Sunday, March 02, 2008

I Reject A Fact

Many firms nowadays find their value is embodied in ideas, processes, algorithms, genetic information, etc. Artifacts expressing knowledge can be losslessly and digitally distributed on the Internet. I think legimate questions arise the appropriate legal regime for trademarks, trade secrets, copyrights, and patents. Likewise, questions arise about what sort of business models are likely to be successful - and should be successful - for knowledge-based firms.

A number of organizations have sprung up around these issues. I think of expounders of Open Source and Creative Commons licenses and certain public interest groups as well within the mainstream of United States politics. Maybe these are liberal groups, insofar as it makes sense to classify them on the political spectrum.

I don't think of these groups as particularly leftist. After all they have critics to their left. I would include Richard ("Free as in Freedom") Stallman somewhere to their left. Likewise, advocates of an Autonomous Commons, insofar as I understand them, seem much more leftist. I gather the name is supposed to suggest the autonomist movement, which I associate with Empire, a book by Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri.

I have been reading Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom, the first novel distributed with a Creative Commons license. This is cyberpunk science fiction. The author, Cory Doctorow, also writes about Internet technology and culture. He has decided opinions on "Intellectual property". He seems to fit into a "liberal" category, rather than a "leftist" category.

All of the above seems coherent to me. But what am I to make of Doctorow's parents being Trotskyites?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Cory seems to have picked up the cultural affiliation from his parents but not so much for the political views. I don't think this is that unusual