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Creative commons and socialism

by Dave Riley

I've become a dedicated exponent of open source software -- in my case, Ubuntu (a Linux distribution) especially. When you begin such a journey you are exposed to a lot of different experiences in regard to 'ownership', 'copyright' and 'patent'.

The bogeyman you soon learn to embrace and celebrate is that nemesis of capitalism -- 'sharing'.

After a while the logic begins to kick in -- even if I'm simply a passive user of other's magnificent intellectual and creative efforts. But when you begin to think through the whole question of creative commons the potential for human collective advance becomes almost staggering in its scale..

My experiences have impacted on how I view a lot of the political work I do as it has made me more aggressive about fostering open and democratic platforms and forums which rely on peoples good sense to proceed rather than falling back to constraints and proscriptions.

It's like that we are now being offered the sort of intellectual hardware that can facilitate an even richer experience of the socialism we aspire to -- when we do get there. But in the mean time individualistic and corporate capitalism is screwing us over big time, denying us the science and productive capacity that could begin to fix all that we know is wrong with the planet and its societies and population.

This symposium -- broadcast on the ABC's Science Show -- goes a long way in exploring the hypothesis that in regard to intellectual ownership, capitalism is its own worse enemy and in the rush to 'own' and patent everything from genes to software, seeds and medicines -- we all pay a massive price as the locking up of intellectural property is fostering a new era of ignorance and stagnation for the sake of profits.

Alfred Deakin Innovation Lecture Are we missing out on the full benefits of science and technology because of outdated ideas about copyright and patenting? Could the key to feeding the world be locked up in a company fridge somewhere? Open-source software has transformed the internet, underpinning the phenomenal growth of Google, Ebay and YouTube. What can science learn from this revolution? In our rush to protect intellectual property, have we damaged our capacity to deliver solutions for the critical issues of the 21st century?
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JH | January 22, 2008

Dan Hind has warned us in his Threat to Reason that it isn't religious obscurantism that threatens "the enlightenment' but capitalism's savage dedication to restricting access to and intellectual free flow of ideas born up by a selective application of kosher "democracy".

Excellent program there,. Very thoughtful

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