[-empyre-] OSW: open source writing in the network

Rob Myers rob at robmyers.org
Thu Jan 12 07:06:19 EST 2012

On 11/01/12 14:55, Simon Biggs wrote:
> One of the first things that strikes me as particular about open
> source authoring and publishing systems, in relation to the attention
> economy, is that OS authorship is effectively a model of co-creation,
> engaging users as producers.

If we compare "open source" (free culture or massively collaborative
projects) with proprietary culture is this *statistically* true? I mean
will there be more authors in free culture than in proprietary culture
all else being equal? It is potentially true, and I think that is
enough, but I am curious about the numbers.

> This could seem to feed directly into the
> mechanisms that underpin the attention economy model, where active users
> (prosumers, co-creators, whatever you want to call them) are a
> requirement of the system.

Capital loves volunteers. Totalising schemes hate activity that they
have to work to recuperate. Capital is a totalising scheme that loves
free research. Oh, I don't know. But I'm not going to cut off my nose to
spite capital's face.

> At the very least this implies that OS
> authorship is not unproblematic for those who might fear their
> contribution to something is being made for somebody else's profit. The

Anarchists and socialists have not historically picketed copy shops
despite the profits that these made from the production of radical
literature and flyers.

> question then is how, in practical terms, you deal with that situation?

We deal with this by keeping moving. And by making it only part of a
more general project.

> I know there are licensing and other legal mechanisms for dealing with
> this - but the law has its limits.

I think it's vital to keep the reformist free speech element of "Open
Source" licences separate from the transformative recognition that new
organizational and economic forms are urgent. Trying to instrumentalize
the former to the latter will not work for reasons that the margins of
this book are too narrow to contain.

The law has its limits but copyleft ironises the law. While the rule of
law applies (applied?), this is useful.

- Rob.

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