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[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_Culture_(book) Free Culture/Lawrence Lessig]
[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_Culture_(book) Free Culture/Lawrence Lessig]
Putting forward the idea that free circulation of knowledge is important for democracy, culture…
Putting forward the idea that free circulation of knowledge is important for democracy, culture…

Revision as of 12:04, 23 May 2020


Free Culture

Free culture, Cultural diffusion, Cultural appropriation

Open source, free- used words

Free Culture/Lawrence Lessig

Putting forward the idea that free circulation of knowledge is important for democracy, culture… Free circulation of knowledge that people can build on. His references: academic- building on top on existing culture, remix culture- combination of existing works, piracy- in the positive not criminal way. Starts Creation Commons- needs a change in copyright law that says that whatever you create is your own intellectual property. You can license your work but even if you want to give up ownership the law doesn’t allows you. Everything you will produce will belong to you whether you like it or not. Activists tried to resist this like radical software. Resist the idea of copyright by putting the K (the sign instead of the copyright C. The SI’s Publication- put a statement in the beginning of the publication that anybody can use this. Copyleft- the idea of exchanging work cancelling intellectual property. Artist that did artwork/writing resisting copyright, now are under copyright of museums, cities, so on. Lessig tried to change the law. Creative commons license- usually there is a doc that you would create when you are an artist and you want your work to be used in some industries. The Creative Commons license make use of the law to override it and its a proper publishing license. Richard Stallman- founder of Free Software, coined the term, wrote the first free software license. Starts with Unix history- when computer were developed, were you wanted to solve a question you will have to configure different machines and you will get an answer using lightbulbs. Back then you didn’t have an operating systems, it was all hardware (each module did a different function). Then a computer was a job, most of them were women (they were educated but didn’t get the jobs man got). Software became literature, a cultural expression therefor can be copy rated. IBM- software maker. Now you have separation between hardware and software, computer is not a job anymore. Unix started as a research project. The project was good and they wanted to share it with each other. At that time it was niche and everybody shared despite copyright laws. C was developed wit unix- C translate English into machine code. The compiler transforms the c code to machine code. Stallman hated Unix. He said- software was circulating freely and at some point it stopped being free. He is a part of academic hackers that benefited from it being free. They built on top of existing software. He developed his version of Emacs (an editor used by developers). His idea of hacker community of sharing software was in danger. He created a license.

When you distribute your work you need to attach a license to allow other people to use or change it.

Different names for this licenses- Free culture, Creative Commons, copyfree, copyleft, open content.


was used many years ago (Malard). Artists put copyleft on their work to say “fuck copyright”. When Stallman was setting his license a hacker friend send him the copyleft symbol and he thought it is very cool. Nowadays copyleft means- if you modify something with copyleft you need to publish the modification as well underneath the same copyleft license. In the legal term is very technical, it’s not even a license. It a property of a free open source license. This makes the people to contribute more free software.


you don’t need to make public the modifications you made.

In the 90’s when copyleft started to be used a lot in artists communities but it was miss-understood- it was meant to say “fuck you copyright” but actually it enforce the redistribution of one source software. 

4RS Framework

was used to share course curriculum, was used by university professors. They tried to form a body of work that will exist outside the university and all the rules about this being shared. They said: why shouldn’t we share and all contribute to the same software together. It was an engineering approach.

Us vs. Them

in mid 90’s explosion of definition for copyleft- a lot of groups established groups and tons of licences were being made. People made a strong connection between the sharing of work towards making deep changes in society. This allowed cultural appropriation- every group seen a different thing in copyleft. It was a mess, but a good mess that gave a lot of people a voice for individuals and communities.

In the mid 2000’s Lawrence Lessig, an American constitutional lawyer, that was worried about authoritarian fractures in Eastern Europe (like communism). He was worried that this will happen in the web. He wrote a book making connection between rules and coding. He was influenced by ideas that said that like environmental activism, the web should have some kind of activism. That is how Creative Commons was created- were inspired by the boom in the 90’s but they were arrogant and said that people shouldn’t write their own licences, because you are not a lawyer, we are lawyers. They don’t acknowledge most software licenses and ignored any license that can stand agains them. All of the major activist groups in the US back then started supporting them. They were very good at PR, embraced unix culture as an example of why they are needed and used the concert about the future of the internet. They took over pretty much everything and benefited from the underground net culture. It was not easy to understand what was their ideology. The mid 90’s licenses were pretty clear about what was free open source licensing meant for them. Creative Commons tried to make everyone happy with the McDonalds approach- they offered different menus that were tailored for different need- non-commercial.

Sharelike their kind of copyleft when you have to share your contribution and so on… you can create Frankenstein licenses for free. But the underlined politics was not clear, so they were criticised a lot. They were promoting ideas of freedom but were not completely free.

There was no definition for free culture so people tried to make a definition that will correlate with free software definition. They did it on wiki. This defined what considered as a free culture license (activists, artist, chain invitation system, very US based). Creative Commons was forced to use this. They wanted to be this license for everyone. These is two dominant voices in this landscape each want their voice heard (maybe 3 including Stallman). Most US technology platforms is now licensing only through Creative Commons because they are lobbing to be everywhere.

While everything was happening Ted something came up with Trust Copyright- instead of leaving to the human the responsibility of licensing, it can be solved through software, in the browser level. He is pretty anti copyleft because it’s a lot of tiering paperwork and this can be solved by software.