May 22, 2005

The politics of IP, heating up

Category: Politics — Biella @ 5:42 pm

In my dissertation’s conclusion I examine how the arena of FOSS has functioned as a form of cultural critique. I argue through its notoriety, it works to lay bare the normative assertions that economic incentives are a necessary catalyst to intellectual production.

Now there are a panoply of endeavors, from the Creative Commons to MIT’s Open Course Ware following suit.

The mere existence of a material practice such as FOSS and these others examples, however, cannot obviate normative argumentation that appeals to universal principles or theories of human nature. Under threat, these principles may clamor for more attention. And I would say in the last year alone, the attacks made against the reformulated legal principles encoded by FOSS and similar endeavors, have become more visible and voracious than before. The tide is shifting and the battle over the direction, importance, and scope of IP is now starting to boil.

For example, the silent weapon of the right, think tanks, have started to attack these emergent principles that modify the traditional principles of IP law. There is the the infamous Alexis de Tocqueville Institution that attacked Linux directly and more recently the Progress Freedom Foundation has attacked open source on the grounds that IP law as it stands is necessary for freedom and a vital economy.

The media are front runners in this war. Recently the NYT ran an editorial When David Steals Goliath’s Music that uses a language of doom and gloom and tactics of naturalization to argue for stringent IP protections:

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