Copyfair

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Description

Michel Bauwens:

"The Copyfair is a principle which aims to re-introduce reciprocity requirements in market activities

  • it aims to preserve the right of sharing knowledge without conditions
  • but aims to subject commercialization of any such knowledge commons to some form of contribution to that commons.

So the aim is to create 'ethical' entrepreneurial coalitions, consisting in preference in 'generative' entities such as cooperatives, solidarity economy entities, social entrepreneurship or any not-for-profit mission-oriented or purpose driven entity, which constitutes itself around a knowledge commons (mutualization of productive knowledge), and contribute to this commons to which they are all co-dependent."

Discussion

"Copyfair is based on copyright, a natural right which does behave (mostly) the same around the world in most territories. Copyright will cover a specific embodiment eg, a drawing or a text (which then extends to code as text). Patents however are very different animals being state gifted monopolies that recognise a principal of operation. These two important aspects of patents; the territory based awarding by a state or supra-state body; and the claims of inventive steps or principals means that copyfair or gpl etc are not appropriate.

Whilst you can open source such a project which would be typically called I believe "defensive publication" this counts as prior art preventing a patent by another commercial operation. However another commercial body can make the next step in the development and patent that which blocks the community making use of that development, if that next step is critical it can kill off the OS project and effectively be an enclosure of the commons.

However having an open source project does not allow you to enforce any sense of reciprocity as in copyfair or PPL/CBRL as you cannot force any profit maximising company to recognize your ownership of the invention. The only recognition of your invention and its key principals being a patent.

As I say I would love to develop in an open source way the technology I am considering, but I cannot square this circle, I need to get a patent to establish a "property" which I could then consider licensing at a lower fee to say non-profits in a way that reflects the goals of the CBRL. The core technology could then be a basis for a community platform around which developments and applications could grow. " (email, November 2016)


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