Identity as an OHA aspect (was: Re: [ox-en] Patents and Copyright, but what about other Exclusive Property Rights/Trademarks?)
- From: Stefan Merten <smerten oekonux.de>
- Date: Fri, 16 Jan 2004 12:18:27 +0100
Martin: Thank you very much. Indeed *these* are the questions we need
to think about.
2 months (70 days) ago Martin Hardie wrote:
On Friday 07 November 2003 00:14, Graham Seaman wrote:
If I join
someone's project, I don't expect to remove their name from code;
similarly with Fedora
1. thus it is clear that is the project OWNED by Fedora - business making
money out of your labour
2. but if I become part of their unpaid labour force and then decide I want to
adopt their code and build upon it I cannot call it anything like Fedora (or
amybe even Dog House.....)
Are these not restrictions on"information that wants to be free"?
Are they not ways for capital to capture the labour of the dare I call it the
"multitude" (insert here what name you want to give the labouring masses) -
does it not place a restiction on what people can do witht heir
labour/product of their labour time? Does it not capture the fruits of a
person's labour and turn it into a commodity for exchange - the thing called
Fedora or Red Hat?
Your questions are very good. Actually they go to the heart of the OHA
debate. Indeed trademark stuff and all this is unthinkable without the
concept of power - in this case to prevent others to use your
I found this a key sentence of the threads:
2 months (70 days) ago Russell McOrmond wrote:
The issue that is trademark law is trying to address is identity. If I
am associated with my websites "FLORA Community Web" and "FLORA Community
Consulting", it should be wrong to have a third party to make claims about
Yes, it is about identity. And identity is a concept which is based on
limits. Identity is more or less the ability to say what belongs to
something / someone and which doesn't. Or in other words: What is in
or out of some limits.
I know there is some (mostly German?) discussion about identity which
I really did not follow - and frankly do not really understand - which
may be a result from not following it. At one time I understood the
concept of identity is rejected as not being emancipatory. I think the
argument says that an identity is (always?) forced down your throat
and thus prevents you from unfolding your own self. Sorry, I really
did not understand it. PLEASE anybody more knowledgeable correct me
where I'm misguided / wrong / stupid.
But I said I'd like to rediscuss this whole topic on a more practical
basis. I should better do what I say.
I think there are many good reasons to welcome the concept of
identity. Mako for instance said:
2 months (65 days) ago Benj Mako Hill wrote:
As a person who likes to be
able to know what I'm getting when I get a piece of software,
This is one good reason - an external one in this case. An identity
helps people to build up confidence in someone / something. Of course
it is possible to build up some temporary confidence without an
identity - but this means you need to examine things carefully each
time. Of course in a complex world like ours this is impossible all
the time. It is far easier to rely on the fact that there is an
identity which does not change on a daily basis - i.e. it can be
reasonably expected that tomorrow the limits are the same as today.
And this is something which exists regardless of the form of society
you live in. I.e. this is useful in a GPL society, too. So to come
back to Martin's questions:
2 months (70 days) ago Martin Hardie wrote:
How can people say one form of closedness is bad and one good??? What is the
basis for erecting these (artificial) divisions amongst forms of exclusive
property rights? Or does freedom only exist for "coders" and "hackers" in the
brave new world and thus openess only really matters when it comes to the
Yes, I think the concepts of identities is something which is useful
in the GPL society as in each society. It helps people and so it
relates to a need. There also may be internal reasons but I do not
want to expand on that here.
On the other hand this means exactly what Martin is worried about. If
there is a limit then if things go bad you need to have some way to
defend the limit. Otherwise the limit is simply meaningless and thus
the identity being described by the limits is meaningless and thus
And, yes, I think in any successful(!) project there is a point where
people from outside the project try to hijack / misuse the project.
For instance at the WSIS someone from Indymedia India told that there
are around 15 determined people who post fundamentalist / sexist / ...
stuff on Indymedia. And Indymedia India is really busy to clean that
up. This is of course a question of identity.
Of course Indymedia *has* some identity. It's not just a technical
solution everybody may use for everything. In other words: There are
limits. This, however, is exactly what constitutes some form of
identity - be it as vague as it actually is. And the people who built
up Indymedia of course feel that.
I for one find this a good thing. If I go to an Indymedia site (which
I'm actually not doing ;-) ) I *want* these people to be my filter.
I'm not interested in things they find crap. I want them to enforce
the identity of Indymedia because it makes my life simpler. Openness
in this case means to me that they should do it openly. I.e. the
process of filtering should be open to anybody interested - which
under Internet conditions is simple but usually nobody is interested
(I know from several experiences). To me openness can not mean
"anything goes". If openness means "anything goes" than this is better
described by chaos. Instead I think openness needs to be thought as
transparency (besides being participatory and other things).
Transparency implies responsability.
I think all this also can be explained by alienation. Indymedia today
is a very visible stage. As such it is attractive to a lot of people.
However, this may mean they are only interested in the public stage
they can climb - not in the goals of the project. So I think one can
say: The fundamentalist people in the Indymedia India example are
simply alienated to the goals of the project.
Actually I think thinking along *these* lines is the key to answer
Martin's question. It is perfectly ok in an emancipatory sense to
enforce limits against any form of alienation - be it money, be it
spam, or be it some people with goals contrary to the project goals.
Though nobody wants this this may include the use of power / force if
enforcement is not achievable otherwise. Of course in practice these
are sometimes *very* difficult questions...
Yes, I know this does not sound sweet. But I think this is how the
world is regardless of the concrete form of society. So at least it
makes no sense to ignore this. I even think it is dangerous to ignore
these nasty things because if they can not be removed from some social
construct then they will exist in one way or the other. And for me it
is better to approach theses things openly instead of denying their
existence. The positive aspect is that if they are approached openly
then they can be discussed and changed. This is far more difficult if
they actually exist but everybody denies their existence. That is BTW
one reason why I'm so keen to discuss this topic.
Mit Freien Grüßen