September 28, 2006  ·  Lessig

One of the most important conclusions that can be drawn from the work of Benkler, von Hippel, Weber (my review of both is here), and many others is that the Internet has reminded us that we live not just in one economy, but at least two. One economy is the traditional “commercial economy,” an economy regulated by the quid pro quo: I’ll do this (work, write, sing, etc.) in exchange for money. Another economy is (the names are many) the (a) amateur economy, (b) sharing economy, (c) social production economy, (d) noncommercial economy, or (e) p2p economy. This second economy (however you name it, I’m just going to call it the “second economy”) is the economy of Wikipedia, most FLOSS development, the work of amateur astronomers, etc. It has a different, more complicated logic too it than the commercial economy. If you tried to translate all interactions in this second economy into the frame of the commercial economy, you’d kill it.

Having now seen the extraordinary value of this second economy, I think most would agree we need to think lots about how best to encourage it — what techniques are needed to call it into life, how is it sustained, what makes it flourish. I don’t think anyone knows exactly how to do it well. Those living in real second economy communities (such as Wikipedia) have a good intuition about it.

But a second and also extremely difficult problem is how, or whether, the economies can be linked. Is there a way to cross over from the commercial to second economy? Is there a way to manage a hybrid economy — one that tries to manage this link.

The challenge of the hybrid economy is what Mozilla, RedHat, Second Life, MySpace are struggling with all the time. How can you continue to inspire the creative work of the second economy, while also expanding the value of the commercial economy? This is, in my view, a different challenge from the challenge of how you call this second economy into being, but obviously, they are related. But this challenge too is one I don’t think anyone yet understands fully.

As I watch Creative Commons develop, I’ve been encouraged by the experiments that try to find a way to preserve this second economy, while enabling links to the first. I wrote before about Yehuda Berlinger who had set IP law to verse. In that post, I nudged him to adopt a CC license. He did, but he did so in a very interesting way. As his site now reads:

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.5 License. Attribution should include a live link to this blog post, whenever possible; text link otherwise. License for commercial usage also available from the owner.

This idea is one we’re experimenting with at CC — a NC license that explicitly includes a link to another site to enable commercial licensing. It is one way to preserve the separation of these separate spheres. I’d be eager to hear about other ways you might think better.

But the important point to recognize is that this effort to preserve the separation is fundamentally different from the effort of many in the “free software” or “free content” movement who want all “free” licenses to permit any sort of use, commercial or not. Imho, they are simply ignoring an important reality about the difference between these two economies. Indeed, they’re making the opposite mistake that many in the commercial world make: Just as many commercial rights holders believe every single use of creative work ought to be regulated by copyright (see, e.g., the push to force what are plainly “fair uses” of copyrighted work on YouTube to pay the copyright owners), so too these advocates of “free content” would push everyone to treat everything as if it is free of copyright regulation (effectively, if not technically). Second economy sorts believe differently — that some uses should be free, and others should be with permission.

It is because I have enormous respect for those who make the latter mistake (and believe their motives are more likely pure) that I urge them to consider the radical simplification of social life they insist we push on the world. I like the dynamics of the second economy. Benkler has given it a theory. I think we should be working to support it, not pretending that it is not there.

The obvious reply (and the real puzzle for me) is FLOSS. I said at the start it effectively operated in the second economy. But the “free content” movement that I’m skeptical of is simply trying to push the norms of FLOSS into the content space. How could it then be any different?

In my view, the difference comes from the difference in nature of the stuff. Some cultural production can be collaborative in exactly the way FLOSS is — Wikipedia. But you need an argument to get from some to all. No doubt, I too need an argument that some is different from some. I don’t have that yet. But it is here that I think the really important discussion needs to happen.

Oh, and by the way, Yehuda has added Trademark Law to his verses.

  • http://jergames.blogspot.com Yehuda Berlinger

    Lawrence,

    Thanks for the links.

    You must remember where the GPL started: Richard Stallman bemoaned the idea that companies were just beginning to lock up programming.

    In his view, programming code was akin to scientific research, which had, up to that point, always been an open society. Exceptions were drug research, etc, but at least they were covered only by patent: twenty years, derivatives ok, and all published and copyable, not copyright.

    He forsaw they horrible mess we are in today where scientific research and code development is copyrighted, and therefore development in an increasing number of areas is becoming stagnant.

    I don’t know when the GPL began to encompass all types of content, such as music, books, and so on, but that is where the line got crossed.

    Yehuda

  • http://www.digitalproductions.co.uk Crosbie Fitch

    Given we’re essentially talking about human liberty here, the best comparator is slavery.

    There are those who see nothing wrong with slavery, indeed that it is the right of the slave owner to dispose of their legally purchased slave as they see fit.

    There are those who think slavery is fundamentally wrong, and until slavery is abolished have decided to procure slaves in order to grant them precisely the same freedoms as if they were free, but have retained ownership of them precisely in order to prevent them becoming enslaved by anyone else.

    And then there are those in the ‘middle’ who call the latter as extreme as the former and therefore just as misguided. They propose the best solution is to provide a suite of ready made slavery contracts that grant a variety of liberties from none, to some, to all. This way, slave owners can grant their slaves liberties as they see fit.

    So, this proposition that the extremists in favour of abolishing slavery are mistaken because of their extreme view that any use of slavery is unethical, is actually a logical fallacy, e.g. ‘appeal to moderation’.

    Copyright is a legal artifice created for the economic benefit of a small number of publishers. This is not an ethical foundation to justify the basis that the copyright holder has legitimacy in determining the liberties that people may take with the art they publish.

    Using copyright against copyright is an INTERIM measure until such time as copyright is abolished.

    Encouraging the public to believe they are benefitting from copyright by providing them with a way to kid themselves they are rich and powerful publishers able to grant liberties to their fellow men is going persuade people that copyright is a good thing and should be retained.

    Really, you should go one step further and recommend the use of DRM to enable even finer control over the liberties artists can grant their audiences.

    If there is an unethical weapon, it may be ethical to provide a mechanism that nullifies its power. It is certainly not ethical to provide facilities that enable people to wield the weapon with selective control over its effects.

  • John

    Regarding the name of that second economy (you give Another economy is (the names are many) the (a) amateur economy, (b) sharing economy, (c) social production economy, (d) noncommercial economy, or (e) p2p economy):

    A term with some real theoretical / historical meat behind it is:

    Gift economy

    Such an economy can be quite efficient, but has different notions of reciprocity, tempo, etc.

    Lewis Hyde’s The Gift is probably the best known (but not very hard-edged) exposition of this.

  • http://gnuosphere.blogspot.com Peter Rock

    Crosbie Fitch says:

    Given we’re essentially talking about human liberty here, the best comparator is slavery.

    When it comes to art, I don’t think this comparison fits. Chains on a human being means being told not just what that being can’t do, but what to do. All rights Resevered on art simply tells another what they can’t do with the chained art.

    Software however, does flirt with the slavery analogy. When software is not free, it has the disasterous potential of telling you what you will do as well as many things you will not do. For example, you will not have feature X and you will provide information about yourself over a network (i.e. spyware). Proprietary software potentially controls you for it is a sequence of mathematical/functional steps that struts alongside the very actions you take using input devices.

    As Lawrence said, the “difference comes from the difference in nature of the stuff.” I think I understand what he is saying though more accurately, the difference isn’t really in the nature of the stuff (in that sense they are identical), but in the nature of our relationship to it. Generally, our relationship with art is one of “enjoyment and pleasure.” Generally, our relationship with software is one of “a useful tool to accomplish a goal.”

    That difference to me is enough to declare my intention to push for free software yet also push for free culture knowing that “free” can mean a significantly different set of norms between the two.

  • http://www.boobam.org William Loughborough

    Would everyone please read the first chapter of Bucky Fuller’s “Critical Path” so we get away from the “zero sum” notion and the presumption of scarcity as a norm.

    We are dealing not with a scarcity of resources but a surfeit thereof and to have “royalties” (what an aptly named atrocity!) that only extend to improvements on pumps but not to their antecedents is plainly cukoo.

    Creativity is a lovely notion, but essentially mythic. Jazz put an end to copyright.

    Love.

  • http://philotech.blogspot.com Tony

    I think that the double-economy phenomenon is a temporary symptom of a drastic change in American culture. A new wave of college graduates feel entitled to do what they are passionate about in life – even white collar, well-paying jobs are no longer satisfying. Other people are forced into or stuck in jobs they don’t care about – and have more opportunities to explore their interests outside (or during) work. The symptom will disappear when new business models emerge that allow people do follow their interests, rather than simply their wallet. Utopian and idealistic? Perhaps, but until this conflict gets resolved, we’ll always have two distinct economies that will never become a hybrid.

  • schomsko

    I imagine a mix of old and new economy that can be applied for all information productions.
    Lets call it R/W-DRM.

    DRM can be a good thing. If it is constructed wisely.

    First some assumptions:

    The basic threads of Intellectual Property to the Public Domain are high access costs and misuse of monopoly. What threatens the read/write-society is misuse of monopoly by the industriell model of information production. The old economy had chosen not to allow public remix, because they want to keep prices high.
    But now there is code and code is law. But you have to question: „Who owns the law?“. Right now it’s owners are e.g. apple and every other DRM vendor and patent holder – they use the code for their advantage. They collect money for protecting the old economy in the hostile environment. Copyright-DRM is against P2P-R/W – still.
    But there are free laws around – GPL, Creative Commons, Open Media Commons etc.
    And the good news is:
    R/W and DRM are still somehow opposites but don’t exclude each other. Copyright is an act of balance between the input/output of every human being and the money-incentive of professional creator. DRM right now is off the balance. Copyright is of the balance. But forget copyright. If code is law, we don’t need traditional law where code can take the place of it. Copyright became evil. But it belongs to the analogue world. In the digital world DRM is as evil as the incentives of the creators of that code. But code can be made with respect of the nature of information – input and output of its own production process – and with respect of one of the basic needs of people – money. Yes there are strong motivations to express creativity besides money. But also in the „wealthy networks“ money means incentive and autonomy. Selling an item means independence from advertisement an other threads for free thinking. A lot of OSS Developers will understand that.

    Now the vision:

    DRM should give the creators(remixers) an option to allow commercial remix.
    Why should creators join such a remix regime? Because they get their share of every remix(reuse) and re-remix(re-reuse) and re-re-remix(re-re-use).
    In this DRM there should be a rule, that Reading and (Re)-Writing come at the same price. So there is no discrimination of creators vs. consumers. The remixer decides the price for resell=next remix. But the relations of the share between remixer and re-remixer and so on shall be fix within the system. For example 2/2 for a remix and then 3/3 at the next use and so on.
    Of course there would be a lot of data to keep track on but e.g. google certainly would be pleased to host that data for having knowledge of and providing information about the edge and history of cultural evolution.

  • Simon Pole

    Yehuda said:

    I don’t know when the GPL began to encompass all types of content, such as music, books, and so on, but that is where the line got crossed.

    It hasn’t.

    Prof. Lessig makes the same mistake by conflating the “free software” and “free content” movements, and then proceeding to criticize the “free software” movements for arguments the “free content” movement makes.

    If anyone has crossed this line, it is the DRM companies. They are the ones who want to restrict freedom of software to protect content.

    At the point freedom of software becomes involved, then it is Stallman’s fight.

  • http://www.robmyers.org/ Rob Myers

    One of the most important conclusions that can be drawn from the work of Benkler, von Hippel, Weber (my review of both is here), and many others is that the Internet has reminded us that we live not just in one economy, but at least two.

    How is this conclusion reached? Why is this split identified? Why is it considered useful?

    One economy is the traditional “commercial economy,” an economy regulated by the quid pro quo: I’ll do this (work, write, sing, etc.) in exchange for money.

    This is the economy. Attempting to expand the ideology of economics to non-economic spheres is neoloiberal cretinisation.

    Another economy

    A metaphoric economy at best. Metaphor should not be confused with reality when constructing arguments.

    is (the names are many) the (a) amateur economy, (b) sharing economy, (c) social production economy, (d) noncommercial economy, or (e) p2p economy.

    This is a false dichotomy based on confusion of a metaphor with reality. You also seem to have decided to cast things entirely in terms of simplistic market economics.

    In fact the existence of this “second economy” is a product of creative freedom. As Open Source advocates fail to understand that they can only do things “just for fun” because of the freedoms that Free Software has won for them, so you seem to fail to understand that “Open Content” (a terrible name that Stallman rightly argues against), or rather Free Culture, is the product of freedoms, not a mysterious spontaneous phenomena that must be explained by the market.

    This second economy (however you name it, I’m just going to call it the “second economy”) is the economy of Wikipedia, most FLOSS development, the work of amateur astronomers, etc. It has a different, more complicated logic too it than the commercial economy. If you tried to translate all interactions in this second economy into the frame of the commercial economy, you’d kill it.

    And if you described your brain as an economy and tried to force your neurons to pay for firing you’d reach brain death quickly. The metaphor is not the reality. But let’s say just for a moment that we tried to bring this “second economy” (actually the social space created by cultural freedom) under the regulation of the market economy. We would need a way of monetising each identifiable work and preventing its exploitation in the “first economy” (the economy).

    One way of doing this would be to lock work that is deemed to be a product of this “second economy” (and how do you determine this economically?) out and to demand monetary compensation if it is used by the “first economy”.

    The situation that you describe as death for the “second economy” is therefore precisely that created by the NC Begging License that you recommend below.

    Having now seen the extraordinary value of this second economy,

    This monetary value is the product of the ethical value of the causes of this” economy”. By trying to treat this “economy” as a mysterious phenomena rather than as an effect, then trying to create it (when it has already been created!!!) using ham-fisted economics rather than the ethics that actually create it, you are making the classic economist’s mistake.

    Prostitution is better for the economy than marriage after all. And public goods are better privatised.

    I think most would agree we need to think lots about how best to encourage it

    I repeat: protect the rights that create it. Do not try to erase the history of phenomena to create a false lack of causes for them that must then be addressed with the ideology of market economics. Do not try to become the Bzzzagents of “open content”.

    – what techniques are needed to call it into life,

    Give people the rights, let them create. This happened, it works. It is only by sending the history that produced the phenomena we are examining down the memory hole that we can be mystified enough by their operation to panic that they must need more money or they will disappear.

    how is it sustained, what makes it flourish.I don’t think anyone knows exactly how to do it well.

    Ask Jimbo. Ask Richard. Ask anyone who actually does it.

    Those living in real second economy communities (such as Wikipedia) have a good intuition about it.

    They are making it a spectacular success if that’s what you mean. But what they are making a success of is a space for human culture, not a failed attempt at DRM.

    But a second and also extremely difficult problem is how, or whether, the economies can be linked.

    Markets float on commons. The business model of reproductions as reputation, monetized by performance is common to Free Software (not “FLOSS”) and Free Culture. This is well known.

    Is there a way to cross over from the commercial to second economy?

    See previous sentence.

    Is there a way to manage a hybrid economy – one that tries to manage this link.

    Trans.: how can we reduce people’s freedom in order to make more money? This is a false dichotomy. This entire plea for a reduction in freedom to serve the market is a false dichotomy. The model for monetising free culture is well established.

    The challenge of the hybrid economy is what Mozilla, RedHat, Second Life, MySpace are struggling with all the time.

    MySpace and Second Life aren’t a “hybrid economy”. They are enclosures. And Mozilla’s management are not very good, which is hard to address with a license.

    Red Hat make money, I believe. IBM, Apple, SuSE, and many others you have forgotten to mention all do as well.

    How can you continue to inspire the creative work of the second economy, while also expanding the value of the commercial economy?

    By protecting and encouraging the ethical framework that causes that “economy” to come into being as a subset of its benefits. Not by attacking and undermining that ethical framework and destroying the very conditions that create the value you feel isn’t being monetised in the correct way.

    This is, in my view, a different challenge from the challenge of how you call this second economy into being,

    Wouldn’t it be great if America had roads? How can we build roads across America? I think the government should sieze houses across the continental US in a grid pattern to ensure that roads can be built.

    What do you mean America already has roads? We’re talking about how to ensure that it has roads. We have to ensure America has roads otherwise it won’t.

    but obviously, they are related. But this challenge too is one I don’t think anyone yet understands fully.

    This is argument from personal incredulity and ignores the existing examples of successful models for monetising the products of people’s freedoms.

    As I watch Creative Commons develop, I’ve been encouraged by the experiments that try to find a way to preserve this second economy,

    Trying to limit this “second economy” for the benefit of the first one is a bizarre way of trying to preserve it. Destroying the village doesn’t save it.

    while enabling links to the first. I wrote before about Yehuda Berlinger who had set IP law to verse. In that post, I nudged him to adopt a CC license. He did, but he did so in a very interesting way. As his site now reads:
    This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.5 License. Attribution should include a live link to this blog post, whenever possible; text link otherwise. License for commercial usage also available from the owner.

    How fortunate for him that the work he has derived from is in the public domain. How much would he have been willing to pay in order to make this work?

    So the answer to “how do we encourage free riders on the commons” is: tell them to make their derivatives of public domain work into noncommercial nagware.

    This idea is one we’re experimenting with at CC – a NC license that explicitly includes a link to another site to enable commercial licensing.

    Commercial licensing is not the passing on of freedom.

    It is one way to preserve the separation of these separate spheres.

    Wait. Before you were asking how we move value from the “second economy” into the first economy. Now you are talking about ensuring that they remain separate. You seem to want a one-way trap door from cultural freedom to economics. A catflap of the commons.

    I’d be eager to hear about other ways you might think better.

    The ways that work now, and that people need support to extend into more examples of Free Culture.

    But the important point to recognize is that this effort to preserve the separation is fundamentally different from the effort of many in the “free software” or “free content” movement who want all “free” licenses to permit any sort of use, commercial or not.

    This effort is indeed fundamentally different. It is ideologically and practically broken, and should not be carried out under a banner of free culture.

    Imho, they are simply ignoring an important reality about the difference between these two economies.

    Which reality is that? And who has set the terms that we are establishing this “reality” of two different social contexts by?

    Indeed, they’re making the opposite mistake that many in the commercial world make: Just as many commercial rights holders believe every single use of creative work ought to be regulated by copyright (see, e.g., the push to force what are plainly “fair uses” of copyrighted work on YouTube to pay the copyright owners), so too these advocates of “free content” would push everyone to treat everything as if it is free of copyright regulation (effectively, if not technically).

    And if you have a position on the death sentence and I have a position on the death sentence, we both have positions on the death sentence. Therefore neither of us is right.

    I’d also question the mischaracterisationof copyleft as “effectively free of copyright regulation”, and your failure to consider trademark and moral rights law.

    Second economy sorts believe differently – that some uses should be free, and others should be with permission.

    There’s a book you should read that argues against the idea of a “permission culture” at length. It’s called “Free Culture”, by Lawrence Lessig.

    I notice that the link from Yehuda’s work to the licensing page does not mention Fair Use. Creative Commons would do better to promote Fair Use than to promote NC Nagware.

    It is because I have enormous respect for those who make the latter mistake

    The mistake of understanding the cause of the phenomena you are trying to re-create with an economics that will undermine and destroy them?

    (and believe their motives are more likely pure)

    I am not under NDA to any large media corporations, and am not beholden to Microsoft for my funding, no.

    that I urge them to consider the radical simplification of social life they insist we push on the world.

    Don’t say social when you mean economic.

    I like the dynamics of the second economy. Benkler has given it a theory. I think we should be working to support it, not pretending that it is not there.

    This is a straw man argument. We should be working to support creative freedom, not pretending that it is not there and that we have an economic mystery to solve.

    The obvious reply (and the real puzzle for me) is FLOSS.

    This is because the economic success of Free Software is not a product of economics. Freedom is an externality that you destroy by trying to create through markets.

    Economics doesn’t do irony.

    I said at the start it effectively operated in the second economy. But the “free content” movement that I’m skeptical of is simply trying to push the norms of FLOSS into the content space. How could it then be any different?

    “Free Content” is as nonsensical as “Open Source”. Remember Free Culture and Free Software instead. Consider the causes, the ethical framework. Not the effects and the cashing out.

    In my view, the difference comes from the difference in nature of the stuff.

    You have yet to explain this difference, leaving an unexamined assumption at the heart of your argument.

    Some cultural production can be collaborative in exactly the way FLOSS is – Wikipedia. But you need an argument to get from some to all. No doubt, I too need an argument that some is different from some. I don’t have that yet. But it is here that I think the really important discussion needs to happen.

    Try this.

    Culture as a whole is a collaborative project. To look at a single part of it such as Wikipedia and say “well that works but I can’t see how wre could generalise it” ignores Shakespeare, Homer, The Renaissance, Elvis Presly, in fact it ignores the entirity of Human culture.

    The question is not can Wikipedia scale or continue without the blessing of economics. The question is how do we prevent Wikipedia becoming the last outpost of a culture that badly thought out economics is destroying.

    Oh, and by the way, Yehuda has added Trademark Law to his verses.

    Good for him. I hope you are getting a cut for advertising his work so prominently on a site that must cost a considerable amount in bandwidth charges each month, otherwise you might distort the economics of his venture.

  • http://thomas-lord.blogspot.com/ Thomas Lord

    > In my view, the difference comes from the difference in nature
    > of the stuff. Some cultural production can be collaborative in
    > exactly the way FLOSS is — Wikipedia. But you need an
    > argument to get from some to all. No doubt, I too need an
    > argument that some is different from some. I don’t have that
    > yet. But it is here that I think the really important
    > discussion needs to happen.

    Here are two arguments for you, and then a question:

    ———————————-

    FLOSS’ most famous successes are all typical of many
    programs: they are highly “modular” and most of them
    are “extensible”.

    By modular, I mean that the programs are compositions pieces
    where, what matters to the work as a whole, is just a few
    details of the piece — it’s interface and its overall function.
    You could, approximately, throw away a module, tell a skilled
    programmer the interface and what the module is supposed to do,
    and get back a substitute. (Toss out the “ext3 file system”
    from Linux and ask someone to port “ffs (from BSD)” instead.)

    By extensible, I mean that the list of modules one wants
    for the program has no a priori upper bound. (Go ahead, write
    the next “modfoo” plugin for apache or the next Linux device
    driver).

    An encyclopedia is also modular and extensible.

    A (traditional form) symphony or pop song? Not quite
    so. (Although, there is a little bit of modularity to
    multi-track recordings and a little bit of modularity
    introduced by sampling.)

    A sonnet or a painting? Not so extensible.

    So, the production of a lot of interesting software is greatly
    streamlined by the lowered friction of FLOSS licensing — not so
    much other cultural productions. This is a direct result of
    modularity and extensibility. FLOSS helps lots of people
    to work on separate modules.

    This isn’t to say that there aren’t symphony-like programs or
    modular works of literature; only to state the common case.

    The potential of streamlined production is what has driven FLOSS
    more than, say, ideological arguments.

    —————————————————————-

    Beyond production, consumption is also different.

    Want to run Wikimedia on your server? A very complete
    installation? You’d better make sure you have many different
    prerequisite and related packages installed.

    Want to build up your music collection? You can do that
    one song at a time.

    Another difference is that I generally want to get software as a
    tool to accomplish some larger project of immediate importance,
    but other culture — I can catch as catch can.

    Eliminating the need for 10 separate transactions in setting
    up a Wiki Right Now? Big win.

    Imposing a need for 1 transaction to incrementally add to my
    music collection? No big deal.

    —————————————————————-

    My question:

    Do you have any interest in a software license that would
    start:

    The Free Software Precursor License
    DRAFT 27-Sep-2006

    Copyright (C) 2006 Thomas Lord (lord@emf.net)

    Everyone is permitted to copy and distribute verbatim copies
    of this license document, but changing it is not allowed.

    Preamble

    Free software licenses such as the GNU General Public License
    are designed to guarantee all recipients of a program the
    freedoms to use, copy, modify, and share the program, or any
    modified version of the program. That is an important and
    valuable outcome for a programming effort but it creates a
    practical problem for some programmers who would like to
    develop free software. Once a program becomes available to
    the general public under a free software license, the
    copyright owners have given up all exclusive rights that,
    under other kinds of license, would produce revenue for the
    copyright holders. In other words, publicly available free
    software is a non-rival good which is great for users
    freedoms, but lousy for financially rewarding programmers for
    their creative work per se.

    The problem extends beyond copyright and includes patents.
    When an inventor who holds a software patent permits that
    patent to be practiced in a free software program, he has
    given away the rights of exclusion that would allow him to
    derive revenue from the practice of that patent in that
    program or in any program derived from that program.

    The purpose of this license is to create a balance that is
    fair to the users of a program, but that also enables authors
    and inventors to secure, for a limited time, such exclusive
    rights to their free software creations that they can be
    financially rewarded for having made their effort.

    Accordingly, when this license is applied to a program:

    0) At the time of initial release, everyone is free to use,
    copy, modify, and share the program non-commercially and,
    under the terms of this license, for research whose
    primary aim is to improve the program or develop other
    software under this same license.

    1) A specific date is declared, after which everyone
    is free to use, copy, modify, and share the program
    without restrictions against commercial activity.
    We encourage authors and inventors to declare a date
    that is much sooner than the expiration of relevant
    copyrights and patents.

    2) A specific price is declared which, if paid to the
    copyright holder, will cause the program to immediately
    be licensed to everyone for free use, copying,
    modification, and sharing.

    3) Modifications distributed to the program prior to the
    date on which commercial restrictions are lifted may be
    distributed to the copyright holders under any agreed
    upon terms or may be distributed to the general public
    under terms that include a reciprocal, not commercially
    restricted license to the copyright holder.

    4) One year after commercial restrictions are lifted from
    this program, everyone has the right to distribute
    this program, or modified versions which they have
    created, under the commercially restricted form
    of this license, setting a date not to exceed
    10 years after which commercial restrictions will be
    lifted. The copyright holders of this program may
    make such distributions at any time.

    We acknowledge that this license does not, prior to the date
    on which commercial restrictions are lifted, satisfy the
    commonly used definitions of “free software” or “open source”.
    We acknowledge that some members of the free software and open
    source communities will criticize to this license on that basis.
    We respectfully refuse those criticisms on the grounds that
    we believe, using this and similar licenses, the public will
    benefit from a greater enjoyment of software freedoms, because
    more and better free software will be created. We take
    special note, for example, that numerous significant free
    software programs which the public enjoys today became free
    software precisely because they were developed as non-free
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    with the passage of time.

    We acknowledge that it is possible to use this license
    abusively, such as by setting an unreasonable date for
    unrestricted release or an unreasonable price. We believe
    that a proper and sufficient public response to such abuses is
    to simply ignore programs so released.

    Finally, we encourage the continued development and use of
    open source licenses which are compatible with this license.
    That is to say, we encourage open source software to be
    released under terms that permit its combination with programs
    under this license, even during the period of commercial
    restrictions.

    -t

  • Ian Murray

    Lawrence,
    How about you join the second economy and send your salary from your academic job to charity? I guess its tough living with all these pesky restrictions in Business Class.

  • http://lanuitswavesurfing.blogspot.com/ Nui

    I noticed a lack of info in the wikipedia about barter trade. That is an alternataive commercial trading model that is overlooked by dominant commercial transaction, but it is thriving in little pockets, and there has been extensive studies about why and how they work. I think the “Second economy” can draw a lot of useful information from that field of work. I was at one time involved with some community currency ngos. Some links to start with are http://www.communitycurrency.org/, http://www.le.ac.uk/ulmc/ijccr//, http://www.transaction.net/money/cc/cc01.html. Hope they lead you to somewhere interesting and constructive for your work.

  • http://lanuitswavesurfing.blogspot.com/ Nui

    I noticed a lack of info in the wikipedia about barter trade. That is an alternataive commercial trading model that is overlooked by dominant commercial transaction, but it is thriving in little pockets, and there has been extensive studies about why and how they work. I think the “Second economy” can draw a lot of useful information from that field of work. I was at one time involved with some community currency ngos. Some links to start with are http://www.communitycurrency.org/, http://www.le.ac.uk/ulmc/ijccr//, http://www.transaction.net/money/cc/cc01.html. Hope they lead you to somewhere interesting and constructive for your work.

  • poptones

    But a second and also extremely difficult problem is how, or whether, the economies can be linked. Is there a way to cross over from the commercial to second economy? Is there a way to manage a hybrid economy — one that tries to manage this link.

    And this is where most of the voices in the “free” economies stumble: by insisting DRM is outright “evil” in any incarnation, they stifle any reasonable efforts toward this goal. How do I sustain myself within this “second economy” if I cannot move assets from there into the real economy?

    The only choices now are to be employed elsewhere in that first and then use the second as a “hobby” or vanity effort, or to allow others to move these assets for me – which effectively puts me right back where I started – the “second” economy is really just another room in the first, because my freedoms (and incentives) are constrained by the banks, governments and other regional barriers to free trade.

    Microsoft is steeping ever closer to wrenching control of this venue from any hope of public grasp; buy your Microsoft points (ie a debit card) and you can use it to buy game accessories for your xbox or music for your zune. These platforms lend themselves to DRM and few really decry this “restriction on stuff we bought” (that no one forced them to buy anyway) but woe be unto any equipment providers who dare equip desktoip computers with these enabling tools!

    Last night I was speaking with someone who, at 35, is about to retire from his job as a welder and pipe fitter. His “hobby” is making ornamentation from stainless steel – belt buckles, jewelry, saddlehorns and spurs and so forth – and selling them on ebay. He told me he nets a consistent $5000 a month from this effort which allows him to care for his family pretty nicely. The materials constituting the goods he sells are certainly not the majority of the cost of the items, so should he instead be “donating” hit time to his customers and selling the stuff at cost plus postage?

    Of course, he is still utterly dependant upon that first economy – paypal and ebay are digital rights management organizations in their entirety – I cannot “rewrite” paypal so as to allow me to put money in my account on a whim, nor can I claim goods from ebay simply by altering the code – it is a sealed box living out there on the net somewhere, yet it is at the same time part of my very own computer.

    Until we reconcile this, and stop insisting that giving individuals connectivity into this same infrastructure (and allowing for the tools that might spawn from the more secure p2p infrastructure) we will remain utterly dependant upon that old world economy.

  • http://www.hfg-karlsruhe.de/~rketelings/ r0g1

    I have to admit: all answers (together) are too much for my time to read, but isn’t it (WAY) simpler?

    1. As one who contributes to some FLOSS projects: I do that for recognition (gives me something (knowledge)), other then money.

    doesn’t exclude me from:

    2. Make a buck from the knowledge (content) I aquired along the road….

    One gives me knowledge (2 pursue) the next one: money 2 live…

    Regards, r0g1

  • ACS

    To Peter “the world is ending” Rock

    That difference to me is enough to declare my intention to push for free software yet also push for free culture knowing that “free” can mean a significantly different set of norms between the two.

    Look Peter I think the essential point is that if you want to put your software out for free theat is fine…… On the other hand if I want to keep mine within the bounds of copyright and make a living from it then that should also be fine……

    Software however, does flirt with the slavery analogy. When software is not free, it has the disasterous potential of telling you what you will do as well as many things you will not do. For example, you will not have feature X and you will provide information about yourself over a network (i.e. spyware). Proprietary software potentially controls you for it is a sequence of mathematical/functional steps that struts alongside the very actions you take using input devices.

    If you dont want to be controlled by proprietary software then just dont use it …… problem solved.

    The accusation that intellectual property is akin to slavery is baseless. In relaity a system where intellectual endeavour was not subject to proprietary rights would be to cause a person to work without reward, which as I understand it, constitutes a fundamental tenent of slavery.

    Get off your high horse.

  • http://www.digitalproductions.co.uk Crosbie Fitch

    You’re quite right ACS. If anyone was forced to work for nothing, or forced to work without being able to bargain for anything they did receive, then that would be slavery.

    Similarly, if artists were forced to publish their intellectual property free of charge, that would similarly deny them the liberty of selling their labour.

    However, all artists at the moment are prohibited from building upon published culture. Their hands have been tied by monopolistic privileges intended for publishers.

    No-one’s trying to force artists to work for nothing. Those in support of free culture are evangelising the restoration of the artist’s right to freedom of expression, to restore their liberty to build upon public culture.

    So, this is about restoring liberty to the artist. The last thing it is about is enslaving them.

    The only people upset are the publishers who are seeing their privileged distribution monopoly eroded by the Internet. The publishers are naturally persuading you that they represent the only source of income for the artist.

  • http://www.sepiaport.com Terry

    >>It has a different, more complicated logic too it than the commercial economy. If you tried to translate all interactions in this second economy into the frame of the commercial economy, you’d kill it.

    Yes, I agreed, Mr Lessig, however I am concerned about predators who prey on this perception of “complicated logic” to get free labor/content/ and so forth… As Bill Joy has remarked once – it helps to be aware that predatory business models exist…

    Greetings
    Terry

  • Janet

    Hi folks

    Peter Drahos’s book Information Feudalism gives an excellent description of the way that control of information and technology rights is effecting significant change in the way we operate as people and communities, with a specific focus on international IP lobbying and law. He has also written subsequent information on the ratchet nature of these laws. these systems are designed to be progressively more exclusive and not to enable a relaxing by any party from a prior position.

    FLOSS is supported by a wide community.
    The full commitment to really free software is something which does have wide support. Software Freedom Day is an event which celebrates this. Check out the scale of this event.It grows every year. http://softwarefreedomday.org/

    I feel that this debate is occuring because the ability to do things technically and the ethics or social goals of how we want to operate as a community are standing face to face. Technology can now access report and define the opportunities we have to interact in our communities.

    All of our expressions take from what has come before.
    It is how we construct dialogue and meaning at every level.

    It is understandable that there is heat in the debate because the economic and technology systems have a lot of momentum and investment. They are not however the purpose. They are a means. The purpose is the community which can think speak and create and collaborate.

    Current strategies for law including DMCA/EUCD and patents
    are about pegging out every inch of our known space.
    Often the beneficiaries are not the authors.

    In proposed broadcast law the broadcaster want copyright over material they broadcast for +years. They lobby for right to control where the material is next broadcast regardless of whether it is copyright, copyleft, public domain content. these are people who have invested nothing more than those people who are sharing peer to peer. They have distributed something. The proposals do not even restrict this to material which they have specific right to broadcast. Broadcasters have the right to communicate information as news collectors and responsible bodies regardless of the intent of authors.

    Right of way or control of information by individual entities in a context where technology has the capacity to punish people for every interaction or use of each individual piece of information or technology is not a recipe for a progressive and creative culture.

    Basic free rights with information, ie to read for example are at risk, let alone fair use rights which the legislators in my country say we may not have because it doesnt comply with our promise to the USA. These are not defensive ownership rights. These are offensive rights. When one nation deems that the citizens of another nation may not have fair use which they themselvces enjoy the nonsense of any ethical underpinning for these processes is hard to ignore.

    These restricted rights are used with DRM and technological protection measures which make felons of developers who develop the means to interact with information generally. The developers become felons if a third party uses these laws to circumvent copyright. ie The chair manufacturer is burnt with his chairs if there one used in a western brawl. Why? Because it is proposed that this is easier than catching the people who actually committed a crime.

    I appreciate the creative commons project to establish some alternative ways of defining rights.

    I am concerned that it is too easy to think that we are operating in a world where the choices of the author are the ultimate social outcome of the copyright, copyleft or DRM choice. The reality is that the information broker industries hold these rights with very few concessions made to authors. these groups do have the scale and technological capacity to effectively franchise culture so that local communities may not participate because all of the information around them is fenced.

    The reason that GPLv3 is white ie strictly no DRM or patents is
    because these copyright laws are offensive systems for colonising information, technology, market and social space.

    All shades of grey are inherently able to be repurposed at any point to make dependent or derivatory technologies and creations compromised.

    In my opinion
    This does not mean that everything needs to be white.
    It means that those things that arent need to be self aware.
    Because all shades of DRM grey enable the material to become hostile at some future point this effectively makes them black for purposes of creative and finacnail investment.

    I think it is easier for people to understand that really free is important for a computing infrastructure stack because we are accustomed to viewing these things as tools for expression. Tools are something which we have a ‘craft’ heritage for talking about.
    They are utilitarian and therefore there purpose for public use is a part of their function. And yet interestingly patents and debates on control by individual entieis on these ideas is still hotly contested.

    We seem to have lost the ability to recognise the utilitarian buidling block nature of information from a cultural perspective and also sadly from a medical and genetic perspective. That public responsibility in these areas has been losing significant battles is probably the clearest indicator that our whole system for allocating value in relation to ideas is broken.

    For creative projects and are also part of our dialogue.
    Authors use characters themes ideas and structures which are a part of an underlying fabric about how we construct language and character. As the traditional public domain tales and characters all become fenced there is no play dough for new generations.

    For visual and sound media the prospect of copyright for broadcasting is a very short step away from copyright saturation where every permutation of colour space has been broadcast by an entity and so all expression is copyright. When it is copyright owned by a broadcaster debates about whether you created the idea independently will be at risk as well.

    Exclusive rights have been a method for attaching value to creation. They are a method which nations like the US found unworkable when they were developing. Now more than ever there is a separation from the people fencing and the people aiming to create with information. Now more than ever the intrusion and prejudice of systems which operate for fencing entities is defining our communities and our laws.
    These means are too expensive of our purpose and it is time to rethink.

  • http://www.digitalproductions.co.uk Crosbie Fitch

    Good stuff Janet.

    I look forward to an improvement in the efficiency of your eloquence, for then the world will truly tremble as all swords dull in the gleam of your mighty pen.

  • http://gnuosphere.blogspot.com Peter Rock

    ACS says:

    On the other hand if I want to keep mine within the bounds of copyright and make a living from it then that should also be fine……

    I would strongly suggest that if you authored software that you keep it within the bounds of copyright. I’m not understanding your point.

    The accusation that intellectual property is akin to slavery [...]

    “Akin” would be too strong of a word. I said it “flirts”.

    a system where intellectual endeavour was not subject to proprietary rights would be to cause a person to work without reward, which as I understand it, constitutes a fundamental tenent of slavery.

    I don’t understand your point. Both free software and free culture are and can be subject to “property” rights. I don’t recall stating that I have a problem with that. Can you please clarify what you are trying to say?

  • http://www.asheesh.org/ Asheesh Laroia

    Larry, thanks. This post helps me understand your view of the forces at work in the dynamic of today.

    You’ve very likely seen it, but in case you had forgotten, Richard Stallman seems to have considered these issues some time back. Central to his ethos of “free software” is the word “functional” in describing software. The DeCSS lawsuits led FLOSS authors to claim “code is poetry,” but there’s a lot of truth in the idea that code is largely used to get work done.

    With that view in mind, Stallman wrote, “Computer programs, being used for functional purposes (to get jobs done), call for additional freedoms beyond [noncommercial use]” (*) .

    I hope considering the term “functional” and how it interacts with software vs. how it interacts with culture (reuse? remix? integrating cultural elements into personalities?) helps clarify your understanding. I think that you may be right about free software activists’ understanding of free culture being constrained by our background with functional works where the essential freedom is the ability to modify and share without restrictions on use; that’s why I look to you to help me understand free culture from another viewpoint.

  • http://www.digitalproductions.co.uk Crosbie Fitch

    Function?

    This is art. Function is irrelevant. Freedom applies whether it’s a formula for a fractal, a score for a sonata, or a design for a droid.

    Only careless craft constitutes a lack of art, although any item is a candidate given an artist’s consideration.

    And what conceit can judge which art is economic and which not?

  • Jim Porter

    Yochai Benkler has an interesting analysis of these “two economies” (see reference below), although he does not explicitly invoke that binary. Certainly there is a crossover effect between the two economies … a “hybrid economy,” as Lessig calls it.

    Certainly we are already living within an increasingly hybrid economy. Think about Skype. A free online telephone service? Outrageous. Does it threaten the commercial interests of the first economy? (Not only the AT&T land-line economy but even the mobile economy of Sprint and Verizon.) To an extent, yes (although more threatening to the land-line economy than to the mobile economy). What the first economy has to realize is that, as we shift more to the second economy, value lies in service and labor, and in convenience and accessibility (i.e., delivery and distribution mechanisms), not in static product per se. The first economy, the analog economy, has relied too heavily on a product approach — hence, its focus on intellectual property.

    Jim Porter | Okemos, MI

    Benkler, Yochai. (2004). “Sharing nicely”: On shareable goods and the emergence of sharing as a modality of economic production. The Yale Law Journal, 114, 273-358.

  • http://questioncopyright.org/ Karl Fogel

    First, why is “expanding the value of the commercial economy” more important than people having the freedom to share information as they wish, and having the freedom to make derivative works? And second, why are we so sure that the value of the commercial economy is better supported by artificial scarcity than by simply allowing everyone to use a resource whose supply can never run out?

    I know you fully expected questions like that, but I still thought they had to be asked! :-)

    Modern copyright law enables certain business models at the expense of others. Naturally, this has an effect on the nature of art, but why assume that those works which have made it through the modern copyright filtering system (centralized, gated, selectively and often anticompetitively marketed) are more representative of the fundamental nature of art than more collaborative sorts of projects? In particular, a direct parallel between FLOSS and creativity in general is the importance of the “right to fork” — .that is, the right to make properly attributed derivative works without the approval of the original work’s author(s). In the article “Seen Any Ghost Works Lately?” I’ve given some examples of the kinds of artistic creativity that flourish when people have this freedom.

    Any system optimizes for some types of outcomes and against others, but that doesn’t mean all systems are equally good. We shouldn’t judge the new, zero-cost distribution system by how well it makes exactly the same things happen as happened in the old system (e.g., Hollywood blockbuster films, perhaps the only form whose creation — as opposed to distribution — is truly paid for by copyright royalties).

    I don’t think there are two economies here, really. There’s one economy, and we’re all in it together. The question is whether we’ll maintain archaic laws that prevent us from using our giant, worldwide copying and editing machine to its full potential. True, those laws enable some business models (royalty-based publishing) at the expense of others (being a DJ, for example). But the enabling of particular business models is not the point of government, and I don’t see any evidence that the old model provides better support for artistic activity than freedom would. Suppose we found a way to bottle up all the oxygen in the world, so that we’d all pay a monthly oxygen-tank fee to one of several possible suppliers. That would certainly enable some new business models, ones that aren’t possible today in a world where everyone gets as much oxygen as they want for free. But few would argue that the world would be better off because those new business models are now available!

    I know it’s a loaded analogy, but I think it’s illuminating. An advocate of scarcity has a steep hill to climb. You wrote that the free content advocates are “ignoring an important reality about the difference between these two economies”, but don’t ever quite articulate what that difference is. Could you? I don’t see any “radical simplification of social life” being proposed, any more than today’s free oxygen results in a radical simplification of life in general. Whereas restricted oxygen obviously would radically reduce the options available to everyone: all activities would revolve around the question of how much oxygen they require and who will supply it.

    If anything, it is copyright that radically simplified the world of creativity, by closing off many options for derivative works. And today, of course, it closes off many more options than it used to, because the potential for copying and modifying is so much greater than it used to be.

    Copyright does not pay for most artistic creation, and never has. It has been primarily a method of subsidizing reliable distribution, and it was successful during the centuries when distribution relied on a particular kind of technology. But the technological situation today is utterly changed. Can you articulate precisely what you’re afraid of?