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<nettime> dissolving opencontent digest [mcccormick, recktenwald]
nettime's_solvent on Wed, 2 Jul 2003 04:07:41 +0200 (CEST)


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<nettime> dissolving opencontent digest [mcccormick, recktenwald]


Re: <nettime> opencontent.org dissolves and stalls its licenses
     Tim McCormick <tim {AT} tjm-nospam.org>
     Heiko Recktenwald <uzs106 {AT} ibm.rhrz.uni-bonn.de>

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Date: Tue, 1 Jul 2003 17:31:37 -0400 (EDT)
From: Tim McCormick <tim {AT} tjm-nospam.org>
Subject: Re: <nettime> opencontent.org dissolves and stalls its licenses

I agree with Florian's concern: this announcement of the "closing of
Opencontent" seems to signal that a concept has been disproved or given up
on, and might tend to undermine the work people have done in association
with the term and with the OPL license.

While there are no doubt good reasons for joining efforts with the
well-organized and -funded Creative Commons, I think that the practical
side shouldn't be confused with the conceptual project of settling on and
evangelizing the *terms*, whether Open Content, Copyleft, or whatever.

On the conceptual front, I believe that with Open Content, we're in about
the same place that Open Source was ten years ago: there are competing
terms floating around, few people have even heard of it, many who do hear
of it dismiss the basic principle out of hand (copyleft facilitating the
creation of content other than code), and the terminological confusion
hampers the wider dissemination of and examination of the idea.

> The Creative Commons licenses, in my view, are not
> an alternative because they are too many and
> incompatible to each other, thus creating confusion
> and preventing exchange between work copylefted
> under its terms.

right, aside from the practical issue of interchange, the variety of
licenses means that you absolutely need an overarching term, by which
people can discuss the concept -- just as people now say "open source" in
most contexts, where the distinctions between GPL and BSD and Apache
licenses would be unimportant.

So, what are the contenders -- analogous to "Free Software" and "Open
Source" -- in this battle for terminology?

There's the "commons" idea, being promoted of course by Creative Commons,
and also in the work of Public Knowledge/David Bollier and James Boyle,
among others. On the pro side, it's an appealing moral concept, and
suggests strong helpful metaphors (the village commons) and historical
traditions (the Anti-Enclosure movement, for example), and it brings
together a lot of different constituencies. However, it's not very precise
-- it could be understood to mean simply Public Domain, doesn't make the
probably useful distinction between code and non-code, and also
covers a broad array of other issues such as oil drilling on public land.
Also, the historical/ideological baggage can be a disadvantage in many
situations, just as "Free software" was deemed to be unsuitable for use
around some portion of the Capitalists.

"Free Culture" is rather vague, and perhaps a bit revolutionary -- see
Capitalist objection above.

There's "copyleft": excellently clever inversion of "copyright", but
certainly not widely known, and applies neutrally to code or non-code.

"Open Content": nice piggy-backing upon the now well-propagated term Open
Source, and it focuses attention on matters other than software code.
Minus points for possible odiousness of how term "content" gets used in
new-media settings. In my opinion, however, it's probably the best
suggestion so far, because it's somewhat but not explicitly suggestive of
the moral issues, and can be given a precise, process-oriented definition,
analogous to Open Source.

My $0.02,

Tim

-----
Tim McCormick
http://www.tjm.org

On Tue, 1 Jul 2003, Florian Cramer wrote:

> As can be read on Slashdot
> <http://slashdot.org/articles/03/07/01/1247224.shtml?tid=99> and
 <...>

<snip>

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Date: Wed, 2 Jul 2003 00:56:24 +0200 (CEST)
From: Heiko Recktenwald <uzs106 {AT} ibm.rhrz.uni-bonn.de>
Subject: Re: <nettime> opencontent.org dissolves and stalls its licenses

Maybe the opencontent license is copyrighted? It is a label anyway.

On Tue, 1 Jul 2003, Francis Hwang wrote:

> Florian, is there anything to prevent you or somebody else from taking
> up the OPL and maintaining it without David Wiley's involvement? So

If it was ever good, it is also good without opencontent.org,


H.

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