P2P Foundation

Researching, documenting and promoting peer to peer practices


CommonsTransition.org

Subscribe

Translate

Archive for 'Copyright/IP'

‘Star Trek’ Axanar: ‘Distributed Davids Against an Ageing Goliath’

photo of Guy James

Guy James
8th January 2016


AxanarAn interesting situation has developed with the proposed Star Trek ‘fan film’ Axanar which may highlight how we find ourselves in a transition period between two eras: the old era which relies on ‘Intellectual Property’ (IP), heavyweight corporate power and lawyers; against a new agile era based on crowdfunding and free access to information.

hollywoodreporter.com explains the situation:

“For decades, Paramount and CBS have tolerated and even encouraged fans of the Star Trek franchise to use their imagination at will, but on Tuesday the entertainment companies went to their battle stations and launched a legal missile at a production company touting the first independent Star Trek film.

Axanar, the subject of a lawsuit filed on Friday in California federal court, is no ordinary Star Trek film. The forthcoming feature film (preceded by a short film) is the source of more than $1 million in crowdfunding on Kickstarter and Indiegogo. The producers, led by Alec Peters, aim to make a studio-quality film. As the pitch to investors put it, “While some may call it a ‘fan film’ as we are not licensed by CBS, Axanar has professionals working in front and behind the camera, with a fully-professional crew — many of whom have worked on Star Trek itself — who ensure Axanar will be the quality of Star Trek that all fans want to see.”

Paramount and CBS see a violation of their intellectual property.
Read the rest of this entry »

FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditShare

Posted in Copyright/IP, Crowdfunding | No Comments »

Essay of the Day: An introduction to Shanzai Culture

photo of Michel Bauwens

Michel Bauwens
24th December 2015


This is an article in the amazing Pirate Book!

Marie Lechner explains:

“Liang claims that piracy makes cultural products otherwise inaccessible to most of the population available to the greatest number of users, but also offers the possibility of an “infrastructure for cultural production.” The case of the parallel film industry based in Malegaon is literally a textbook case. The Indian researcher Ishita Tiwary tackles the case study of this small backwater of central India that has arisen thanks to an infrastructure created by media piracy and the proliferation of video rentals. Using the same mode of operation as Nollywood in Nigeria, people seize the opportunities provided by cheap technology in order to make “remakes of Bollywood successes” by adapting the content to the realities of the target audience’s lives. Servile replication, one of the objections often levelled at piracy, then gives way to “creative transformation” according to Lawrence Liang’s own terms. Another noteworthy example is the Chinese village of Dafen that is notorious for its painters who specialize in producing copies of well-known paintings. Dafen has now become home to a market for Chinese artists selling original works, which just goes to show how “A quasi-industrial process of copying masters has led to the emergence of a local scene.” This same process is aptly described by Clément Renaud, a researcher and artist, who took an interest in Shanzhai culture (literally meaning “mountain stronghold”), the flourishing counterfeiting economy of China, a country whose non-observance of copyright law is decried worldwide. “When you have no resources, no proper education system and no mentors at your disposal, then you just learn from your surroundings: you copy, you paste, you reproduce, you modify, you struggle?–?and you eventually improve,” resumes Clément Renaud by noting the rapid versatility and resourcefulness of these small-scale Chinese companies when faced with the demands of the global market. These “pirates [work] secretly (…) in remote factories, they have built a vast system for cooperation and competition. They shared plans, news, retro-engineering results and blueprints on instant messaging groups,” observes the researcher for whom this form of collaboration is reminiscent of open-source systems.”

FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditShare

Posted in Copyright/IP, Culture & Ideas, Economy and Business, Featured Essay, Sharing | No Comments »

GNU social and cities

photo of Manuel Ortega

Manuel Ortega
18th December 2015


sharingcitiesseminar

The SocialCapital plugin is a key piece for the promotion of GNU social as an operating system for cities.


Overcoming the limitation of seeing GNU social as a mere alternative to centralized services like Facebook or Twitter was the most important contribution of the first GNU social camp. With this limitation overcome, GNU social becomes a platform on which we can build a thousand social and distributed applications.

The first set of applications designed with this thinking aim to offer a new operating system for cities. This is a new operating system meant to facilitate and drive participation and interaction between the people in a neighborhood, and, through federation, in the city. In the end, it’s about promoting social cohesion.

Let’s imagine for a second that we will create a system of rules to measure those interactions and estimate their impact on the community. Let’s imagine that a good part of that virtual skin of sharing is blended with neighborhoods, with neighborhood spaces that have their own nodes. We could at least have a index and a series of indicators of social capital in each neighborhood. Additionally, we could measure how the actions of an NGO influence social capital in its surroundings, or how incentivizing exchanges between two cities has an influence on the wealth of your neighbors. Let’s add to all this Juan’s latest reflections, returning to the relationship between common knowledge and social change. Far beyond “karma” or “popularity,” having a measure of what freely is shared would allow any city agent to have a much more effective plan of social action.

The development and specifications of this index us brings us to the first component in this set of applications: SocialCapital.

In a first development effort, we have created the basic structure of this plug-in and some early functionality. The core of this plug-in is the class SocialCapitalIndex where queries on users’ interaction are encapsulated and each one of them is assigned an index of social capital provided to the network. The early functionality of the plugin adds the index created by the class SocialCapitalIndex to the profile of each user.

In parallel to this early development effort, we’ve also written a first specifications document for the development of SocialCapital.

Starting from this first version of SocialCapital and its specifications document, our objective is to open up development of this important piece for the promotion of GNU social as an operating system for cities.

Among the next steps to continuing development are the improvement of current database queries, interaction, and visualization in Qvitter. But, the most important point is designing and improving the algorithm that creates the user index, or, as Andrés commented on GNU social, we want to have a number or set of labels associated with each user. Also, we would have to consult and evaluate other similar algorithms that can serve as a guide–for example, the reputation system at Stack Overflow.

Translated by Steve Herrick from the original (in Spanish)

FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditShare

Posted in Cooperatives, Copyright/IP, Featured Project, Free Software, Guest Post, Networks, Open Content, Open Innovation, Open Standards, P2P Collaboration, P2P Development, P2P Software, Sharing | No Comments »

Who owns knowledge? In Solidarity with Library Genesis and Sci-hub

photo of Stacco Troncoso

Stacco Troncoso
3rd December 2015


The_Little_Prince_37914

Marguerite Mendell forwarded us this open letter defending Library Genesis and Sci-hub. Please read and share!


“We demonstrate daily, and on a massive scale, that the system is broken. We share our writing secretly behind the backs of our publishers, circumvent paywalls to access articles and publications, digitize and upload books to libraries. This is the other side of 37% profit margins: our knowledge commons grows in the fault lines of a broken system. We are all custodians of knowledge, custodians of the same infrastructures that we depend on for producing knowledge, custodians of our fertile but fragile commons.”

In Antoine de Saint Exupéry’s tale the Little Prince meets a businessman who accumulates stars with the sole purpose of being able to buy more stars. The Little Prince is perplexed. He owns only a flower, which he waters every day. Three volcanoes, which he cleans every week. “It is of some use to my volcanoes, and it is of some use to my flower, that I own them,” he says, “but you are of no use to the stars that you own”.

There are many businessmen who own knowledge today. Consider Elsevier, the largest scholarly publisher, whose 37% profit margin [1] stands in sharp contrast to the rising fees, expanding student loan debt and poverty-level wages for adjunct faculty. Elsevier owns some of the largest databases of academic material, which are licensed at prices so scandalously high that even Harvard, the richest university of the global north, has complained that it cannot afford them any longer. Robert Darnton, the past director of Harvard Library, says “We faculty do the research, write the papers, referee papers by other researchers, serve on editorial boards, all of it for free … and then we buy back the results of our labour at outrageous prices.” [2] For all the work supported by public money benefiting scholarly publishers, particularly the peer review that grounds their legitimacy, journal articles are priced such that they prohibit access to science to many academics – and all non-academics – across the world, and render it a token of privilege[3].

Elsevier has recently filed a copyright infringement suit in New York against Science Hub and Library Genesis claiming millions of dollars in damages.[4] This has come as a big blow, not just to the administrators of the websites but also to thousands of researchers around the world for whom these sites are the only viable source of academic materials. The social media, mailing lists and IRC channels have been filled with their distress messages, desperately seeking articles and publications.

Even as the New York District Court was delivering its injunction, news came of the entire editorial board of highly-esteemed journal Lingua handing in their collective resignation, citing as their reason the refusal by Elsevier to go open access and give up on the high fees it charges to authors and their academic institutions. As we write these lines, a petition is doing the rounds demanding that Taylor & Francis doesn’t shut down Ashgate [5], a formerly independent humanities publisher that it acquired earlier in 2015. It is threatened to go the way of other small publishers that are being rolled over by the growing monopoly and concentration in the publishing market. These are just some of the signs that the system is broken. It devalues us, authors, editors and readers alike. It parasites on our labor, it thwarts our service to the public, it denies us access [6].

We have the means and methods to make knowledge accessible to everyone, with no economic barrier to access and at a much lower cost to society. But closed access’s monopoly over academic publishing, its spectacular profits and its central role in the allocation of academic prestige trumps the public interest. Commercial publishers effectively impede open access, criminalize us, prosecute our heroes and heroines, and destroy our libraries, again and again. Before Science Hub and Library Genesis there was Library.nu or Gigapedia; before Gigapedia there was textz.org; before textz.org there was little; and before there was little there was nothing. That’s what they want: to reduce most of us back to nothing. And they have the full support of the courts and law to do exactly that. [7]

In Elsevier’s case against Sci-Hub and Library Genesis, the judge said: “simply making copyrighted content available for free via a foreign website, deserves the public interest”[8]. Alexandra Elbakyan’s original plea put the stakes much higher: “If Elsevier manages to shut down our projects or force them into the darknet, that will demonstrate an important idea: that the public does not have the right to knowledge.”

We demonstrate daily, and on a massive scale, that the system is broken. We share our writing secretly behind the backs of our publishers, circumvent paywalls to access articles and publications, digitize and upload books to libraries. This is the other side of 37% profit margins: our knowledge commons grows in the fault lines of a broken system. We are all custodians of knowledge, custodians of the same infrastructures that we depend on for producing knowledge, custodians of our fertile but fragile commons. To be a custodian is, de facto, to download, to share, to read, to write, to review, to edit, to digitize, to archive, to maintain libraries, to make them accessible. It is to be of use to, not to make property of, our knowledge commons.

More than seven years ago Aaron Swartz, who spared no risk in standing up for what we here urge you to stand up for too, wrote: “We need to take information, wherever it is stored, make our copies and share them with the world. We need to take stuff that’s out of copyright and add it to the archive. We need to buy secret databases and put them on the Web. We need to download scientific journals and upload them to file sharing networks. We need to fight for Guerilla Open Access. With enough of us, around the world, we’ll not just send a strong message opposing the privatization of knowledge — we’ll make it a thing of the past. Will you join us?” [9]

We find ourselves at a decisive moment. This is the time to recognize that the very existence of our massive knowledge commons is an act of collective civil disobedience. It is the time to emerge from hiding and put our names behind this act of resistance. You may feel isolated, but there are many of us. The anger, desperation and fear of losing our library infrastructures, voiced across the internet, tell us that. This is the time for us custodians, being dogs, humans or cyborgs, with our names, nicknames and pseudonyms, to raise our voices.

Share this letter – read it in public – leave it in the printer. Share your writing – digitize a book – upload your files. Don’t let our knowledge be crushed. Care for the libraries – care for the metadata – care for the backup. Water the flowers – clean the volcanoes.


 

[^1]:
http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0127502,
http://svpow.com/2012/01/13/the-obscene-profits-of-commercial-scholarly-publishers/

[^2]:
http://www.theguardian.com/science/2012/apr/24/harvard-university-journal-publishers-prices

[^3]:
http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2012/10/20121017558785551.html

[^4]:
https://torrentfreak.com/sci-hub-tears-down-academias-illegal-copyright-paywalls-150627/

[^5]: https://www.change.org/p/save-ashgate-publishing

[^6]: http://thecostofknowledge.com/

[^7]: In fact, with the TPP and TTIP being rushed through the
legislative process, no domain registrar, ISP provider, host or human
rights organization will be able to prevent copyright industries and
courts from criminalizing and shutting down websites “expeditiously”.

[^8]:
https://torrentfreak.com/court-orders-shutdown-of-libgen-bookfi-and-sci-hub-151102/

[^9]:
https://archive.org/stream/GuerillaOpenAccessManifesto/Goamjuly2008_djvu.txt

FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditShare

Posted in Campaigns, Cognitive Capitalism, Collective Intelligence, Commons, Copyright/IP, Open Access, Open Calls, Open Content, P2P Action Items, P2P Bibliography, P2P Collaboration, Peer Property, Sharing | No Comments »

Video of the Day: Copyright Is Brain Damage

photo of Guy James

Guy James
18th November 2015


The provocative title of her TEDxMaastricht talk gives some indication of where graphic artist Nina Paley is coming from. She says she has decided to remove herself from the “permission culture” of copyright altogether and simply uses any art she feels suits the current piece she is working on. This seems to me to be extremely empowering and liberating on a personal and artistic level, however I don’t see the concept of simply not recognising copyright standing up in court, which is presumably where she is going to end up having to defend her actions, if she hasn’t already. I think her point is that the more people that ignore copyright altogether, the less power it is going to ultimately have over us. However those most interested in copyright are usually not artists, but lawyers and businesspeople for whom it is a way of making money, and they are not likely to stop respecting it any time soon.

She makes the very good point that those most defensive of their own copyright are those who most insistently force their symbols into the public consciousness (reminding me of the great Sean Tejaratchi rant popularised by Banksy, “Advertising Shits In Your Head“).

FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditShare

Posted in Commons, Copyright/IP, Featured Video, Videos | No Comments »

UN Special Rapporteur: “Copyright might run counter to human rights”

photo of Stacco Troncoso

Stacco Troncoso
11th November 2015


farida-shaheedCR

Extracted from TechDirt. You can read the full article here.


Back in March, Tim Cushing wrote about a rather remarkable report from the UN Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights, Farida Shaheed, in which she warned that copyright might run counter to human rights. As if that weren’t enough, Shaheed is back with another bold attack, this time on patents. As the summary to her report puts it:

There is no human right to patent protection. The right to protection of moral and material interests cannot be used to defend patent laws that inadequately respect the right to participate in cultural life, to enjoy the benefits of scientific progress and its applications, to scientific freedoms and the right to food and health and the rights of indigenous peoples and local communities.

Patents, when properly structured, may expand the options and well-being of all people by making new possibilities available. Yet, they also give patent-holders the power to deny access to others, thereby limiting or denying the public’s right of participation to science and culture. The human rights perspective demands that patents do not extend so far as to interfere with individuals’ dignity and well-being. Where patent rights and human rights are in conflict, human rights must prevail.

The report touches on many issues previously discussed here on Techdirt. For example, how pharmaceutical patents limit access to medicines by those unable to afford the high prices monopolies allow — a particularly hot topic in the light of TPP’s rules on data exclusivity for biologics. The impact of patents on seed independence is considered, and there is a warning about corporate sovereignty chapters in trade agreements, and the chilling effects they can have on the regulatory function of states and their ability to legislate in the public interest — for example, with patent laws.

Read the rest of the article here.

FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditShare

Posted in Anti-P2P, Cognitive Capitalism, Collective Intelligence, Copyright/IP, Culture & Ideas, Economy and Business, Peer Property | No Comments »

Video of the Day: Michel Bauwens & Kevin Flanagan at Idea Camp 2015.

photo of Stacco Troncoso

Stacco Troncoso
8th November 2015



 
During the Idea Camp 2015, Vivian Paulissen, Knowledge Manager at the European Cultural Foundation hosted a conversation with Michel Bauwens and Kevin Flanagan of the P2P Foundation, about their personal interest in the Commons. Why do they dedicate their entire work and life to the cause of the Commons?

ECF’s second Idea Camp took place between 23 and 25 September. This year’s theme “Build the City” applies the principles and ethics of the commons. The Idea Camp explored how citizens and communities can get directly involved in participatory democratic processes that shape and govern our cities.

FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditShare

Posted in Commons Transition, Cooperatives, Copyright/IP, Culture & Ideas, Featured Video, Open Models, Original Content, P2P Theory, Videos | No Comments »

Thinking about licensing

photo of Steve Herrick

Steve Herrick
5th November 2015


In essence, the problem is that Creative Commons allows people to grant others freedom, but with very specific and often mutually exclusive conditions. And that’s only sort of freedom.


 

delacroix-y-la-devolucionThe Indianos put all their work in the public domain. As I began to translate their books, I didn’t follow their lead, but rather, used a Creative Commons license. They didn’t say anything, and I didn’t give it any further thought. With their new Juan Pop project, however, I’ve felt the need to sit down and really think through my position on licensing.

I found a number of reasons not to use CC licenses, in spite of the thoughtful way the idea was developed. The first is the sheer complexity of the system. There are multiple steps in choosing a license, and while none of them is particularly tricky, it does lead to a wide variety of combinations of options. This allows for fine-grained control of content… in theory. The reality, and the second reason, is that people who re-use content are terrible about complying with the specifics of CC licenses. Many of them don’t know or don’t care about the differences between them. It’s not easy to find statistics on this (particularly since people who do comply with the licenses often do so by not using the content at all, leaving no record), but it is easy to find anecdotal evidence in the form of content creators complaining about it. What this means is that the CC system is very difficult to enforce.

There are also reasons not to use the specific elements of the system, even in the absence of the above problems.

The Attribution aspect is something nearly every creator wants, regardless of any other consideration. It’s such a universal expectation that in most jurisdictions, it’s considered a “moral right” resulting from the act of creation itself, not the license. This makes it redundant under CC, which doesn’t even make it an option, but includes it in every permutation of its licenses (except CC0).

The Non-Commercial option is very common. Many people don’t think it’s fair for someone else to profit from their work. (I think they overestimate the chances of that happening, but that’s a side issue.) This, however, shows a misunderstanding of what the commons is. Throughout the history of the idea of the commons, it has been the source of people’s livelihood. The transition from a physical commons to a knowledge commons should not change that. If it does, then the commons is merely an academic exercise, and not a head-on challenge to the extractive corporate economy. If we only share our hobbies, then nothing has changed, nor will it.

The No-Derivatives option, frankly, is not very popular. People can tell it’s self-defeating.

The Share-Alike option, on the other hand, is quite popular. And it’s the one that kept me using CC the longest. Even those of us who are OK with others using our content for commercial purposes find it repellent to think that those others could wall off their derived works from the commons, refusing to pass on the benefit they themselves had received. It’s such a compelling argument that the P2P Foundation is promoting a whole new license to prohibit exactly that. But, as discussed by Dave Wiley more than eight years ago, Share-Alike-licensed content can only be combined with other content with an identical CC license, which is very limiting—and that’s really just a subset of the general compatibility problems with CC-licensed content (updated various times and still complicated). This really defeats the purpose of the commons, as Wiley illustrates with another graphic. As the saying goes, the great thing about standards is that there are so many to choose from.

In essence, the problem is that Creative Commons allows people to grant others freedom, but with very specific and often mutually exclusive conditions. And that’s only sort of freedom. Does that mean people who use CC are evil, and that I’m boycotting their content? Certainly not. It simply means I find it simplest and most effective to use the public domain (with a fallback to CC0 in jurisdictions that don’t recognize the public domain) to build the commons.

That leaves the question of free riders, meaning those who would copyright their derived works. At this point, I don’t believe that a further fragmentation of licenses that are complicated to apply and almost impossible to enforce will serve to both build the commons and prevent this problem. Of the two, my priority is the former, but I do still want to keep corporations from strip-mining the commons.

One way might be to simply ignore them and keep doing our own thing. It’s important to remember that they cannot remove anything from the public domain, nor can they copyright an idea in the public domain itself, only a work derived from it. So, if future iterations of an idea in the public domain are better than those derived works, then the gamble of having produced them will not pay off. Similarly, if small workshops make and sell the products in short runs, not bothering to copyright them, large corporations simply won’t be able to compete. Copyrights take a minimum of three months to register, and that’s enough time for P2P production to move on to something better. In fact, the threat of a copyright might actually spur innovation.

Another consideration is that corporations creating derived works doesn’t have to result from content being in the public domain or in the commons. They repeat each others’ ideas all the time, in spite of trademarks and copyrights. It’s the idea that attracts attention, not how it’s licensed.

Finally, I think our greatest defense against corporate enclosure of the commons is each other. If the commons is very active, and also very public, that will make it harder for corporations both to compete with it and to expropriate value from it.

FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditShare

Posted in Commons, Copyright/IP, Culture & Ideas, Guest Post, Open Models, P2P Art and Culture, P2P Legal Dev., Peer Property, Sharing | No Comments »

Book of the Day: Patterns of Commoning

photo of Stacco Troncoso

Stacco Troncoso
2nd November 2015


L-R: Frédéric Sultan, Anne Salmond, Tristan Copley-Smith, Soma KP and Monica Vasile

L-R: Frédéric Sultan, Anne Salmond, Tristan Copley-Smith, Soma KP and Monica Vasile

David Bollier and Silke Helfrich introduce Patterns of Commoning, a new compilation describing thriving Commons around the planet. For a brief overview, we also invite you to download (and share!) this short fact sheet.


Dear friend of the commons,

We are thrilled to announce the release of a new anthology of original essays, Patterns of Commoning, about dozens of lively, innovative commons that are pioneering exciting new forms of production, governance and ways of living.

The book, edited by David Bollier and Silke Helfrich of the Commons Strategies Group, is arguably the most accessible and far-ranging survey of contemporary commons in print.

PatternsCOverIt introduces readers to the commons, an ancient but rediscovered social system for creating and sharing wealth, beyond markets and the state.  Patterns of Commoning examines successful, innovative commons around the world — from community forests in India to high-tech Fab Labs in Germany, and from alternative currencies that are reviving poor neighborhoods in Kenya to Swiss irrigation systems that have lasted for hundreds of years.

A central theme that emerges is how the inner dynamics of commons can transform how we think and act.  Commoning gives us new aspirations and ways of being in the world, whether it is a theater commons in Rome or Farm Hack, the global network developing open source farm equipment. The social practices of commoning are opening up practical new possibilities for a post-capitalist future.

Patterns of Commoning was written by an illustrious group of activists, academics, journalists, technologies and project leaders from 20 countries. Contributors include such celebrated writers as Dame Anne Salmond of New Zealand, evolutionary biologist David Sloan Wilson, anthropologist Arturo Escobar and ecophilosopher Andreas Weber.

You can learn more about Patterns of Commoning at its website, http://www.patternsofcommoning.org.

You can learn more about the German edition, Die Welt der Commons Muster gemeinsamen Handelns,published by transcript Verlag, at http://band2.dieweltdercommons.de.

Copies of the 418-page softbound book can be purchased for US$15 plus shipping costs via Off the Commons Books — https://store.collectivecopies.com/store/show/0fc20 — and Amazon.com (US).

The book is the second book of a trilogy anthologies about the commons.  The first volume was The Wealth of Commons, published in 2012.  (The German version is Commons:  Für eine neue Politik jenseits von Markt und Staat).

We hope you enjoy the book!

Best regards,

David Bollier & Silke Helfrich
Co-Editors
Patterns of Commoning

FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditShare

Posted in Commons, Commons Transition, Cooperatives, Copyright/IP, Culture & Ideas, Ethical Economy, Featured Book, Food and Agriculture, P2P Art and Culture, P2P Bibliography, P2P Books, P2P Collaboration, P2P Development, Peer Property, Sharing | No Comments »

Patterns of Commoning is Now Published!

photo of David Bollier

David Bollier
30th October 2015


PatternsCOverAfter two years of working with more than 50 contributors, Silke Helfrich and I are pleased to announce that Patterns of Commoning is now available in both English and German editions. The books have just arrived back from the printer and are available from our distributor Off the Common Books and Amazon (US). You can learn more about the anthology at its website.

Patterns of Commoning is arguably the most accessible and broad-ranging survey of contemporary commons in print. It introduces readers to more than fifty notable commons from around the world and explores the inner dynamics of commoning with great sensitivity.

A primary goal of Patterns of Commoning is to show the great scope and vitality of commons initiatives around the world. There are chapters on alternative currencies and open source farm equipment, community forests and co-learning commons, theater commons and collaborative mapping, urban commons and dozens of others. Margaret Thatcher once championed neoliberal capitalism with the harsh ultimatum, “There IS no alternative!” Patterns of Commoning shows in vivid detail that there are plenty of alternatives!

As editors, Silke and I are grateful that dozens of international activists, academics and project leaders agreed to share their deep knowledge about commoning learned from their particular commons. A special set of longer essays in the book probe the personal, social and spiritual dimensions of commoning among specific groups, such as Scottish fishermen, the Maori in New Zealand, and the shantydwellers movement in South Africa. Other essays explore the new political rationality of commoning through the lens of property rights in African farmland. Other pieces explore the metaphysics of the commons and the commons as a “pluriverse” of relational worldviews. (Contents page here.)

Patterns of Commoning is a companion volume to The Wealth of Commons anthology published in 2012 (the German version, Commons: Für eine neue Politik jenseits von Markt und Staat). Once again, we are grateful to the Heinrich Böll Foundation for its unwavering support, especially from Barbara Unmüssig, President of the Böll Foundation, and Heike Löschmann, the head of the Department of International Politics.

We’re hoping the book will open up some new conversations and provoke greater media coverage of commoning. If you have any good ideas for promoting the book among Web communities, academics, activists, the press or ordinary citizens eager to learn about fresh alternatives, please let me know. I also invite you to use Facebook and Twitter to spread the word. We’re recommending use of the hashtags #patternsofcommoning, #commoning or #4thecommons.

The German edition, Die Welt der Commons: Muster Gemeinsamen Handelns was published this month by transcript Verlag; it is already attracting welcome media attention in Germany. You can learn more about the German edition and download an epub version here.

L-R: Frédéric Sultan, Anne Salmond, Tristan Copley-Smith, Soma KP and Monica Vasile

L-R: Frédéric Sultan, Anne Salmond, Tristan Copley-Smith, Soma KP and Monica Vasile

I’m especially proud of using a commons-oriented publishing model for Patterns of Commoning. We wanted to bypass the conventional publishing channels that raise prices and deliver less to authors and readers. Thanks to 32 pre-orders for hundreds of books by committed commoners, we were able to self-finance a lot of the printing costs. By working with Off the Common Books – the self-publishing arm of Levellers Press, which published The Wealth of the Commons – we are able to distribute the books directly to readers via the Web at substantial savings. The 406-page paperbook sells for $15.

Ebook versions in Kindle, Nook and epub formats will be available shortly. Bulk orders of ten copies or more can be purchased for US$10 per copy plus shipping. You can buy Patterns of Commoning and The Wealth of the Commons together at a discounted rate of US$30 by contacting Levellers Press at levellerspress1 /at/ gmail.com.

By controlling the publishing process ourselves, we are also pleased that we could use a Creative Commons BY-SA license without having to overcome a publisher’s resistance. The entire contents of Patterns of Commoning will be available later on the book’s website, just like The Wealth of the Commons.

Here’s hoping that you enjoy the many fantastic essays by the book’s talented, brilliant contributors!

FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditShare

Posted in Collective Intelligence, Commons, Commons Transition, Copyright/IP, Culture & Ideas, Ethical Economy, Featured Book, Food and Agriculture, Open Content, Open Models, Original Content, P2P Bibliography, P2P Books, P2P Collaboration, P2P Development, P2P Lifestyles, Peer Property, Politics, Sharing | No Comments »