TNW - Brewster Kahle - A New Infrastructure For A Knowledge Economy | The Next Web Watch
I worked with Richard Stallman at MIT back at the time when we were building this new operating system called The Lisk Machine. It was a community project, people didn't even sign code. That was thought of as arrogant. We basically we're building in-common. But there were something that happened at the same time. The US copyright laws changed in 1976 to make copyright it went from opt in to opt out. It used to be you had to put a little C on things and go and send into the Library of Congress. Otherwise you didn't get copyright protection. That changed in 1976. Everything written became copyrighted and for a long time, life plus 50. This was a major change. One of the first things that hit the wall was software. Because these community projects suddenly became property. So, MIT said, "If everything is owned by somebody, all of the software built by these graduate students and staff must belong to us.
Therefore we can sell it. And they did. They sold it to a company called Symbolics. And it basically forked the code from a free version to a proprietary version. And then there was a race. And Richard Stallman worked very very hard to try to keep the open version feature compatible. So, he almost worked himself to death to try to actually keep the open version going. But he realized that it wasn't going to work and he had pull back. It was a great defeat. He saw the future.
The software, this great operating system, was going to live and die based on corporation. And corporations all die and they often don't take very long, like Symbolics, and we lost it. So, he pulled back. And he said, "Okay, what could we do now?" He said, "Let's make a new system that doesn't gave this flaw of forking."
And he came up with the open source, the free software and GNU system.
HiTech Non Profi EFF
arm movement of open source to these high-tech on nonprofits they went on further to go and make arm advocacy organizations that are not control to he FF is one of the top law firms in our field yet at all nonprofit in they have no paying clients they give everything away it's interesting but they're doing very very well I'm on the board that the numbers are going are very high in terms of increased revenue and increased impact but so it is a successful law firm it is just a non-profit one are public knowledge is a a public interest group Creative Commons try to apply Richard Stallman ideas two books music & video
Community License Cant monopolise it Mission driven Makes thing last for a long time
to go and build non-profits that cannot be acquired. So, you can't monopolize it. And there's no person or organization that owns it. It's mission driven. And that is an important characteristic towards making something last a long time. Just as an anecdote, there was a Mitch Kapor, he did Lotus Development Corporations famous for spreadsheets, and I asked him at the EFF, Electronic Frontier Foundation, when it was turning 20 years old, and he was a founder of this, I said, "Have you ever been involved with something that's lasted 20 years?" And he answered, "My marriage,
I hope." So thought it was kind of a good answer. But we recounted Lotus Development Corporation withing a few years even though it was very important, it was mashed unrecogniziably. It basically had been taken apart by going and selling itself to IBM, and it was just a brand on miscellaneous products. So, basically we build things now that last. And there are these non-profit organizations that are doing this. So, if we can take it from that there's some overpropretization in knowledge, there's overpropertization in companies, can we take this idea further?
And here is where it gets speculative. Can we build a free and open ecosystem? Something that works better than some of the systems that we're currently trying to figure out how to play. Can we go and define new rules within it?
So, when I was looking at how the internet archive works, we make about $12 million a year and we spend almost all of it on people. And I bet your organisations is the same way. And so I said, did some surveys on our people, what do they spend