George N. Dafermos on Fri, 15 Dec 2006 23:05:50 +0100 (CET)

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Re: Re: <nettime> Copyright, Copyleft and the Creative Anti-Commons

Apropos of Anna Nimus's text,

Felix Stalder wrote:

"Which seems to leave as the conclusion that within capitalism the
structure of copyright, or IP more generally, doesn't really matter,
because it either supports directly fundamentally-flawed notions
of property (à la CC), or it does not prevent the common resource
to be used in support of capitalist ends (à la GPL). In this view,
copyfights appear to articulate a "secondary contradiction" within
capitalism, which cannot solved as long as the main contradition, that
between labor and capital, is not redressed.

Is that it?"

It is indeed interesting to see how the meaning of a text is
reproduced -differently - within the heads of different people. I
read the text, but didn't trace any contradictions in the syllogisms
put forth: in fact, I'd say they resonated with my own feelings
about Creative Commons: their inability to influence policy making,
let alone ignite a society-wide discussion about the property
form itself. In my opinion, even on a purely technical level, the
entire spectrum of licenses (perhaps with the sole exception of the
attribution sharealike?) offered by CC only facilitate that anything
posted on the Web, any word posted on a weblog, is easier to enclose
within the bounds of copyright law in accord with the mandates of
an irrational...or rather, in accord with irrational mandates. Put
bluntly: Creative Commons is a commercial in which the figure of the
revolution and the theme of the freedom of information entwine with
the Creative Author to commodify more things. Of course, this is not
the case with the GPL: while it allows commercial (re)use, it does not
permit private appropriation - and this is important, but I will not
make this digression even longer than it necessarily has to be, and
besides I don't think that a long analysis of the licenses discussed
in the essay is capturing the essence of the discussion: intellectual
property is property. Unless we are willing to err on metaphysics,
which I find unlikely, we must admit that the distinctions and the
categories forced upon the discussion by Lessig et al. (that is,
that intellectual property is fundamentally different from material
property because it can be reproduced at negligible or no cost, and
whatever follows) are nonsensical to say the least, and reactionary at

That said, neither the GPL, even when applied to the totality of
material production, begets a world freed from private property. "The
relation of private property remains the relationship of the community
to the world of things...the community as universal capitalist". What
is however equally important is that "ultimately this movement to
oppose universal private property to private property is expressed in
bestial form". Which makes things infinitely more interesting than a
contradictory regime predicated on what is fair to use, and what is
not on the basis not of your needs, but on the inherent properties of
the product. Whereas, in antithesis to this predicate, a GPL'ed regime
recognises my need and the instrinsic qualities of the product (of the
object of my need) as the same, thus avoiding the antinomy to which CC
myopically subscribes.


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