Copyleft and the Theory of Property

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Article: Copyleft and the Theory of Property. Mikhaïl Xifaras. Multitudes, Spring 2010 (French)



"The principle of property, i.e. the (temporary) right for authors and producers to exclude others from the use of their product, seems to have succeeded in imposing itself on immaterial goods. However, creators and users of free software challenge this apparent success : while creators remain free to regulate the use of their creations, users are not in a position to exclude other users. Thus appears a multi-layered network of owners-users, a common territory, maintained through licences modulated by Creative Commons. The author is turned into a hacker, a member of a quasi-artistic community admiring the elegance of his programs. The privately owned and the common are no longer antinomic, as properties become plural and inclusive."