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CODE: Collaborative Ownership and the Digital Economy (Leonardo Books) Hardcover – May 1, 2005

3.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"CODE is a mature and sophisticated exploration of the most important issues related to creativity in the digital age. The broad mix of scholars, offering extraordinarily insightful perspectives, makes this collection essential for understanding this critically important set of questions."
—Lawrence Lessig, Stanford Law School, author of Free Culture

"We hear much these days of the 'knowledge society.' The usual implication of the phrase is that knowledge is something to be owned. Yet it is well known, indeed obvious, that creativity and innovation happen only when nurtured by large areas of common knowledge. The contributors to this book document the current erosion of the commons, and show ways to move forward by reconciling conflicting demands in a collaborative manner. Profound, thoughtful, pragmatic, and very readable, the articles range from historical perspective to practical advice, bringing fresh air to discussions around intellectual property and revealing how contingent are the 'norms' of today. They give answers and hope to those who sense that something is amiss with the system but are unsure about the alternatives."
—John Sulston, The Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, Cambridge, UK, Nobel Laureate in Physiology or Medicine (2002)

About the Author

Rishab Aiyer Ghosh is Program Leader at the International Institute of Infonomics at Maastricht University. He was one of the founders and is the current managing editor of First Monday, the peer-reviewed Internet journal.

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Product Details

  • Series: Leonardo Books
  • Hardcover: 357 pages
  • Publisher: The MIT Press (May 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0262072602
  • ISBN-13: 978-0262072601
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 1.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,941,593 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Jon Ippolito on September 20, 2005
Format: Hardcover
If you think peer-to-peer collaboration is the exclusive province of 21st-century computer nerds, this hefty anthology will open your eyes to its precedents among indigenous cultures and its growing offshoots in pursuits as lofty as genomics and as mundane as proofreading.

Readers accustomed to open software manifestos by programmers like Richard Stallman or Eric Raymond will find much of this volume phrased in the academic lingo of economics or political science rather than geekspeak; the writing in the first section, mostly by anthropologists, can be turgid. But don't let that deter you, for the book's first section contains some of the most nuanced perspectives on the concept of the cultural and economic "commons"--in particular, on how its European variant is only a simplistic reflection of its older and more complicated origin among native peoples.

From anthropology the book winds its way through economics, public policy, and the life sciences, ranging from flights of theory to examples grounded in local cultures. (Did you know that copyright is stifling folk singers in Irish pubs, or that the Aboriginal word for "property" is the same as their word for "relative"?)

A particular eye-opener is Yochai Benkler's "Coase's Penguin," which traces commons-based collaboration in such diverse fields as NASA crater identification, encyclopedia writing, and proofreading--noting that the quality of anonymous contributions of online volunteers to such cultural and scientific production is often indistinguishable from that of paid professionals. John Clippinger and David Bollier's "Renaissance of the Commons," on the other hand, is a manifesto for open culture grounded in scientific revelations from recent research in neuroscience and behavioral psychology.
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Format: Hardcover
This book takes off from the common observation that something is
severely broken about our view of creativity and knowledge. The
observation is usually directed to legal policies ("intellectual
property" regimes) but has implications for economic thinking and
culture as well. The book applies research in communities ranging from
indigenous peoples to computer hackers to seek new legal and economic
alternatives to foster creativity.

Each chapter in this book has something to offer, even to readers who
are already following current controversies over music sharing,
reverse engineering of source code, patent reform, etc. The chapters
that cover well-known controversies do so in unusual depth and with
refreshingly bold recommendations.

In addition to these chapters, many others offer interesting
perspectives, such as Paul A. David's look at the history of the
scientific method, and several anthropologists writing about the
sophistication of views among indigenous peoples on creativity and the
ownership of knowledge. Like Jon Ippolito in his review, I found the
anthropological writings tough to get through, but a second reading
always revealed their key points.

This book contains some important historical documents, some good
exercises to stretch your mind, and some truly promising directions to
explore in order to fix the system that controls and rewards the
dissemination of knowledge.
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By Pammy on January 19, 2015
Format: Kindle Edition
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