[p2p-research] open green R&D

Ryan Lanham rlanham1963 at gmail.com
Wed Aug 19 15:22:50 CEST 2009

It seems to me that many of these questions have already been addressed at
some length in the literature on university intellectual property.  There is
even an association and a journal dedicated to that topic.

The first questions one would need to answer are...why aren't public
universities focused on advancing the common good?  The answer seems to be
that local economic needs trump positive feelings.  People want corporations
for employment and growth in a place, so the expectation is that states will
use their intellectual juice to grow the economy--locally.  To turn the
problem on its head, why would any PLACE act so as to serve others?  And why
would any larger place (e.g. a US state) fund such a venture in difficult
financial times?

Another approach to the problem is to consider something like the Gates
Foundation which is trying to do global good based on a collected fortune or
two (mostly Gates and Warren Buffet).  Why do they act so as to help places
they do not have an interest in with intellectual property (e.g. vaccines)
that can aid all of humanity?

In other words, there are examples of selflessness on huge and valuable
projects, but typically in association with wealth.  There are examples of
incremental giving to a commons (i.e. P2P) but those typically involve
relatively small and disorganized efforts of low economic value.  Things
like Mozilla and Apache are the mysteries in my book.  What are they?  Or,
more importantly, why are they?

Civil society is the thread or name of the wave that includes those efforts
by humans to do more for other humans without significant economic personal
gain.  Communism is (or has been) state-enforced compulsory civil society.
It is fair to say that is a failure.  So now the questions radiate from the
issues associated with voluntary civil society and modes of participation
and leadership of that framework.

One would think that we'd have a clear idea of the ecology and logic of
civil society development but we do not.  It depends on the larger economic
and social ecosystems in which it is found.  A personal frustration is that
people disregard these pre-existing conditions and just assume they can
enter with an axe and build whatever civil society they want regardless of
context.  Those are the one-world futurists who are typically deterministic
as to what approaches will work and not work...that is, they are
judgmental/deontological.  Such people are typically advocates for a
philosophy or a way of doing/being rather than context, fit and evolution.

So my questions on this topic are...why would it work?  Why would someone
invest?  And why would it be located/place-based.  It seems to me that
localism is necessarily globalized for want of being competitively
positioned.  Virtual organizations and distributed processes have a far
better prospect of being P2P.  If one localizes, one will never be oriented
to a commons...at least that's my new theory.


On Wed, Aug 19, 2009 at 1:08 AM, Chris Watkins <chriswaterguy at appropedia.org
> wrote:

> This was posted to Appropedia at
> http://www.appropedia.org/User:Buddhanoir/Energy_outline - the contributor
> has asked for feedback. (Add your comments on that page or its talk page,
> and I'll also point the contributor at any responses on this thread).
> Thanks,
> Chris
> User:Buddhanoir/Energy outline
> Hello Appropedia Energy Community,
> I am currently working on a MBA dissertation with a special focus on
> renewable energy. In writing my literature review, I focused on 3 different
> areas of research (open innovation, open source, and stakeholder theory).
> Here is a condensed break-down of the paper:
> 1. Green R&D is non-profit company whose sole purpose is to assist with
> innovation. In addition to keeping a stable of paid scientists and
> researchers, Green R&D also oversees financing, budgeting, patent
> applications, and litigation. It essentially pays for the more expensive
> aspects of Renewable Energy research that freelance scientists might not be
> able to afford if they worked in more open source-style collaboration. It
> also assists with long-term planning, suppliers, contracts, etc. All
> prototypes and research are placed under a GPL-style license.
> 2. Green R&D opens it findings to the public for contributions, thus
> benefiting from peer-to-peer production and input. Scientists, researchers,
> and laypeople around the world collaborate, adding to the growing pool of
> research. Whenever technically feasible, new improvements and discoveries
> are placed under the same GPL-style license.
> 3. Private firms may use this public information for its own purposes, but
> in doing so, it must pay a royalty. The royalty would have to be carefully
> determined to minimize cheating while maximizing payments.
> 4. A volunteer watch group ensures compliance between privatized products
> and royalty payments. I'm still working on the incentive structure for this
> watch group, although http://www.peertopatent.org/ offers some useful
> insights on how this might work. I'm also still working on a way to properly
> measure royalty payments.
> 5. Royalty payments go back to the Green R&D solely for the purpose of
> future research. There are no "profits" per se. Green R&D exists only to
> make renewable energy financing possible. The entire system is more of an
> innovation machine than it is a "business model." It helps brings Inventors
> and Entrepreneurs together if and when the former lacks sufficient capital
> to get started.
> There are a few areas I have yet to resolve with the above model, and I was
> hoping you might be able to advise me on the best approach:
> 1. Financing....how do we finance the initial start-up capital necessary
> for this venture? Traditional investors would be hard to implement since
> open source and profit are often at odds. Would volunteer contributors get
> involved if they knew that their efforts would make someone else rich? I've
> considered crowdfunding as an option. And government assistance would be
> very helpful (although I prefer not to remain dependent on antyhing
> government related.
> 2. Governance....who would actually be in charge of Green R&D? In the
> absence of investors, to whom is Green R&D responsible? How do you sanction
> bad behavior or poor performance? Who decides on the allocation of funds?
> 3. Measuring IP.....in the programming world, it is "relatively" easy to
> enforce dual licensing since one need only compare the final code to the
> original to determine percentage overlap. Cheaters exist, but catching them
> and prosecuting them is fairly straightforward. In the research, science,
> and technology worlds, however, enforcing dual licensing seems much more
> difficult. If the OS community creates prototype A....and a private firm
> takes prototype A, makes changes, and sells it as its own, how do you detect
> this? I recommended a volunteer watchgroup, but I'm not sure how that would
> work exactly. And even if the watchgroup caught all cheaters, how do you
> measure what percentage of the original technology was used in the final
> product. What if a private firm makes many many changes to Prototype A while
> another firm only makes minor changes to Prototype A? How do you determine
> what royalties both firms should pay?
> Does anyone have suggestions for the above areas (or other areas I need to
> explore more carefully. In addition, does anyone know of an existing
> community of freelance researchers and scientists who already work in the
> renewable energy sector? For some of my primary research, I need to talk to
> those who might potentially be involved with the above business model. I've
> already spoken with energy scientists from corporate firms and with P2P
> experts, but finding those in the middle (i.e. P2P energy scientists) has
> been difficult.
> Anyway, hope all is well. Thanks again for all the previous assistance you
> offered...and thanks in advance for any additional insights you might be
> able to provide.
> -Buddhanoir
> --
> Chris Watkins
> Appropedia.org - Sharing knowledge to build rich, sustainable lives.
> identi.ca/appropedia / twitter.com/appropedia
> blogs.appropedia.org
> I like this: five.sentenc.es
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