David Berrie & Gilles Moss. 2005-07-15. On the “Creative Commons”: a critique of the commons without commonality. Free Software Magazine. http://www.freesoftwaremagazine.com/articles/commons_without_commonality/
different version at http://www.firstmonday.org/issues/issue11_9/berry/index.html
This understanding of culture frames the Creative Common’s overall approach to introducing a commons in the information age. As a result, the Creative Commons network provides only a simulacrum of a commons. It is a commons without commonalty. Under the name of the commons, we actually have a privatised, individuated and dispersed collection of objects and resources that subsist in a technical-legal space of confusing and differential legal restrictions, ownership rights and permissions. The Creative Commons network might enable sharing of culture goods and resources amongst possessive individuals and groups. But these goods are neither really shared in common, nor owned in common, nor accountable to the common itself. It is left to the whims of private individuals and groups to permit reuse. They pick and choose to draw on the commons and the freedoms and agency it confers when and where they like.
e might say, following Gilles Deleuze, that the Creative Commons licensing model acts as a “ plan(e) of organisation ”. It places a grid over culture, communication and creativity, dividing it and cutting it into discrete pieces, each of which have their own distinct licence, rights and permissions defined by the copyright holder who “owns’ the work. Lessig’s attempt to make it easier to understand which creative works can, or cannot, be used for modification (due to copyright) has spawned a monster with a thousand heads. The complexity of licences and combinations of licences in works has expanded exponentially.
Lessig’s attempt to make it easier to understand which creative works can, or cannot, be used for modification (due to copyright) has spawned a monster with a thousand heads. The complexity of licences and combinations of licences in works has expanded exponentially
This plane of organisation ensures that legal licences and lawyers remain key nodal and obligatory passage points within the Creative Commons network, and thereby constitute blockages in the flow of creativity. But what is happening is that the ethical practice of sharing communication and culture is being conflated with a legal regime that seeks bureaucratically to enforce the same result through comprehensively drafted and dense legalese. At least Richard Stallman and his ingenious GNU General Public License (GPL) is honest in claiming to be an ethical rather than purely legal force. The GNU GPL has tenacity not due to its legal form alone. The GPL is based on a network of ethical practices that continually (re-)produce its meaning and form. The commons is always more than a formal legal construct. The commons is based on commonalty.