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[ox-en] Fwd: Can the Civil Society redefine Public Domain (beyond legal frameworks?)

Dear oekonuxis and also members of the Open Culture Advisory board
(although mailed seperately to prevent unintended crosspossting),

This is something which was brought up recently in other networks but I
think also would require some attention here and maybe should find a venue
to be discussed collectively.

We all know the concept (and largely share it) that the GPL and Creative
Commons are "ingeniuos hacks" which use the copyright law to transfer (any
kind of) intellectual material to the sphere of general re-useability,
innovation and reproduction while retaining a kind of fictitious
"ownership of content" to create a legal stand on the base of intellectual
property laws.

While this has worked so far in the domain of free software (because code
can be used as self-documenting material) it might paradoxically
constitute a serious obstacle in domains where documentation of changes
and identification of layers is not as easily possible;  It will most
likely not really lead to the spirit of a New Renaiscance foreseen by
Lawrence Lessig, but to an increasing overload of creative and scientific
work with buerocratic procedures and requirements.

We need copyleft as a procedure to protect creative work from being
appropriated and hindered by copyright law. We do not need it per se. But
until now, there has been no viable alternative that really makes people
comfortable to produce in the public domain.

Richard Nelson is one of the finest pioneers I know to put Open Source
Principles to work in the world of renewable resources and sustainable
technologies; he is very grounded and centered in creative work and people
working academically about the subject would do well considering such
opinions. Rick is suggesting a new concept he calls "Ethical Public
Domain" and I thin he addresses some of the core issues that we face in
our common attempt to expand the principles of Open Source and shared
digital commons beyond the narrow limits of Software and programming.

So I encourage all of you to look at those developments and participate in
the discussions emerging. If you are interested please contact Rick
directly on where he wants to set up this dialogue and what help he needs.

Franz Nahrada

----- Original Message -----

		Donnerstag, 10. Februar 2005 02:21:07 Uhr
Bulk Message
From:		minciu_sodas_en
Richard Nelson <rick>
Subject:	[minciu_sodas_en] Re: [globalvillages] Ethical Public Domain
To:		globalvillages
Cc:		minciu_sodas_EN

Friends, I am new to this group and while I am not an artist I have the
creative experience of an inventor. I now work to my own [ ]Open
Source Definition at the [ ]Sola Roof Wiki.
I have been using the [
]Creative Commons Public License at our Wiki but I am quite concerned that
it is not the right framework for building our community and encouraging

Due to the conversation with Andrius Kulikauskas I now understand that CC
presents it's "legal code" as a spectrum from "all rights reserved" to
"public domain" - but this is not true. There is no spectrum; there is a
legal and violent path; or there is an ethical path that is based on
kindness and respect. The other side cannot offer us a definition of what
PD means. We need to do this for ourselves or else PD is tainted with
legalism. This note will add a bit more information about this significant
development (it is a big leap for me):

This subject has been an issue of some concern and it is one of those
fundamental ethical principles that we need to understand correctly and
apply as best we can. It does not help that there is much confusion
surrounding our ethical and moral rights in our work as contrasted to the
legalistic processes of Intellectual Property Law that is the basis of
exploitation and abusive monopolies. I had some discussion with Franz
Nahrada when he was here and last night I talked by phone with Andrius
Kulikauskas about the problems the we both have with the [ ]Creative Commons and the [ ]Public Domain
definitions (also with Reference to the [ ]Open Source Definition).
There is also a great resource - the [ ]Union for the Public Domain -
where we may find some help to move to the next level: Ethical Public
Domain.  This new definition will eliminate the negative and oppressive
feature of the legal public domain that declares:

"Dedicator makes this dedication for the benefit of the public at large
and to the detriment of the Dedicator's heirs and successors."

In the Ethical Public Domain definition there is no statement like the
above that will ensure harm upon the dedicator, rather there is a reverse
of this statement that "ethically and morally (but not legally) calls upon
the users of the work to voluntarily consider the conditions for use
specified by the author of the work to be binding so long as the user
finds a benefit and if a payment is called for the user should respond to
the author or "PayItForward" to the heirs or community in which the author
works or lived".

Creating our own Ethical Public Domain Definition will free us from the
legalistic approach to creative works. The current PD definition drives
authors into the legal copyright system because of the legal system
presupposes that all people will act without ethics if force of law is not
present. By this false assumption they push us into a tangled legal net
and gain the right to bring their guns into our lives.

I hope that these thoughts will help the discussion - Rick

Richard Nelson
[ rick ]rick
[ ]
Together we can BUILD a sustainable future

Andrius Kulikauskas wrote:

 Hi!  I spoke by phone with Ed Daniel, Franz Nahrada, Gary Alexander and 
Rick Nelson, and I'm following with interest a variety of related 

Rick and I agree that we believe in working in the Public Domain 
(without relying on the force of law) but would like to allow for a 
variety of moral expectations (and I think some general expectations 
such as respect for authors' wishes).  We like the term "ethical public 
domain" and I have just registered [
and asked Algis Cibulskis to set up a PmWiki there.

I hope that there we might hash out the minimum expectations for an 
online social protocol that would help us invest ourselves in each 
other.  Ethical Public Domain would I hope come in many flavors such as  It would also be the basis for membership in our Open 
People network.  This criteria lets us be open and inclusive, and yet 
invest ourselves in those who are giving and sharing, and focus on them 
as natural leaders.

I will write more tomorrow, but I just want to share this news.


Andrius Kulikauskas
Minciu Sodas
[ ]
[ ms ]ms
Vilnius, Lithuania

Organization: projekt

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