[-empyre-] Intellectual property: hacking communities and traditional knowledge

Zac Zimmer zacz at vt.edu
Wed Apr 30 06:14:51 EST 2014


Thank you to Rob, Pedro, and David for your thoughtful responses.
David makes explicit some of the concerns I touched upon generally and
tangentially, and the issues he raises must be accounted for as we continue
our reflections on critical making and international networks.
The FLOK Society project is indeed interesting and deserves further
attention. I look forward to studying it in detail.
Rob's suggestion to hack trade secret law in order to handle traditional
knowledge is also a thought provoking proposal. In fact, countries like
Peru keep a confidential register of traditional knowledge (in addition to
the public one) for precisely this reason. That said, I wonder if we give
up too much already at the outset by using "licenses" and "trade secrets"
as the tools for solving the problem?

All best,

Zac Zimmer
Assistant Professor of Spanish
313 Major Williams Hall
Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures
Virginia Tech
Blacksburg VA 24061



On Sun, Apr 27, 2014 at 11:10 PM, Rob Myers <rob at robmyers.org> wrote:

> ----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
> On 27/04/14 10:13 AM, pedro wrote:
> >
> > you will find here reference to the proposal of a Peer Production
> > License license which attempts to respond to the problematics you
> mention.
> >
> http://en.wiki.floksociety.org/w/Research_Plan#The_potential_role_of_commons-based_reciprocity_licenses_to_protect_traditional_knowledge
>
> The danger of adopting a socialist critique of capital (implemented as a
> discriminatory license that presupposes particular economic forms for
> traditional knowledge) is that doing so may constitute simply moar
> colonialism.
>
> Where traditional knowldge can be copyrighted, copyleft can be used to
> prevent the enclosure of traditional knowledge by private interests and
> to return any value in kind generated. But it cannot prevent the
> diffusion of trditional knowledge into settler societies (...its
> cultural appropriation).
>
> Where knowledge is both traditional and secret I think a better approach
> would be to form a trust or novel corporation and use trade secret law.
>
> It's easy to imagine incompatible discriminatory licenses for separate
> traditions but these would not be free or open. Despite this I'd be very
> interested to see any discriminatory licenses for particular traditions.
> I think that would be a neat hack despite my political misgivings.
>
> - Rob.
>
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