The Commoner

Issue 14: Winter 2010

Property, Commoning and the Politics of Free Software

This is a manual in property hacking against a backdrop of social movements – with reference to the concept of commoning and the spirit of pirate rebellion – informed by a critical analysis of copyright, copyleft and the Free Culture movement. Based on a PhD thesis by John Martin Pedersen, it is divided in to four parts with a preface co-authored by Massimo de Angelis.

“…That copyleft is dependent on copyright is often misunderstood, not only in influential textbooks on copyright law as we saw above, but also among anti-capitalists. The attentive reader will by now be aware that this reliance of a commons on the institution of private property is by no means contradictory. On the contrary, in capitalist democracy, it is in fact inevitable…”

“…Cyberspace is disembodied not only in the sense of being technologically mediated, or virtual, but also because it is continuously represented as if it were not highly dependent on the material realm for machines and minerals and energy. Understanding the dynamics of cyberspace in terms of property – the language of social relations with regard to things – is a good starting point for exploring the concept of property. It is a recursive process that generates a new understanding of property, which in turn might facilitate the emergence of further permutated relational modalities. If the world were a commons and property an open-ended toolbox for the self-articulation of value practices, then commons would probably blossom…”

Complete issue [PDF]

Part 0 – Introduction: Property, Commoning and the Politics of Free Software [PDF]

Part 1 – Free Culture in Context: Property and the Politics of Free Software [PDF]

Part 2 – Properties of Property: A Jurisprudential Analysis [PDF]

Part 3 – Free Software as Property [PDF]

Part 4 – Conclusion: Property and the Politics of Commoning (including bibliography of the entire issue) [PDF]

All PDFs are in A5 page size, suitable for printing two pages per A4 page.