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This new category, created in June 2006, will focus on proposals to promote the P2P, Open/Free, and Commons-related agenda, in the existing political and institutional systems.

The P2P Foundation supports the emerging Coalition of the Commons, the Commons Network and is sympathetic to the proposals of the Pirate Party as well as the Bill of Rights for Users of the Social Web

These pages will also include records on activist campaigns.

In the related pages on Standards we define the technical requirements for an open and free internet.

The key question here is: What are the Policy Implications of an Open Design World?

Key Articles

  1. Markets are inefficient for non-rival goods. Josh Farley
  2. Infrastructure Commons in Economic Perspective. Brett M. Frischmann.
  3. Complementing the Welfare State with a Partner State. Peter Fleissner.
  4. On IP, the US is out of step with the world]. Michael Geist
  5. Al Gore on the Internet and Democracy

Short Citations

Meliorism treats salvation as neither inevitable nor impossible. It treats it as a possibility, which becomes more and more of a probability the more numerous the actual conditions of salvation become.

- William James [1]

Competitive market based allocation may be appropriate for rival resources that can be exclusively owned, but are inappropriate for non-rival resources or those that cannot be exclusively owned.

- Josh Farley [2]

The basic argument of copyright abolitionists is that people should be free to share when sharing does not result in any diminution of supply.

- Karl Fogel [3]

The future will reward those who collaborate, and that collaboration may even save the asses of those who don't.

- Cliff Figallo [4]

The single most fundamental impact from all of these new capabilities may be felt in connection with the way in which we form the middle tier of the social fabric — organized, persistent, collaborating (non–governmental) groups.

- David Johnson [5]

Long Citations

Josef Stiglitz, on why drug patents are costing lives

"Knowledge is like a candle, when one candle lights another it does not diminish its light.' In medicine, patents cost lives. The US patent for turmeric didn't stimulate research, and restricted access by the Indian poor who actually discovered it hundreds of years ago. 'These rights were intended to reduce access to generic medicines and they succeeded.' Billions of people, who live on $2-3 a day, could no longer afford the drugs they needed. Drug companies spend more on advertising and marketing than on research. A few scientists beat the human genome project and patented breast cancer genes; so now the cost of testing women for breast cancer is 'enormous." (

Alexander Schellong: Complexity requires Participation

"Hierarchical government structures are the dominant model for public service delivery and meeting public policies. Although desired outcomes are mostly realized, this set-up turns out to have various downsides. Results are a silo like, inward-looking culture, slow decision making, change awareness or knowledge diffusion. While the latter also led to an institutionalized disconnect from citizens it can cause system failures when information and decision making transcends organizational and jurisdictional boundaries. Hurricane Katrina, the Avian Flu, various non-prevented terrorist attacks are such representative cases.

In addition, public administration has become continuously more complex. Economic, social, political and technological developments in the past decades have lead to a growth of the administrative apparatus, its size, power and obligations. Market-based reforms have optimized agency operations and privatized public services through contracting-out (i.e. Public Private Partnerships) or completely conferring them to the private sector. Hence, public managers and policy makers have to work within a sphere of multiple stakeholders and understand interdependent relationships for service provision, regulation and policy making. Knowing whom to hold accountable and a general understanding of this complex system is important for legislators as well as for citizen.

From: What Can Governments Do? 1. Access; 2. Dialogue; 3. Transparency; 4. Internal change" (

David Bollier: Competing 'on top' of the Commons

"One of the best ways to stimulate competition, innovation and lower prices is for participants in a market to honor the commons (a shared pool of resources, a minimal set of safety or performance standards) and then to compete "on top" of the commons. Instead of being able to reap easy profits from monopoly control over something everyone needs -- say, a computer operating system like Windows -- a company must work harder to "add value" in more specialized ways." (

John Clippinger on the need for Trust-based Policies

"Rather than pitting “free markets” against the “heavy hand” of top down government regulation, a trust approach offers a third alternative, one that creates a “context of trust” whereby conditions of transparency, mutuality and accountability trigger innate self-organizing social exchange processes that in turn catalyze Fukuyama’s spontaneous sociability." (

Etymology of Community

Bernard Lietaer [6] suggested:

The origin of the word "community" comes from the Latin munus, which means the gift, and cum, which means together, among each other. So community literally means to give among each other. Therefore I define my community as a group of people who welcome and honor my gifts, and from whom I can reasonably expect to receive gifts in return.

Kris Roose looked to his schooltime Latin dictionaries, and discovered:

The origin of words as common, community, communication, munition, municipality is munis, a (defence) wall. The verb munire (still used in French) means "to provide the building blocks of that wall". Munition originally meant the weapons used on that wall. A com-munity is the group behind the same munis, and a municipality is the organization or government of that community. Munia are the public duties and office on those defence buildings. Communication is the interaction between the people behind the defence wall. Communist is a member of a commune, a French social and political community. During the French Revolution it was the name of the government of Paris from 1789 until 1795.

The etymology is very suggestive: a community shares a higher level of intimacy and vulnerability, protected by a wall against more primitive (aggressive, military) interactions.

Munus, meaning gift, can't be the etymological origin of community, because the root of munus is muner- (plural munera, hence re-muner-ation), and these letters usually don't disappear in natural etymology.

Topical Policy Proposals

What Can Governments Do? Alexander Schellong.

Charles Leadbeater on Three Key Policy Reforms for Mass-based Innovation

Capabilities in the information age. Philippe Aigrain

Challenges of the Global Information Society. Pekka Himanen.

Howard Gardner proposes a Cap on Inequality

Josef Stiglitz warns No Country should enter into a Trade Agreement with the US

Intellectual Property

Knowledge as a Global Public Good. By Joseph Stiglitz.

Some Proposals for Patent Reform

Five Internet Priorities for the U.S. Congress in 2007. Proposed by Lawrence Lessig.

The Threat of Technological Protection Measures to a Development Oriented Information Society: overview of the threat of DRM to the countries of the South

The Proposed WIPO Framework on Traditional Knowledge: Does it meet Indigenous People’s demands

Documentary Filmmakers' Statement' on Fair Use Makes Decisive Impact : example of a successfull advocacy campaign with policy effects. By Pat Aufderheide/

Free Software

Why Software Should Not Have Owners, by Richard Stallman.

Free Software for the Whole World, by Hipatia.

Monetary Reform

David Korten on Monetary Reform

Regional Policy Developments


  1. Understanding User-Driven Innovation. Nordic Council of Ministers.
  2. Danish Government Recommendations on User Innovation Policy and the Danish User-centered Innovation Lab
  3. Study on the Economic impact of open source software on innovation and the competitiveness of the Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) sector in the EU; Summary of European Policies to Support Open Source Innovation
  4. The Open Society Institute on User Rights, Copyright and DRM in the EU

List of European Policy Consultants


  1. Salvador Declaration of Open Access for Developing Countries
  2. Open Access for Developing Countries
  3. Towards a Digital Agenda for Developing countries

Selected Policy Resources

Political wiki initiatives that accommodate people with diverse political views:

  1. Debatepedia,
  2. Campaigns Wikia,
  3. Open Politics Canada,

Support for Social Innovation projects

Digital Pioneers, Netherlands

The Netculture Labs of the OS Alliance, Austria

Activist Campaigns

Bad Vista Campaign


Pages in category "Policy"

The following 200 pages are in this category, out of 1,959 total.

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