the dominant browser, over- taking the original market leader, Netscape, within a short number of years.
By imagining that the only parties affected by copyright coverage of sampling are recording artists who have contracts with recording studios and seek to sell CDs, and can therefore afford to pay licensing fees for every two-second riff they borrow, the court effectively outlawed an entire model of user creativity. Given how easy it is to cut, paste, loop, slow down, and speed up short snippets, and how cre- atively exhilarating it is for users—young and old—to tinker with creating musical compositions with instruments they do not know how to play, it is likely that the opinion has rendered illegal a practice that will continue, at least for the time being.
460 – on anti dilution (protect brand) being totally diff than trademark protection (protect buyer)
emergence of this antidilution theory of exclusivity is particularly important as brands have become the product itself, rather than a marker for the product. Nike and Calvin Klein are examples: The product sold in these cases is not a better shoe or shirt—the product sold is the brand.
the deeply held belief that “more property-like rights will lead to more productivity” is hard to shake, even in the teeth of both theoretical analysis and empirical evidence to the contrary.
More important than the insti- tutional innovation of Creative Commons is its character as a social move- ment. Under the moniker of the “free culture” movement, it aims to en- courage widespread adoption of sharing one’s creations with others. …….. They do not negate property- like rights in information, knowledge, and culture. Rather, they represent a self-conscious choice by their participants to use copyrights, patents, and similar rights to create a domain of resources that are free to all for common use.
Communication is the basic unit of social existence.
By creating sources of information and communication facilities that no one owns or exclusively controls, the networked information economy removes some of the most basic opportunities for manipulation of those who depend on information and communication by the owners of the basic means of communications and the producers of the core cultural forms.
We are seeing the rise of collaborative filtering and accreditation, which allows individuals engaged in public discourse to be their own source of deciding whom to trust and whose words to question.
It turns out that we are not intellectual lemmings.
To flourish, a networked information economy rich in social production prac- tices requires a core common infrastructure, a set of resources necessary for information production and exchange that are open for all to use.
We are in the midst of a quite basic transformation in how we perceive the world around us, and how we act, alone and in concert with others, to shape our own understanding of the world we occupy and that of others with whom we share it. Patterns of social practice, long suppressed as eco- nomic activities in the context of industrial economy, have now emerged to greater importance than they have had in a century and a half.
We have an opportunity to change the way we create and exchange in- formation, knowledge, and culture. By doing so, we can make the twenty- first century one that offers individuals greater autonomy, political com- munities greater democracy, and societies greater opportunities for cultural self-reflection and human connection. We can remove some of the trans- actional barriers to material opportunity, and improve the state of human development everywhere.
indeed – we can. let’s do it boldly. reclaim us.
nov 2015 – platform coop
Actionable data. Several of the essays raise the prospect of increasingly actionable data becoming the core utility of the Internet.
Unless we find a way to allow users to pay for these utilities, this tension will remain at the core of design choices about how services are delivered, how much autono- my users have, and how much providers will be able to control and monetize the behavior of users
and/or a way to make money/measured transactions irrelevant
ie: radical econ et al
Internet started its life as public in- frastructure, largely dedicated to commu- nications among academic and public in- stitutions. Over time, it turned into the core communications and information infra- structure of a networked economy and so- ciety. And it is now rapidly developing as a control system and organizational platform for the physical environment, through the Internet of Things, and is becoming ever more tightly integrated with the daily flow of life for individuals through mobile and wearable computing. In these transitions, it has become increasingly privately owned, commercial, productive, creative, and dan- gerous. It has become indispensable to an ever growing range of human activity. Un- derstanding the design challenges these changes pose, subjecting them to continu- ous critical reflection informed by real- world analysis of the rapidly changing char- acter of the Internet, and insisting on open, rational, democratic debate over the impli- cations of our choices is perhaps the most important role of academic reflection about the past and future Internet
how could they not insist these essays open..?
Closing Remarks – Ouishare – may 2016
i don’t have any modes other than serious
2 min – task today: finding a way to have an econ that is not only enough stewardship for environment.. but also sufficiently participatory in general.. that we can restabilize.. how to live a life for maj or pop… so we can re stabilize our sense of democracy
3 min – 3 dimensions of tension 1\ concern w power of hierarchy.. concern w positional power 2\ concern w power of property.. try to redistribute.. an org force for oligarchy.. who owns it.. tension to commitment to commons/redistribution.. 3\ underlies all – tyranny of the margin – need to constantly compete.. affects everyone… clash w entrepreneurs.. wanting to do something ethical.. and vc’s who need a retrun..
6 min – commitment to commons.. is central to ability to negotiate these tensions..
8 min – (leaderless co’s)… sharing econ.. problem.. these org’s weren’t committed to reversing some of these core dimensions of power.. ie: zipcar..
10 min – designing what you do in response to these 3 dimensions of power… to be resilient to emergence of power.. becomes central..
11 min – for coops – real temptation to build coops so first so make sure that people can make money .. and say the commons can wait… mistake because the idea of commons has been central to our ability to find an alt..
radical econ et al.. money irrel..
and/or money less
commons has become a central cluster of ideas that says no.. that’s false.. we can come together w/o relying on property/hierarchy.. et al…
12 min – w/o that core intellect framework.. set of ethical commitments.. you lose your north star
13 min – blockchain.. decent crypto currencies.. if focus on one dimension of reproduction of centralization…. but ignore ways in which layer of org concentration can happen.. because you’ve built assumption because everyone is self-interested.. maximizer attacker.. you open yourself up to re concentration at the higher level.. whether miners/bitcoin or uber/ridesharing… it’s not enough to build a de cent tech.. if you don’t make it resilient to re concentration at the insitutional/org/cultural level.. you have to integrate for all of them..
there are tribes/families among you.. you come w/excitement/openness… ben franklin – if we don’t hang together…
keeping together means.. accepting tension as creative….
15 min – build it so that it is ethically coherent from start.. attentive/resilient to all dimensions of failure..
16 min – kind of commons based..
17 min – it’s a multi system problem and you’re going to have to have a multi system solution
Wikipedia can’t work in theory. It only works in practice. – Gareth Owen #
taking notes from transcript.. w/o looking at notes from 2016 –
I came here without preparing on purpose, so that I could soak, over the last couple of days, what I hear.
The first is the concern with the power of hierarchy; the power within an organization to be controlling. This is the concern with the bossless organization, this is the concern with participatory governance. Some aspect of the “cooperativist” work certainly central to the commons, is the concern with positional power.
A second is the concern with the power of property, which we see very powerfully in the context of cooperativism and the effort to essentially accept property as it is, but, try to redistribute it. But the problem is, of course, that
property is always an organization force for oligarchy;
the re-creation of power around who owns it. And so there you’re beginning to see a real tension between the commitment to commons, and the commitment to redistribute property, which is, I think, creating some real tensions. We saw it, a little bit yesterday towards the end, in the session on cooperatives when Marguerite asked, “What about the commons” and the question was, “Well, I don’t know, um…they’ll have to wait.”
And the third, which underscores or underwrites everything is the tyranny of of the margin. The need to constantly compete in the market and find yourself in a context where you have to compete, you have to survive, you have to return returns-on-investment; and this ends up postponing the ethical commitment, because you can’t live with it.
And that’s different from the power within the organization, it’s different than the power through property because it affects everyone, both the property owners and not.
And again, nowhere was this clearer than yesterday in the panel on investment models and VCs (edit: venture capitalists), and the clash between the entrepreneurs who were driven by an ethical commitment to build something that will change the world, and the need to raise money in the VCs who have investors to return to. It’s a real tension that you’re going to have to solve. It was also clear in a more micro-level in the story about cooperatives, and trying to move a VC-funded to a cooperative model, and the tension between the early actors and the late actors.
So this tyranny of the margin is a real constraint that we have to find a way how to break out of. And the critical thing that I want to leave (if nothing else) you – and I’m not leaving yet, don’t worry, you can’t start dancing – is:
the commitment to the commons, intellectually and practically, institutionally, is central to your ability to negotiate these tensions, and I’ll try to explain why.
So what does that mean as a practical matter? For cooperatives – this, I really pulled out of that last round of the panel yesterday – there’s a real temptation to build co-ops first and foremost to make sure that people can make money, and say “the commons can wait”, because, how do we make money in the commons. I think that’s a mistake, because the idea of the commons has been central to our ability to define an alternative to the rising prominence of the rational actor model in the neoliberal framework. If we spent forty years, maybe even fifty, learning at the academic level, at the policy level, at the practical habits of mind level, that we should all treat each other as self-interested and self-maximizing individuals; that that’s how we build organizations that are efficient, that that’s how we allow people to pursue their own happiness without being too constraining.
The commons has become a central cluster of ideas that says, “No, that’s false. We can come together without relying (on hierarchy/property/competition)
on exclusive property; we can come together without relying on corporate hierarchy or on state hierarchy, by building models of collaborative governance, and by embedding our production in social relations instead of building outside of them, instead of building only in companies and states and markets hierarchies of both sides, we can actually do something together. Without that core intellectual framework, without that core set of ethical commitments, you lose your North Star.
Cory Doctorow (@doctorow) tweeted at 5:51 AM – 25 Sep 2017 :
Of Penguins and Power https://t.co/PbaGAXxfD8 @YochaiBenkler on DRM, power, FLOSS and freedom (http://twitter.com/doctorow/status/912283379177070592?s=17)
In Why Coase’s Penguin didn’t fly, Henry follows up his response to Cory’s Walkaway by claiming that peer production failed, and arguing that the reason I failed to predict its failure is that I ignored the role of power in my analysis.
Power in social relations, and how it shapes and is shaped by battles over technical (open/closed), institutional (commons/property), ideological (cooperation/competition//homo economicus/homo socialis), and organizational (peer production & social production vs. hierarchies/markets) systems has been the central subject of my work. The detailed support for this claim is unfortunately highly self-referential, trying to keep myself honest that I am not merely engaged in ex-post self-justification. Apologies.
The premise of the argument, that commons based peer production has failed (the Penguin “didn’t fly”) is empirically problematic. Extensive case studies collected by the P2PFoundation, the European P2P Value project, the research communities collected around terms like constructed cultural commons, wealth of the commons, collective intelligence, the breathtaking amount of work on Wikipedia and FOSS in computer supported cooperative work and HCI, as well as efforts to measure the economic value of Digital Dark Matter, offers plenty of evidence. What didn’t happen is expansion of peer production into the role of critical infrastructure far beyond FOSS and Wikipedia—the failure of Diaspora being the standard story.
Peer models do work, and they do provide a degree of freedom in the capabilities they provide. But there is no inexorable path to greater freedom through voluntary open collaboration.
That’s still where I think we stand empirically. But that’s not what moved me to write a response.
Where markets are more efficient than Wikipedia style systems, people will turn to markets. Where hierarchy is more efficient they will turn to hierarchy. Nonetheless, Benkler argues that a variety of factors (including the burgeoning of the Internet) might lead us to believe that decentralized production is rapidly becoming more efficient than competing modes such as markets and hierarchies, across a significant spectrum of activities. Thus, we may expect to see a lot more decentralized production happening as the technology continues to develop.”
“As already discussed, this didn’t happen. But it also highlights an important problem which isn’t really discussed by Coase, and hence is not discussed by Benkler – power.
To compound this criticism, Henry emphasizes that I made this same argument in Wealth of Networks and still hold to it (citing a current paper in Strategic Organization).
I first introduced the term “peer production” a few months before I completed the first draft of Coase’s Penguin, in a 2001 piece in the Communications of the ACM entitled “The Battle Over the Institutional Ecosystem in the Digital Environment.” I concluded that essay with the words: “We are in the midst of a pitched battle over the spoils of the transformation to a digitally networked environment and the information economy. Stakeholders from the older economy are using legislation, judicial opinions, and international treaties to retain the old structure of organizing production so they continue to control the empires they’ve built or inherited. Copyright law and other intellectual property, broadcast law, spectrum-management policy, and e-commerce law are all being warped to fit the size of the hierarchical organizations of yesteryear. In the process, they are stifling the evolution of the distributed, peer-based models of information production and exchange.”
Power, and how technology intersects with institutions to shape it, was always the central theme of my analysis.
The central point of Distributive Liberty: A Relational Model of Freedom, Coercion, and Property Law was that market relations were expressions of power relations structured by institutional choices around control of productive resources. I turned to studying the Internet after that piece precisely because I realized that it was..
..it (internet) was the space in which power over resources, the means of production, and the freedom to use them was being fought for the coming decades. And that is, after all, precisely what Cory’s novel is about.. t
In Wealth of Networks, right in the introduction about the role of technology in human affairs, I say:
Different technologies make different kinds of human action and interaction easier or harder to perform. All other things being equal, things that are easier to do are more likely to be done, and things that are harder to do are less likely to be done. All other things are never equal.
simple enough ness
It is precisely to develop an understanding of what is at stake and why it is worth fighting for that I write this book.My primary mistake in my work fifteen years ago, and even ten, was not ignoring the role of power in shaping market patterns, but in understating the extent to which the new “market actors who will build the tools that make this population better able…” will themselves become the new incumbent market actors who will shape the environment to increase and lock-in their power.Unlike in the Internet’s first generation, companies and governments are well aware of the significance of design choices, and are jostling to acquire power over, and appropriate value from, networked activity.
When I started working on this in 2000, the idea that it was even possible for a large collection of individuals to coordinate and achieve effective outcomes without price signals or hierarchy was practically inadmissible in that discipline. Early efforts were focused very heavily on software specifically, and what made it special to allow FOSS to develop. I saw that as a mistake, and developed a framework that, even taking all the standard assumptions of mainstream economics (and Coase by then was as mainstream as it gets), peer production (and sharing) was possible, and likely more efficient and innovative under certain conditions—which happen to obtain now. I combined transactions costs theory, advances in the empirical study of prosocial motivation, and information economics to provide a reasonably good explanation of why peer production could emerge now, and why sharing of certain classes of goods could emerge now. But, as I wrote in Sharing Nicely, “Technology does not determine the level of sharing. But it does set threshold constraints on the effective domain of sharing as a modality of economic production.”
And let’s not forget this all started as a comment on Cory’s Walkaway. Anyone who reads that book as a story that does not put power at the heart of the question of whether technology will turn to a utopian or dystopian future, power in its most raw sense of violent enforcement of property rights by owners against potential users, can’t possibly have read the same book I did. And he just wrote no less eloquently about the way power relations shape technology which locks in power in the very real life context of DRM in browsers.