Aigrain, Philippe

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Philippe Aigrain = Author of an important french-language book on the informational commons

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"Philippe Aigrain was Head of Sector "Software Technologies" in the unit "Software Technologies and Distributed Systems" of the European Commission Information Society Technologies R&D Programme, in which he was in charge of actions in support to free / open source software and related innovation. He was trained as a mathematician and theoretical computer scientist, and holds a Doctorat and the Habilitation à Diriger les Recherches from University Paris 7. From 1972 to 1981, he worked in software engineering research groups of software companies. He was a research fellow at U.C. Berkeley in 1982. Since then, and before joining the European Commission in 1996, he headed research teams in the field of computer processing, indexing, retrieval and interaction for audiovisual media (video, music, still images). He is the author of more than 60 technical papers, as well as of papers on the history, economy and sociology of information exchanges."

His Vision

"Commons-advocate Philippe Aigrain, in his book Cause Commune, argues for a two-pronged strategy: de-monetising the cognitive capitalists (big pharma, microsoft, the bio-pirates, etc...), and find strategies to monetise the commons-sphere of open content production."

Comment from Michel Bauwens: "This would create an intermediary sector between the sphere of pure peer production (which could be enhance by the universal income, but is still some way off, and in the meantime can survive and even thrive through the distributed surpluses of the current system), on the other hand a purely private sphere, but in between we can imagine a sphere of cooperative production. This sector would answer your problematic: different means can be thought of, such as traditional cooperatives, trusts (Peter Barnes), and Limited Liability Partnerships (which work with eternal proportional shares, as advocated by Chris Cook in Open Capital). Of course, this would not be the totally marketless and stateless society that Parecon advocates, but if you believe, as I do, that is not feasible, then the kind of situation I describe here is the next big thing in society reform: a commons-based political economy, centered around freefrom peer production, surrounded by a cooperative sphere, and surrounded by a dwindling private sphere." (

Policy Oriented Writings

Towards a positive recognition of Commons-based research in international norms, at

More Information

An article by the author is at

Key Book

Philippe Agrain. Cause commune : l'information entre bien commun et propriété, Editions Fayard, 2005.