Copyright was invented by and for early capitalism, and its importance to that system has grown ever since. To oppose copyright is to oppose capitalism. Thus, Marxism is a natural starting point when challenging copyright. Marx's concept of a 'general intellect', suggesting that at some point a collective learning process will surpass physical labour as a productive force, offers a promising backdrop to understand the accomplishments of the free software community. Furthermore, the chief concerns of hacker philosophy, creativity and technological empowerment, closely correspond to key Marxist concepts of alienation, the division of labour, deskilling, and commodification. At the end of my inquiry, I will suggest that the development of free software provides an early model of the contradictions inherent to information capitalism, and that free software development has a wider relevance to all future production of information.
Contents Introduction Problem Method and Literature Historical Materialism History of Copyright Marxists on Information Information as a Resource Information Microeconomics The Commodification of Information Technology Tailored History of the Free Software Movement Strengths of Free Software The Ideology of Hacking Capital and Community The Fettering of the General Intellect From Property to Licenses - Change in the Relations of Production? Conclusion
Introduction In the 90's computer programs developed by hobbyists grew into serious competitors to commercial software. Today the only challenger to Microsoft's monopoly in operative systems, Windows, is one of these community projects - Linux. As the free software community and computer industry confront each other, the political colour of the hacker movement is actualised. According to some, free software equals communism . Some within the community vehemently reject such political linkages while others embrace free software as a radical force. I will make a case for that free software is not just another business model, as the advocates of the Californian Ideology would like us to believe, but a political project for social change. Though Marxist phrases often circulate in writings by hackers, there have been few attempts at a comprehensive Marxist analysis of free software. Likewise, radical theory has largely overlooked the phenomenon of hacking, despite recent interest in issues of information, surveillance, Internet and intellectual property regimes. My ambition is to overcome the divide and show that both groups can gain from cross-fertilisation. The article address readers sympathetic to the Marxist project and it presumes a basic knowledge of Marxist terminology. I have drawn from disparate Marxist traditions, as well as post-Marxists and non-Marxist sources, without giving much attention to their internal differences. This is not a comprehensive account of Marxist positions on the subject; I have incorporated them as they intersect with my investigation into the intellectual property regime. The first part of the article is theoretical, so I ask my readers to please endure it, and hopefully it will prove worthwhile once applied to the reality of free software.
Problem How can Marxist theory be applied to understand the development of free software?
Method and Literature This article is a literature study. The literature on intellectual property is marked by a lack of crossreferences between the two opposing views of the issue. Mainstream writings and official commissions treat intellectual property as exclusively a financial and legal technicality; they operate within the consensus that intellectual property is an undisputable entity. Those writers that do recognise intellectual property as a contested terrain also write to campaign against it. Approaches in the latter camp originate either from the experiences of hackers or from academic Marxist analysis, and the two branches are equally detached from each other. My analysis draws from the theoretical framework of historical materialism. The use of this theory demands some comment since it has fallen into disarray and been abandoned by many Marxists. The theory lost credibility when its prediction that capitalism inevitable would evolve into socialism was seemingly proved wrong. Theoretically it has been challenged for its tendencies of evolutionism, technological determinism, functionalism and economic reductionism (Giddens, 1981). By partly coinciding with and incorporating this criticism, some Marxists have responded to Giddens' comments stating that a reconstructed historical materialism holds true and is a valuable analytic tool (Wright, Levine, and Sober, 1992). A weak version of the model is sound, they say, to help structure our understanding of past and current history, provided that the theory does not pretend to prophesy the future. In accord with them I find it relevant to evoke historical materialism here because
the composition of ownership in society. At the core lie the 'forces of production' (predominately machinery. 2000). But because the forces of production develop continuously. The class that dominates the relations of production favour a certain legal. If historical materialism where rejected altogether.e. that influence the 'relations of production'. while the established order tends to conserve its position. In order to
. give a full account of the controversy surrounding the theory. i. The struggle between the ruling class and those classes it submerged (which has been ongoing) now burst into revolutionary change. these concepts and ideas would lack adequate foundations" . labour power. The prime example of this transition is that from feudalism to early capitalism."the idea that class struggle is crucial to understanding social change is grounded in historical materialist claims. A point is reached when the old establishment fetters the emerging productive forces. I will not. raw materials. but merely highlight parts where it relates to my inquiry into free software development. while Christian values despised capitalist virtues. A new social order emerges that better corresponds to the material basis of production (Cohen. Privileges and tradition prevented free social and geographical mobility and fuelled the resistance to factory discipline. the organisation of society will increasingly become at odds with its material production. and knowledge). and therefore that primacy in society flows from its material base to its organisation of social life. political and ideological constitution of society (superstructure) that will support their social order.
Historical Materialism Historical materialism  starts with the assumption that human consciousness is conditioned by its physical environment. though.
There are numerous difficulties with this theory. also implies that historical materialism up till now has been working. Still. In the same way. a case must be made that.. even if the basic assumption is true. since the
. the theory claims. marked by the autonomy of culture vis-a-vis the material bases of our existence" . Wright. reluctantly. but its failure ought to be closely examined in order to unravel the precise changes.. far from rendering historical materialism obsolete. in practice certain features of the Information Age. and market exchange. and Sober point out that "in order to conclude that there will be an overall epochal trajectory of social changes of the kind historical materialism postulates. Cohen has difficulties in assuring that fettering could fuel a successful revolution against capitalism. that restriction to the pace of development in productivity is not a sufficient cause of destabilization. such as the bias in capitalism towards consumption at the expense of leisure. however. Nevertheless. Instead he leans towards Use Fettering. Levine. This argument. A common objection from post-Marxists (and Marxists too) is that the 'chain of direction' breaks down because the superstructure becomes productive in itself in ".flourish... He says. the bourgeois class had to tear down these barriers to the free flow of capital. I have no such ambition here. Use Fettering is more promising: ". in general. wage labour. If so. in this article I maintain that though historical materialism is difficult to defend theoretically. the information age. the tendency for the forces of production to develop is a more potent cause of the destabilization of production relations than the superstructure is of their stabilization" . will capitalism be fettering the future forces of production . the theory should not be discarded hastily. the irrational deployment of productive powers. reflect and strengthen some of its features.
In the sixteenth century religious conflicts spurred the circulation of pamphlets. Great Britain developed the first advanced copyright law. Copyright in a non-trivial sense can only be realized within the context of a capitalist society. the need of copyright was created. I will return to his distinction between Development and Use Fettering later in this paper and argue that they both accord with the intellectual property regime. Performance was regarded more highly than authorship. therefore.
History of Copyright Intellectual property rights were invented in the Italian merchant states and accompanied the spread of early capitalism to Netherlands and Britain . for example. and is. and technological breakthroughs. but for the purpose of ensuring the authenticity of information. Brendan Scott (2000) argues that this censorship bears
. closely followed by legislation that banned writings of heresy. since its function is meaningless without a developed market economy (Bettig. the shortfall in rate of development . sources of information were thoroughly documented. Early forms of what has become copyright can be traced further back into history. In Talmud tradition. which seldom could be credited since most culture was built on religious myths or common folklore. sedition. and did not originate from an individual creator. Consequently." . With the emergence of a bourgeoisie consciousness of individuals and property. as is sometimes done by copyright champions. especially the printing press. a more potent stimulant of unrest.discrepancy between capacity and use is more perceptible than.. and change than. For most of human existence oral tradition has dominated.. protest. and treason. 1996). the spread of market relations. Narratives were in constant flux.
not to ensure the originator due credit. It entered a new stage with the signing of the TRIPs Agreement. 2000). Limiting the number of publishers was a key strategy in the government's arsenal to regulate writings (Bettig. The expansion of patents and copyright has grown since. to ignore that a staff of 'symbol-analysts' require a labour force that satisfy society's material needs. Marxists rightly criticize the post-industrialist advocates for failing to take account of power relationships. In 1556 a royal charter established the Stationers' Company and granted it exclusive control of all printing in the United Kingdom. in 1994 (May. The two strategies to consolidate control by eradicating anonymity and restricting the number of sources of reproduction are themes that echo into the present day. to forget that information is the result of human labour. For example.
Marxists on Information Marxists have been dismissive of literature giving priority to information over labour and capital in production. 1996). the custom of printers and authors to have their name listed with their creations began as a law demanding this practice. and (not without cause) the post-industrial hype was often written off as a hegemonic smokescreen. Claims that information would replace labour as prime source of value helped to raise suspicion among Marxists. The tightening of the intellectual property regime coincides with the increasing exchange value of information and what is held to be the coming of an information age. The notion of a post-industrial age has become associated with apolitical futurists. and to downplay the continuity of capitalist industrialism in the new era
.the legacy of copyright. but in order for the king to keep track of disobedient writers. a global treaty on intellectual property.
the importance of information in production can no longer be ignored. pioneered by Harry Braverman. 1995).. Shiller rejects the claims that information commodities have an immaterial element inherent to them. 1999). information is claimed by capitalist expansion to be produced by wage labour for and within a market.. Shiller criticises those theories for failing to distinguish between information as a resource. machinery comes into the world not as the servant of 'humanity'. partly by transferring knowledge from labour to machinery. Another Marxist approach to information technology. and the vulgar Marxist position discarding information as a mere surplus-eater of the industrial production  is no longer tenable. Technological utopias have been touted before to justify the destructiveness and smoothen the acceptance of new technologies (Stallabrass. Dan Shiller represents a tradition of Marxism that recognizes the emerging importance of information but disputes the unique value credited to information by post-industrial thinkers. it takes information to make a flint axe too. However. is to study how technology is deployed to aid capital against labour. One of the points I will advance is that this stance hinders Marxists like Shiller from recognising the growing contradiction in information capitalism that is inherent to the intellectual property regime. since humanity is divided. The change lies in that information has been commodified. and nowhere more divided than in the labour process: ". Implicit to this view is that information as a resource has remained constant. something of actual or potential use. Like other resources before. and information as a commodity. partly through surveillance.(Dyer-Witheford. However. but as the instrument of those to whom the accumulation of capital gives the ownership of the
when skilled craftsmen were forced into unqualified and fragmented factory work. shared by many Marxists. computers make even highly intellectual and artistic professions vulnerable to the deskilling process (Rifkin. hitherto most apparent in the capitalist labour process. so that the labourer/user is left without influence over the functions that the machinery imposes on her. The capacity of humans to control the labor process through machinery is seized upon by management from the beginning of capitalism as the prime means whereby production may be controlled not by the direct producers but by the owners and representatives of capital"  From this perspective. is now entering a new and more pervasive stage . blue-collar workforce operating the machinery (Sennett.]" . now expanding capital's influence through mechanisation into society at large and to ever-higher tiers of intellectual labour . 1979). 1995). Recent studies shows that user-friendly but impregnable automation has escalated a defeating sense of helplessness among the deskilled. The pessimistic view on information technology as a tool of capitalist control. has lately
.. Concerns are raising that multimedia and recording technology may mechanise education. which are then sold back in the form of commodities [. 1999).. Furthermore.. 1998). the Information Age is refining a process that started with the Industrial Revolution.machines.. A classic illustration of how technology is used in this way to control labour activity is the speed set by the assembly line in a factory (Edwards. We are talking about a process of social deskilling. turning it into a 'digitalised diploma mill' (Noble. the depredation of knowledge and skills. Technology is designed into 'black boxes'. Robins and Webster describe this new era as 'Social Taylorism': "Our argument is that this gathering of skill/knowledge/information.
this technological power is disseminated to ever-wider circles of the (western) population. However.been matched with an interest in counter-use of those technologies. In particular the general-purpose personal computer with its network capabilities has empowered a small section of the population with technological skills .] The malleability of the new technologies means that their design and application becomes a site of conflict and holds unprecedented potential for recapture" . technologies are: "[. The keyword is malleability.. Stallabrass correctly points out that falling costs is met with more computer capacity for a sustained price. counter to some Marxists.. I believe
. "[. the objection fails to acknowledge the mounting pile of perfectly operational but out-fashioned. that information has become inherently valuable.. Marxist tradition thus strongly emphasises the social construction of (information) technology. and argue that the hacker community plays an important part in it. second-hand computers that will 'trickle down'.
Information as a Resource Though I stress the importance of recognising the social construction of information into a commodity. But first I wish to give my case why I believe. In DyerWitheford's words. Thanks to falling production costs. and therefore that new computers never will reach the poor majority (Stallabrass.] often constituted by contending pressure that implant in them contradictory potentialities: which of these are realized is something that will be determined only in further struggle and conflict" .. 1995). which grants the subject autonomy over her use of the technology. I will focus on this struggle later.
A consequence of the replacement of labour with robots is that the cost of labour in production falls while the expenses for fixed capital. industry. iron. The shift can be extrapolated from capital's ambition to replace the workforce with machinery and science. steel.that the post-industrial advocates are right in that information as a resource has qualitively changed. but depends rather on the general state of science and on the progress of technology. sharply rises. railway. electricity. and combustion engines as key technologies of previous TechnoEconomic Paradigms. A Techno-Economic Paradigm stretches for 50-60 years and centres on a major technological breakthrough in one sector that affects the economy. 1996). high-tech machinery and cutting edge science.e. the creation of real wealth comes to depend less on labour time and on the amount of labour employed than on the power of the agencies set in motion during labour time. More clues are offered in a marginal (non-Marxist) theory within political economy known as Kondratiev waves . or the application of this science to production" . This marks the emergence of what Marx called the 'general intellect' as a productive source in itself. Perez and Freeman introduce the idea of 'Techno-Economical Paradigms' . primarily to suppress labour militancy. information. Thus comes a rapid shift of relative costs (exchange value) from labour to fixed capital . Writing in this tradition. whose powerful effectiveness is itself in turn out of all proportion to the direct labour time spent on their production. Different scholars have suggested coal. building on the classic work of Thomas Kuhn about scientific evolution (Kuhn. The common denominator of these key technologies is that they are located in the
. and organisational forms of that whole period.i. Furthermore. the productivity of industries depends now more on the development of fixed capital than the human labour: "But to the degree that large industry develops. oil.
However. Computer networks become both the factory and distribution channel of exchange value. not the other way around. The broken continuity can be explained in terms of Marxist value theory. However. But because of the intangible nature of
. and the transportation of this value depended on infrastructure. "At the pinnacle of contemporary production. The increase in costs/exchange value of information (fixed capital) in relation to direct labour is the cause for capitalism to commodify information. to be more specific: "Just as the processes of industrialization transformed agriculture and made it more productive. Or. materials and energy were essential to the creation of exchange value. a near consensus exists among scholars that its key technologies are manifested in microelectronics and possibly microbiology (Volland. inspecting the latest Techno-Economic Paradigm. "In all forms of society there is one specific kind of production which predominates over the rest.areas of materials. (while the exchange value of material goods is becoming peripheral relative to information) those sectors lose in importance. 1990). 1987. whose relations thus assign rank and influence to the others. information and communication are the very commodities produced. It is a general illumination which bathes all the other colours and modifies their particularity" . During the industrial period. when the highest exchange value is extracted from information. This tendency was essential in Marx's analysis. the network itself is the site of both production and circulation" . Grubler and Nowotny. The characteristics of the information sector will gradually encompass most of the economy. energy and transportation. so too the informational revolution will transform industry by redefining and rejuvenating manufacturing processes" .
Thirdly the concept of transparency. two goods are made at twice the price of one. but the moment it is divulged it forces itself into the possession of everyone. a presumption in economist theory that buyers and sellers have perfect information
.e. Without rivalry two users can consume the same information product without compromising each other's consumption. clearly nonMarxist economists. i. rivalry and transparency. and the receiver cannot dispossess himself of it" . contradictions emerges out of attempts to enclose it. which an individual may exclusive possess as long as he keeps it to himself.information. Information. the immaterial nature of information has undermined the capacity of policing. This is intimately linked with the abolition of rivalry. and is required for the property holder to force payment of the user (extract exchange-value). they argue. The words of Thomas Jefferson sum up the unique features of information. Though De Long and Froomkin recognise that excludability of material property always was "less a matter of nature and more a matter of culture" that had to be enforced by police action. Excludability is the power to prevent usage of a desirable utility. considered the consequences in their paper "Speculative Microeconomics for Tomorrows Economy". challenges the three pillars that market economy rests on: excludability. Bradford De Long and Michael Froomkin. Digital information can be duplicated infinitely in perfect copies at a marginal cost approaching zero.
Information Microeconomics "If nature has made anything less susceptible than all others of exclusive property. which assumes that cost rises linearly with increased production. it is the action of the thinking power called an idea.
This contradiction . May demonstrates. Norms constrain through the stigma that a community imposes. Their conclusion is that "The ongoing revolution in data processing and data communications technology may well be starting to undermine those basic features of property and exchange that make the invisible hand a powerful social mechanism for organizing production and distribution. though they function differently and the effect of each is distinct. material property .on what they want and what is for sale. In the U. "Constraints work together. and law.S. architecture (including technology and code). the new enclosure is concerned with creating conditions for excludability. As then. markets constrain through the price that they extract. markets. Several new national laws have been passed in recent years on intellectual property rights. and law constrains through the punishment it threatens" . is failing because of the complexity of the high-tech market."
The Commodification of Information "The contradiction that lies at the heart of the political economy of intellectual property is between the low to non-existent marginal cost of reproduction of knowledge and its treatment as scarce property" . Lawrence Lessig lists four methods to direct the behaviour of the individual to comply with property regulation: social norms. The privatisation of cultural expressions corresponds to the enclosure of public land in the fifteenth to eighteenth century. architectures constrain through the physical burdens they impose. the Digital Millennium Copyright Act was passed in 1998
. is concealed by information capitalists whose interests are best served if ideas are treated as analogous to scarce.
These national laws were implemented under the direction of what is known as the Uruguay Round agreements . The European Patent Office circumvented scheduled political decisions to be taken by European governments. displace law as the primary defence of intellectual property in cyberspace" . and will.and has been imitated by legislation in Europe. The industry is determined to redesign hardware and software to command compliance with the intellectual property regime. Bettig remarks "The initial period following the introduction of a new communications medium often involves a temporary loss of control by copyright owners over the use of their property" . established by the World Trade Organisation (WTO). Despite the rigged debate on intellectual property in the mainstream media . the non-existent constriction of the market.e. "Code can.
. and its importance lies in two respects: "as an extension of the rights accorded to the owners of intellectual property and as part of the extension of a property-based market liberalism into new areas of social interaction. Lessig warns against the false reliance. that information technology is inherently anarchistic. Simply by coordinating national regulations on a global level the net of intellectual property is tightened. As a part of the bargain came the treaty of Trade Related Intellectual Property (TRIP). It is predominantly this struggle that I now will attend to. Similarly. i. However. the rhetoric of 'piracy' has not transformed social norms to any greater extent. previously outside market relations" . TRIP was backed by American and European pharmacy companies and entertainment industries. common among hackers. The failure to curb copying is linked with the low costs and low risks for individuals to copy. and decreed a regulation that authorises patent claims to computer programmes . and unsuccessfully opposed by the developing nations and northern civil society.
But to accomplish their vision of the Internet as an ethereal market place. 1979). to ensure that the person is sanctioned for a particular function. A number of technologies are being used to realise this agenda. the architecture of the Internet has to fulfill five requirements: "(1) authenticitation. as it is believed to be the major production centre and distribution channel of exchange value in the future. surveillance has to replace the anonymity and anarchy of the Internet. Capitalists need to utilize the Internet. This form of regulation. encryption (scramble and then de-scramble file information). In short. and (5) nonrepudiation.Technology Tailored In the history of factory production. We can expect the same strategy to be deployed as consumer technology is now disseminating throughout society.S. and watermarking (helps tracking down copying and distribution). examples abound on how machinery was tailored to direct the behaviour of workers. government lists five different methods: security/integrity features in operating systems (file access). 'technological control'. (3) privacy: to ensure that others can not see what exchanges there are. to ensure the identity of the person you are dealing with. persistent encryption (allows consumer to use information while it is encrypted). rights management languages (some on machine language level). A committee appointed by the U. (4) integrity: to ensure the transmission is not altered en route. to ensure that the sender of a message cannot deny that he send it" . was of particular importance to domesticate the workforce in the first half of the twentieth century (Edwards. (2) authorization. The
problem for designers of secure systems is that encrypted information has to be accessed at some point. However. these programmes are not dependent on any central server. with state coordination backing the common interest of the property regime. Users must be deprived of their technological knowledge that grants them control over the product. and convenient to operate for users with the lowest possible skill. one for reading books and so on) to oppose the generality and flexibility of the personal computer that provides the user with autonomy over her actions. A technology supporting the property regime must build a black box not comprehensible to the smartest user. Unlike Napster. May doubts that security systems will be viable because of the rapid pace of technological development and interest among stray capitalists not depending on copyright but profiting from selling devices that enable copying . or else they will bypass the security systems . This leaves a potential gap that is possible for hackers to explore. When Napster was closed down by legal action from the recoding industry. immediately replaced it . law will urge stray capitalists to fall back in line . Oz Shy remarks that: "It is interestingly to note that these devices generally produce side effects that reduce the quality of originals and copies and therefore their value for consumers" . 2000). 2000). and thus there are no central administration to put pressure on (Markoff. Freenet and Gnutella. Such devices would have to be designed for special purposes (one machine for playing games. and then turned into a commercial outlet. two new file-sharing programs. and so far hackers have kept up with encryption (National Research Council. One suggested strategy to prevent circumvention is to bind software in hardware devices and thereby introduce a material component to the immaterial goods. The future outcome of security systems will be resolved in present conflict. Pressure by the record industry convinced the
It appears as if capital increasingly will rely on technology to regulate social behaviour in general. but soon replaced with more reliable. female employees because of frequent mischief. It is time to examine the other side of the conflict. increasingly the drive of phone phreaks was the empowering rush of mastering technology (Sterling. The heritage of the hacker community could then be traced back to boys employed as phone operators. Operating software was developed in academic settings. 1996a). primarily at Berkeley and MIT. The hacker community grew directly out of the American anarchist movement of the 60's that practised ripping off the system as a strategy of civil disobedience.S. In the following decade some evolved into phone phreaks. University campuses became a main breeding ground for developments in the functionality of the Internet. In this power struggle resistance must increasingly be fought with technological skills. It was in the 60's when the U. The Internet initially resided in military and academic circles and eventually spread to phone phreaks through students and dropouts. 1994). military funded research that eventually led to the invention of the Internet.manufacturers of digital audio tape (DAT) to install a chip that restricted copying (Samuelson. that cyberspace emerged 1876 with the telephone. like Bruce Sterling.
History of the Free Software Movement One could argue. Ripping off the system was so convenient that it out-lived the anarchist ideology. and in major corporate research facilities like the Bell Labs where the researchers had considerable autonomy. It is in this context that the hacker community and the Free Software Movement are critical. a subculture specialised in tapping phone lines and other high-tech petty theft. These
scattered over 90 countries and five continents. holds 50% of the web serving market while the largest commercial operator. has merely 20%
. Linux is challenging Microsoft's key product. the institutions demanded control over its distribution. which is now the backbone of the free programming community. which further encouraged sharing (Lerner and Tirole. And of major symbolical importance. When software became more valued than hardware. 2000). Linux. it was the machines that encapsulated the real costs. Maybe of even greater importance was the invention of the General Public License. When Usenet was developed in 1979. Software was a by-product. Linux is based on the efforts of at least 3. books. consulting each other was an essential part of the learning process. also known as copyleft . and music are released under this license . Being an operating system.000 major contributors of code. a program for Web servers. Microsoft. Windows. Richard Stallman founded the Free Software Foundation in 1985. GPL is applicable everywhere where copyright is used. Apache. Essential to file sharing was softwares secondary status relative to the computer. The program is the biggest and most widely recognised free software project and is of particular significance. images. The Foundation was based on a software toolbox. it is hard to find engineering developments comparable in size and geographical reach to that undertaken by the Linux project (Moon and Sproull. programmers were linked together in a network. Today free source programs dominate several computer applications. The diffusion of the Internet in the early 90s spurred the movement and realized its greatest accomplishment. For example. In response to this efforts toward control. GNU.early computer users largely created programs for their own needs and for the needs of their colleagues. Even in the highly organised and hierarchical corporate sector. 2000). Linux is of relevance to a wide range of computer applications.
Thus. Sections of the hacker community seem interested in including business in the community. To some developing countries. Eric Raymond compares two opposed styles of software development. the high-energy physics laboratory. 1999a). bazaarmodel versions are released frequently. Another proof of its success is that highly demanding users prefer free source code. The current trend is a growing engagement with the computer underground by corporations. In the bazaar model. partly to reduce costs. a more business-friendly licensing scheme. that chose Linux to run their computers. To fully utilise the feedback from the users. The Open Source offensive has been successful in attracting large multinational corporations. The large number of betatesters and co-developers is a major advantage because it critically speeds up the time of identifying and fixing bugs. IBM and Oracle support Open Source projects financially. anyone with Internet access and programming skills can be engaged in the process. 1999).. free software offers an affordable alternative in the course of developing an information infrastructure (Bezroukov. and improvements are
. and Netscape supplies its Web browser with the source code (DiBona et al. a zero-budget free software project often involves more working hours from skilled programmers than a big corporation could afford. Open Source was launched.
Strengths of Free Software In "The Cathedral and the Bazaar".. Fermilab. They believe that capital investments and the respectability of corporations could benefit free software and help diffuse it into the mainstream. and partly because free software allowed them more control . in extreme cases with one new version every day. the cathedral model of commercial programming and the bazaar model of free/open software programming. In 1998.
First mover advantage is strong. The anarchic ideal is further compromised by the dependency of free software developments on a core group of chieftains and/or a charismatic leader heading the project (Bezroukov.made continuously. However. contacts. Not at all.. Raymonds paper has been criticised by some as being simplistic. One such case is the BSD Unix that effectively was absorbed by the success of Linux. 2000). they leave us with explaining how Linux and other free software projects have come to outperform commercial million-dollar equivalents. Young insists.
. One survey found that the top 10% producers of free software programs contribute 72. The free software community is not as pluralistic as it appears. maybe even stronger than in commercial developments. upgrades of cathedralstyle software cannot be released before long periods of testing to ensure that all bugs are removed. 1999b). In the end free/open software will triumph. 1999). it is the other way around. ego is an important motivation and status hierarchies within the community the organising principle. Power relations based on reputation. Relevant as these objections are. "[.. In contrast. with a further disproportion at the top (Ghosh and Prakash. In property developments innovations are kept enclosed.. Raymond attests. because a successful project tends to cannibalise similar projects. shrewdness and technical skill play an important role in directing any free software development.] because the commercial world cannot win an evolutionary arms race with open-source communities that can put orders of magnitude more skilled time into a problem" The high innovation rate of free software has been stressed by many others and is one reason for recent interest by companies in the movement (DiBona et al.3% of the total code base. Neither does the egalitarian outlook withstand facts. A reasonable expectation of an anarchic mode of software production is that it eventually must balkanise.
Therefore Oz concludes that "in a software industry in which all firms protect their software. networks gets more valuable the more nodes it includes. it becomes more useful the greater the number that speaks it. the other Linux vendors will immediately adopt that innovation. a software firm can increase its profit by removing the copy protection from its software" . But institutions. This is part of the power of Open Source: it creates this kind of unifying pressure to conform to a common reference point . thereby increasing the value of the software" . His argument is that the market will force the software industry itself to decommission copyright on their products.and as commercial projects develop they diverge from each other. According to what is known as the 'network externalities assumption'.and removes the intellectual property barriers that would otherwise inhibit this convergence" . companies and universities will always be paying customers. since all consumers who were excluded from the market by not wanting to pay for the software now becomes users. The firm can thus charge a higher price for the software than it otherwise could. This is because they have access to the source code of that innovation and it comes under a license that allows them to use it . The common interest of corporations to maintain intellectual property rights extends narrow market
. The ideal model of this logic is the language.in effect. No doubt the increased payment that is charged is traded off from the number of customers that will stop paying. "Producing unprotected software increases the total number of users. an open standard . "In Linux the pressure is reverse.. If one Linux supplier adopts an innovation that becomes popular in the market. Oz's expectation that the market in its own right will adjust to consumer demand of comparability is naive. Oz Shy also touches upon comparability although from a completely different angle. Users desire compability and not excludability..
Basic motivations to engage in free programming are the rush of technological empowerment (Sterling. 1999a). and not surprising given the hegemonic dominance of the corporate sector in the United States and the greater stakes in free software for business. They are constituent struggles. 1999). creating new public spaces and new forms of community" . which essentially is a reaction against Taylorism (Hannemyr. Like the activity of many 'alternative' subcultures that are not directly defined by their political engagement. Unfortunately. The hacker community is positioned at the forefront of this contested field. However. 1994). radical theory often overlooks the potential of free software and hacking.analysis. it runs counter to the roots of hacking. However. Opposition to Microsoft draws both from socialist anarchistic principles. The chief uniting and mobilising force for the hacker underground is the common enemy of Microsoft (Bezroukov. Free software has an immense advantage over property software in not having any economic barriers to entry. "the struggles are at once economic.
The Ideology of Hacking Earlier I have stressed that as command increasingly is executed through technology. and in the low technological threshold that allows amateurs to engage in it actively. political. struggles over the form of life. and cultural and hence they are biopolitical struggles. and from high-tech libertarianism. the Internet is credited solely as a mobilising tool for traditional protest movements. the joy
. resistance must become technological too. Oz's reasoning applies neatly to the non-market existence of free software. is a recent transition. The rightwing drift. dubbed as the Californian Ideology. which in turn puts pressure on the commercial products on the market. The hacker movement is a political project.
Those values may not seem political at first sight. Paradoxically. a community). The interest in a 'gift economy' and abundance in hacker philosophy parallels the concept of 'social surplus' that is a cornerstone of classic Marxist thought.by their parents.e. and therein lays the origin of the class society . The rising tension within the hacker community are illuminated by the words of Manuel Castells: "The struggle between diverse capitalists and miscellaneous working class is subsumed into the more fundamental opposition between the bare logic of capital flows and the cultural values of human experience" . Social surplus is defined as the material wealth produced in society above the level required by the direct producers of that wealth . or even employees within computer companies . Post-scarcity champions tend to neglect the power relations in society that act upon material abundance. in relation to their population. the surplus wealth is appropriated by non-producers. while the activity in the United States in relative numbers are surprisingly low .and their existence is linked to the burgeoning material surplus of informational capitalism . but reputation only viable within a group of peers. i. are social democratic north European countries. as students living on grants. and the sense of belonging to a community (commonly recognised by hackers themselves as 'ego'. A prerequisite of free programming is that those involved are sustained outside of market relations.of un-alienated creativity (Moglen. Hackers are generally supported financially in diverse ways . A recent study shows that the most frequent contributors to Open Source. Britain and the Commonwealth are less involved in free programming than countries on the European continent. However. 1999). despite that the operative
. but they are on collision course with the commercial agenda of turning the Internet into a marketplace. as dropouts getting by on social benefits.
Young. through branding. not absolute.
Capital and Community The antagonism between free software and property software can be questioned when recalling that big corporations are now backing Open Source. The thriving of the free software community is embedded in a wider political context of redistribution. There are even companies. numbers) disproves notions on post-scarcity gift-economies. Therefore the hacker movement is political in a second sense. Quite to the contrary.S. Pamela Samuelson discounts the copyright industries as "dinosaurs of the Second Wave" . Is this just another example of what Schumpeter labelled capitalism's 'creative destruction'. explains that his company persuades customers to buy software that they can have for free. Chairman of Red Hat. Users prefer to pay Red Hat as it provides them with a sense of reliability. Young adds in a critical comment. (in relative. is the wealthiest country in the world. This irrational but non-coercive source of income. suggesting that their lobbying for copyright protection is isolated and ultimately doomed. the study supports a connection between general welfare systems and commitment to non-commercial projects. Cygnus and Red Hat being the most prominent. because the U. To confront this position.S. His conclusion is flawed because he too fails to take into account the distribution of the wealth. where young new enterprises challenge and replace old business practices? That is the view of many reformist critics of copyright. even when hackers do not take direct part in that struggle. Robert F. generates only a fraction of the
. 2001). whose business models are founded entirely on free software.language is English (Lancashire. we have to examine how companies exploit free software. Lancashire alleges that the low engagement in free software in the U.
Conflicts are likely to evolve around the control. there are contradictory interests between the two sides. and flow of profit allowed by the license especially as companies try to
. instead they can enlarge profits in other ways. Inevitably. 1999). major companies utilise Open Source if a market leader. such as distributing software to promote sales of hardware or sell supportive services. Though this is not the place to develop this thought further. Other companies have little to lose. monopolises the market. Corporations established in a property software regime would be stupid to decommission copyright. for the innovative capacity of the community. accessibility. innovative labour of the community. If communities become direct producers of value for capital. I suggest one central point of struggle. Companies like Netscape are attracted to free software. But since the profits are inferior. but from its agents (communal or commercial). and therefore that corporate engagement in free software prerequisites an existing monopoly. Another way to put it. I propose this to be a secondary choice to the preferred one.. an antagonist relationship similar to the one between capital and labour should be expected to emerge . the employment and wage situation for software programmers. not originating so much from the formal activity (free or closed software). The dangers of not making a critical analysis could not be demonstrated more clearly. usually Microsoft. the livelihood of many in the free software community. lost to would-be Open Source revolutionaries. will be dumped . is that companies seek to slash labour costs . Open Source proponents exclaim. Certainly then. having property monopoly themselves. unless forced to (Young in DiBona et al. inhouse and waged labour will be pushed out by the market imperative to cut down on personnel expenses. If companies are allowed to tap the unpaid.profit of property software. Supporting Oz's prediction.
It is daft to believe that multinational corporations would broadly support counter-strategies against this agenda. but preparations for birth. the contradiction of intellectual property strikes at the heart of the 'Third Wave' industries. the core of the future economy. To put it in a catchphrase. communication. Intellectual property seeks to establish the necessary conditions for sustaining a market exchange economy of the future.
. What reformist critics of copyright like Pamela Samuelson miss is that the sectors troubled by unauthorised copying are not entrenched. It is not a last stand of singular. becomes a producing entity in itself. Code is essentially a language. and thus offers a pure model of the network externalities assumption. stating that comparability rules over excludability. On the contrary. whether it is multimedia entertainment. backed by the capitalist state. as opposed to an economy based on free gifts. entrenched capitalists. other than incidentally when they stand to profit from 'crossing the line'. is a consequence of non-rival goods.
The Fettering of the General Intellect Marx's brief notes on 'general intellect' are explored by a contemporary school of radical thinkers known as Autonomist Marxist . software producers. That assumption. biomedical conglomerates or other industries based on cutting-edge science. we are not witnessing a death struggle. but the coordinated will of the universal capitalist class. or the general intellect. The free software community provides the first and most complete example of how a collective learning process.maximise the distance between the free labour pools engaged in any project while narrowing the conditions of use of the result . In the last section I will bring in historical materialism to outline the likely conflict. 'Second Wave' dinosaurs.
.. It is now plausible to claim. a MIT study suggests that after it became common practice in the sector to enforce patents. Robinson summed up the paradoxical existence of property-based research: "The justification for the patent system is that by slowing down diffusion of technological progress it ensures that there will be more progress to diffuse.then we are justified to ask. In the case of the computer industries. companies have occasionally suppressed new technologies to ensure resource dependency (Dunford. 1998). which could be supplied for a
. 1987).] what happens when the friction becomes the machine?" (DeLong and Froomkin.]" ... there can be no such thing as an ideally beneficial patent system [. In the last three decades scientific research has rapidly become privatised  through patents and the transition of funding from governments to the corporate sector (Nelkin. 1984). which for most part has been structured on a reward system independent of market demands (Shavell and Ypersele. as in the case when poor people in the Third World are denied life-saving drugs..because "everyone takes far more out of the Internet than they can ever give away as an individual".. Of course... that the intellectual property regime has become a Development Fetter to the emerging forces of production. Since it is rooted in a contradiction.] specific to the informational mode of development is the action of knowledge upon knowledge itself as the main source of productivity" .that is. For example. It is also a Use Fetter. But if the prediction is correct that "[. "[. 1999). Self-interest ensures an 'economy of gifts'  as opposed to exchange. 2000). capitalism has never worked optimally even when measured with its own narrow benchmark. so enforcing equal exchange would hurt everyone (Barbrook. innovation in the industry slowed down .. research and innovation becomes the heart of the economy . The strengths of gift economies in organising immaterial social labour is suggested by academic research.
Since the rise of capitalism. However. which leads Lyon to muse: "The question is. Social labour is making inroads within capitalist production itself. ownership assigned to private property has been the primary vehicle to enforce 'effective power'. ask why management is needed at all? Holding on to the means of surveillance is the only remaining basis of power that managers have over their workers" . the distinguishing and most promising feature of free software is that it has mushroomed spontaneously and entirely outside of previous capital structures of production. what will happen when workers. Without the coordinating function. but is equally potent in agriculture and manufacturing. which needs to utilize the cooperative and communicative capacity of the workforce in order to stay competitive . Take the fast food industry for example. 2001).negligible cost (Bailey. with all their new responsibilities for quality. there is a shift today from property to leases. but are withhold in order to preserve the exchange value and commodity form of the medicine. Small units of self-owning
From Property to Licenses . This can be taken as an indication of how the productive forces are undermining established relations of production. capital loses dominance over labour. as the dominant form of control over the means of production. It has built a parallel economy that outperforms the market economy. we are required to examine the accuracy of its prediction that the relations of production are affected too . The ascendancy of leasing is evident not only in the information sector.Change in the Relations of Production? Now when historical materialism has proved to be functional in describing the evolving forces of production and the fettering of those forces. Arguably.
to preside over the development of the productive forces at the given time" . or a copyright . The line is not drawn between property and licenses. Who will prevail? Recalling historical materialism. This leads Christopher May to a drastic proposal. but between opposing forms of licenses. The knowledge that capital claims as intellectual property is often appropriated from communities in the first place. is the class best suited.producers run most of the supply chain. and shorter product life-cycles. A strategy to fight corporate piracy would be to acknowledge the property rights status of specific communities. the owner becomes a rights holder (even if these rights are secondary and circumscribed in relation to the intellectual property's reproduction) and has legally legitimate rights regarding the use of such property to their private ends" . and disposed. Capital does not own the installations per se. By allowing that the product can be sold. most able. one supporting a proprietary regime and the other a communal. This strategy is essentially the route taken by the Free Software Foundation and copyleft. more diversified products and services.different incarnations of the intellectual property regime. and thus owned. one of its foundation states that "the class which rules through a period.
. companies stay on top by controlling finance and distribution channels while pushing off onto smaller entities the burden of ownership and management of physical assets" . whether it is software made by hackers or crops that has been cultivated by generations of farmers. There are some real advantages on the production side to capital in transcending the property regime: "In a world of increasing competition. Similarly. patent. or emerges triumphant after epochal conflict. incentives exist on the consumption side to replace ownership with licenses: "This is the main disadvantage for knowledge producers in relying on a form of property regime. from the farmer to the franchised outlet. but still reap the lion's share by commanding the license. whether it is a brand.
which makes the demarcation line between friend and foe harder to draw. foreseen by Marx 150 years ago. capital can only rely on its hegemonic force. conveniently mapped out by historical materialism. But here rouses a contradiction to capital. on the other hand it must suppress the knowledge power of those users to protect the intellectual property regime. In this struggle the hacker
. other parts of the community will be radicalised and pitched into the conflict. but is contested and resolved in struggles between social actors. communities will turn into hotbeds of counter-hegemonic resistance. To have it both ways. ideological confusion is caused by capital's experimentations to exploit the labour power and idealism of collectives (Open Source licenses being a case in point). and supports their case of a rising mismatch between collective labour power and an economy based on private property. But for every successful 'management' of social cooperation to boost profits. It is here that Marxism has its role to play as a toolbox of critical analysis and ideological awareness. on one hand it prospers from the technologically skilled. the direction of history is not reducible to emerging productive forces. Ultimately. It is to this cause that the cheerleaders of the Californian Ideology so readily line up to serve. It underpins the claim by Autonomist Marxists that production is becoming intensively social.Conclusion Marxism offers a theoretical framework to analyse the contradictions inherent in the current intellectual property regime. The productivity of social labour power impels corporations to subjugate the activity of communities. unpaid. social labour of users. Initially. The success of free software in outperforming commercial software is a showcase of the productive force of the general intellect. Inevitable.
movement is important. because they can challenge capital's domination over technological development.
. I stress.
anarchistic state into a mechanism for regulation and surveillance.uwo. The material for this article draws from several years of research and will eventually be part of a book on the subject. England. 1999) is what you are looking for.
. is Richard Barbrook.ca/people/faculty/dyerwitheford/in dex. I would like to promote Lewis Mumford.htm. Cycles and Circuits of Struggle in High-Technology Capitalism (Urbana. whose works from the 30s are still stunning in their actuality and perceptiveness.About the Author Johan Söderberg is currently finishing his second degree in Illustration at the Falmouth College of Arts. Nick Dyer-Witheford's book Cyber-Marx. Lawrence Lessig in his book Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace (New York: Basic Books. 1999) offers a convincing argument of why and how information technology can be transformed from its present. E-mail: soderbergjohan@hotmail. To get a comprehensive.: University of Illinois Press. It is available on the Internet at http://www.fims. His texts are easy to find on the Internet. Ill. well-researched overview on contemporary Marxist's response to the Information Age. In addition.com
Recommended Reading I would like to recommend four books for further reading. The most informed writer I have come across who directly addresses hacking issues from a radical perspective.
p. "Beyond a certain point.cnn. 2000. (New York: Wiley. see Shiva.idg/. 37. Castells.e. 478. 1997). 2000." 2. Braverman. 1998. the development of the powers of production becomes a barrier for capital.
. Attributed to Bill Gates. 3. Levine. capital. and Sober. 1996. 266. serfdom. 10. wage labour. volume I. 1992. p. Overdrive: Bill Gates and the Race to Control Cyberspace. and opinions among contemporary Marxists differ on what he really meant. Cohen. orthodox interpretation of historical materialism as G. Advocated by Baran and Sweezy as criticized by Shiller in Mosco and Wasko.Notes 1. Kelly." Marx. and Sober. 5. see also J. 749. i. p. which notes that "That infamous assertion is often attributed to Bill Gates. 1993. p. slavery. hence the capital relation a barrier for the development of the productive powers of labour. 6. Levine. 4. 1992. Wright. Marx's writings on the subject are sketchy. Cohen defined it in his book Karl Marxs Theory of History: a Defence. open letters granted by European sovereigns to conquer foreign lands or to obtain import monopolies. according to James Wallace. Wright. p. p. 7. italics in original. When it has reached this point. 133.s oftware. p.com/2000/TECH/computing/02/11/free. accessed 4 March 2002. although to be fair he claims he never made it. 1988. 2000. 9. I will follow the authoritative. 331. and is necessarily stripped off as a fetter. The origin of the word 'patent' is equally intriguing It derives from 'letters patent'. 8. "Opinion: Is free software communist?" at http://www.S. quoted by Barbook (1998). 11. enters into the same relation towards the development of social wealth and of the forces of production as the guild system.
14. 72. But as soon as the outside is engaged it becomes internalised into the capitalist economy and the search starts for a new 'outside'. 1973. consisting of workers. p. 1988. 15. They allow the user to express his meaning in action. 228). Robins and Webster in Mosco and Wasko. 1999. Arguably. Dyer-Witheford. as often or as seldom as desired. The use of such tools by one person does not restrain another from using them equally. 22: "Tools foster conviviality to the extent to which they can be easily used. Ivan Illich might have considered the personal computer to be a potential tool of conviviality. Illich mentions the telephone. and this expansion is thus intensive rather than extensive" (Ibid. They do not require previous certification of the user. but instead of collapsing "capital no longer looks outside but rather inside its domain. 13.
. Expansionism (imperialism) is driven by capital's simultaneous need to push back labour costs (wages) while refining the production capacity. Their existence does not impose any obligation to use them. 12.. by anybody. Consumer markets in the capitalist nations. p. are thus unable to absorb the increased output of goods and a market outside the capitalist area is required to solve the crisis of overproduction. p. 2000.. Dyer-Witheford. 180. 65 and 66. for the accomplishment of a purpose chosen by the user. 221 ff. p. Illich. 1999. see Hardt and Negri.11. The intensive expansion is the colonisation of culture. Hardt and Negri propose that globalisation is this point where the whole outside has been internalised. p. 272). pp. p. Rosa Luxemburg predicted that capitals infinite expansion would collapse when confronted with the finite boundaries of earth (Ibid." As an example of a convivial tool. For a comprehensive overview of capitalist expansionism.
1994). p. 1994. 21. 2001. 26. May. Hardt and Negri.. 2000. New inequalities will be created in the accessibility to information (Rifkin. p. Bookchin. p. pp. Bo Göransson and I have further explored this approach in a paper yet to be published. 17. it has to be enforced . 20. 285. 1998). See the EuroLinux Alliance. 24.eurolinux. Jefferson quoted in Barlow. accessed 4 March 2002. 27. 42. the means made available by the computer revolution (Lyon.htm accessed 4 March 2002. 30. 72. 19. 29. Marx.16. 25. And surveillance becomes necessary to guard immaterial property. 2000). May. p. 298. 106-107. p. 1988. at http://www.com/wired/archive/2. 2000. 704-705. accessed 4 March 2002.hence the importance of the state in the present era". 1990. In Dosi et al. as well as the education system (Noble.wired. today. 23. For example 26 April. 2001.03/economy. Marx. according to
. The efforts made by the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) to 'educate' the public.html.org/.org/english/docs_e/legal_e/legal_e. 88. Hardt and Negri. 28. Cultural expressions are expropriated and branded (Klein. p. Science is dependent on commercial interests (Nelkin. 1977. 22. 18. Anarchists in the midst of the consumer society foresaw this contradiction already in the purely material sphere. at http://www. Lessig. The privatising of information will have wideranging consequences. 1984). 1993. 1999).wto. "A century ago. 37. pp. borders at times on the absurd. 1999. See http://www.ideas _pr. scarcity had to be endured.
" This reflection is only reassuring if we assume that regulating tens of thousands of individuals is an impossible feat. However. 1997. p. 147. 36. If we fear that computers provide such capabilities.S.. Gail L. p. In Kahin et al. 126. p. should be seen in this light. p. 37. There are simply too many targets. Grant. 2000. full-scale panopticon. "an opportunity to highlight the significance of creativity and innovation in people's daily lives and in the betterment of society"..int/news/en/worldip/world_ip.htm. Operation Sundevil. Bettig. 2000. May.
. no one which is worth pursuing. this is precisely the reason why strong incentives exist to create a finegrated.] [A] large part of infringement is being shifted from profit making activities to cost reducing activities..WIPO. 32. One crucial difficulty to the I. accessed 4 March 2002. directed against the hacker community (Sterling. agenda was identified by Scott in "Copyright in a Frictionless World": "[. see http://www. 40. 1994). 1999.. nowadays that distributor has been replaced by tens of thousands of individuals all acquiring a single copy of that work from perhaps disparate information sources. Where before a copyright holder may have had a distributor who was selling tens of thousands of copies of a work. 140. 34. 97. 35. . my emphasis. direct repression against highly skilled users plays only a minor though complementary part in the agenda of securing the system from independent subjects.wipo. is the World Intellectual Property Day. 1999. p. as is expressed in the deceitful phrase 'user-friendly technology'. Its real momentum lies in lessening the skill level demanded of the average user. 33. Lessig. a nationwide law enforcement campaign in U..P. 31. quoted in Lessig..
Ockman and Stone. Congress made it a felony to write and sell software that circumvents copyright management schemes". p. Hardt and Negri.38.. 1999. 119. p. Another novel initiative is the encyclopaedia Wikipedia. 59.. 45.org/. p. 2000. in DiBona.. 1999. p. confirms this prediction. p. The start-up of independent media centres. 40. Young in DiBona et al. but flips it over to serve the opposite purpose: instead of a means of privatising software. 476. 1999. 49.fnal. "In the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act. 1999. because the media conglomerates "[. Moglen stated that news reporting is the next area where anarchy will triumph. global networks where everyone is able to report local news. 43. a soft drink supplied with its recipe.] with their overpaid pretty people and their massive technical infrastructure. p. are about the only organizations in the world that cant afford to be everywhere all the time:quot. p. p. accessed 4 March 2002. Castells. volume I. 56. accessed 4 March 2002. The fact that parts of the Open Source community do profit from their (or others) efforts does not disclaim the existence of a 'conflict of interests'. 108.. 17.. 105. Moglen. 41. Lessig. 2000. 1999. 1996. 2002). Shy in Kahin and Varian.gov/fss/documentation/linux/. it becomes a means of keeping software free". and Young in DiBona et al. "Copyleft uses copyright law. 39. 44. 124. Richard Stallman. 42. 1999. 46. which is written and edited in an Open Source manner (Lawton. p. Op. 47... See http://wwwoss. see http://www. cit. The latest experiment involving copyleft is OpenCola. DiBona et al. 9. p.indymedia. any more than blacklegs and informants prove that capital and labour live in
the modern classless society. Just as there always will be some that abandon their convictions for personal rewards. but not large enough to sustain a capitalist accumulation process. "At the first stage. Cohen. pp. therefore notlabour and surplus wealth are posited on the other. a Ruskin existed by such grace [. 1986. a Shelley. the small incomes of the rentier classes have been an obvious help in the arts and sciences to their recipients: a Milton. but rather because one individual or class of individuals is forced to work more than required for the satisfaction of its need because surplus labour is on one side. "The course of social development is by no means that because one individual has satisfied his need he then proceeds to create a superfluity for himself. 48. 364-365. It then grows still further until it becomes so massive that capitalism becomes untenable. Mumford wrote in 1934 that widows. productive power is too meagre to enable a class of non-producers to live off the labour of producers. 50." This stage comprises slave and feudal societies... the antagonistic relationship guarantees that others are radicalised and will 'join ranks'. and this class contributed for a disproportionate part of the societies' cultural production." This epoch of history is sometimes thought of as 'primitive communism'. a Darwin. 49. 151.]" and "the extension of this system to the community as a whole is what I mean by basic communism".harmonious marriage. 2000. Cohen distinguishes four historical stages based on the quantity of surplus that the society generates. and the fourth and final social form. "In the second stage of material development. "[.. emerges". a surplus appears. p. orphans and 'prudent sedentary people' constituted a rentier class independent of the wage labour relation. "At stage 3 the surplus has become generous enough to make capitalism possible.] indeed. which is nonprimitive communism. In
. Mumford. of a size sufficient to support an exploiting class..
actualises a different concern. manufacture and information. it could add another pipeline of resources from the poor nations to the powerful ones. In this case 'the Second Wave' refers to the futurist Alvin Toffler's (1980) three waves of agriculture. 1993. 401. offered by David Lancashire and to which I concede. 54. Part of the explanation to this paradox.. Samuelson. The location in which it operates is outside in the society at large [. "And yet there is no denying that the very communities so quick to celebrate the Open Source movement have in the past been those quickest to "cashin" on the phenomenon. Marx. p. Lancashire's observation that geography matters in terms of where Open Source programming takes place. and it is hardly coincidental that the site cheerleads for sister company Sourceforge when the stock price of the parent company VA Linux swings with the productivity of unpaid developers". 52. italics in original. while to some extent paying in-house labour back home. 2001. 191. code writers tend to be absorbed into the commercial sector.
.S. but it is a central concept in Autonomist Marxist thinking.. and that in the United States with its cutting-edge computer industry.reality the development of wealth exists only in these opposites: in potentiality.. many Marxists would repel this claim. 53. and to a secondary degree European. 55. Lancashire. Slashdot is part of the Open Source Developers Network (OSDN). and more likely to requite Open Source programmers. is that the software industry is bigger in the U. 51. Lazzarato in Virno and Hardt. p. Indeed.] is not defined by the four walls of a factory. its development is the possibility of the suspension of these opposites". 1996b. If predominantly American firms.]". "The organization of the cycle of production of immaterial labor [.. embark on a model of tapping the free labour power of global communities.
] subject to capitalist discipline and capitalist relations of production." http://www. 59. Marx anticipated this development.. 57... p. Joe Barr writes that GPL is the prime target of whispering campaigns because it is not corruptible. 1992). 136.. Hardt and Negri. Thus. arising directly out of science. Later situationists adopted the term in their criticism of the alienation in capitalist society (Debord. all activities in society become " [. 2001. 58. firstly. and affective networks". which
. Barr.1996. and wrote "[. 1999. 53. however I will use the term 'gift economy' since it has become customary. It would therefore be more appropriate to speak of a 'library model' (Frow.com/AppDev/350/LWD010523vcont rol4/. the analysis and application of mechanical and chemical laws. p. The phrase 'gift economy' was first used by Marsel Mauss (1988) to describe the economical organisation of pre-capitalist societies. 1996). 56. proprietary licenses". anyone is welcome to use their code and "lock it up" behind their own closed. they have made good use of code from the various BSD projects. communicational. The split between GPL and Open Source licensing is a case in point of business demands rewriting the conditions of community activity to better fit with their requirements. The gift economy has been actualised anew by the hacker community as captured in the phrase 'information wants to be free'. wealth. and the creation of social surpluses take the form of cooperative interactivity through linguistic. "Why does Microsoft care about these differences in open source Licenses? Well. Hardt and Negri.] It is. p. "Live and let license. The term 'gift economy' is not entirely applicable since the central function of a gift is the personal obligation it imposes.itworld. Because the BSD licenses are not "copyleft" licenses. 294. This fact of being within capital and sustaining capital is what defines the proletariat as a class". 2000. "Today productivity. accessed 4 March 2002.
27. 1994. 704. 2000. "Priced Out of Reach: How WTO Patent Policies Will Reduce Access to Medicines in the Developing World.uk/policy/papers/priced/priced.. 1998." First Monday. 15." at http://www. 1996. 67. Rifkin. "[. volume I. p. 17. 2000. 137... Marx.ideas _pr. p. 63. John P.enables the machine to perform the same labour as that previously performed by the worker . 1993. "The Economy of Ideas. 68. May. 133. p..03/economy.rtf. number 12 (December). p.org/issues/issue3_12/barbrook/. Castells.. 149. Relations of production is "[. Cohen. 62.html. 2-3.
References Michael Bailey.. "The High-Tech Gift Economy." at http://www. 2000 p. accessed 4 March 2002. p.]".
. 1994. at http://firstmonday. 1996. 2001. 66. Richard Barbrook. p. and the application of science to direct production itself becomes a prospect which determines and solicits it".. 65. p. 60. Bessen and Maskin.. 2000.com/wired/archive/2. 61. 2000. 64.] relations of effective power over persons and productive forces [. 139. quoted in Nelkin. volume 3. Lazzarato in Virno and Hardt.] the cycle of immaterial labor takes as its starting point a social labor power that is independent and able to organize both its own work and its relation with business entities". 63. Cohen. p.org. Lyon. Robinson. Barlow. pp.wired. Innovation then becomes a business. 1984. accessed 4 March 2002. accessed 4 March 2002.oxfam.
2000. number 10 (October).com/AppDev/350/LWD010523vcont rol4/. 2001. accessed 4 March 2002. 2000.researchoninnovation." First Monday.Joe Barr. 138-157. The Rise of the Network Society.A. Information age.org/issues/issue4_10/bezroukov/. accessed 4 March 2002. Harry Braverman. 1996. James Bessen and Eric Maskin. Mass. Roland V. Murray Bookchin. New York: Zone Books. Oxford: Clarendon Press. 1999a. 1977. "Open Source Development as a Special Type of Academic Research (Critique of Vulgar Raymondism). Chris DiBona." at http://www. Nikolai Bezroukov. Copyrighting Culture: The Political Economy of Intellectual Property. accessed 4 March 2002. Bettig. volume 4. "Sequential Innovation. 1994.: Westview Press. accessed 4 March 2002. Roland V. Cohen." Critical Studies in Mass Communication. Post-Scarcity Anarchism. number 12 (December). volume 4. Colo. and Imitation.pdf.org/issues/issue4_12/bezroukov/. Bettig. Nikolai Bezroukov." http://www. number 2 (June). 1997 "The Enclosure of Cyberspace. New York: Monthly Review Press. The Society of the Spectacle. at http://firstmonday. Sam Ockman and Mark Stone (editors). Karl Marx's Theory of History: A Defence.
. volume 1. Manuel Castells. G. Malden. Guy Debord. 1998. volume 14. "A Second Look at the Cathedral and the Bazaar. Boulder. "Live and let license. 1996. Montreal: Black Rose Books. 1999b. Patents. pp. at http://firstmonday." First Monday.itworld. Labor and Monopoly Capital: The Degradation of Work in the Twentieth Century.: Blackwell.org/patent.
: University of Illinois Press. Nick Dyer-Witheford. "Technology and Pleasure: Considering Hacking Constructive. number 219 (September-October). A Contemporary Critique of Historical Materialism. number 4. accessed 4 March 2002. volume 32. "Towards the Fifth Kondratiev Upswing: Elements of am Emerging New Growth Phase and Possible Development Trajectories. Anthony Giddens. Giovanni Dosi." First Monday. Ill. number 2 (February). at http://firstmonday. Contested Terrain: The Transformation of the Workplace in the Twentieth Century. Urbana. pp. "Information as Gift and Commodity. Rishab Ghosh and and Vipul Ved Prakash. volume 5. volume 5. accessed 4 March 2002. number 7 (July). Arnulf Grubler and Helga Nowotny. Calif.
. 2000. Gisle Hannemyr. 1988. 1999. Richard Dunford." International Journal of Technological Management. pp. Richard Edwards.org/issues/issue4_2/gisle/. Gerald Silverberg and Luc Soete (editors). 89108. Sebastopol. Empire. 1999. Cyber-Marx: Cycles and Circuits of Struggle in High-Technology Capitalism." First Monday. Richard Nelson. 1990. John Frow. Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri. "The Orbiten Free Software Survey. 1995. at http://firstmonday. London: Pinter. 431-471.1999. New York: Basic Books. 1996. 512-525. Technical Change and Economic Theory.org/issues/issue5_7/ghosh/. 2000. pp. 1979. 1987. "The Suppression of Technology. Second edition. Christopher Freeman." New Left Review. volume 4. Open Sources: Voices from the Open Source Revolution. London: Macmillan." Administrative Science Quarterly.: O'Reilly & Associates.
Tools for Conviviality. Graham Lawton. No Logo: Taking Aim at the Brand Bullies. pp. 34-37. 1973." National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) Working Paper number w7600. at http://firstmonday. 2000. Mass. number 12 (December). 2000. 622-687. David Lyon. New York: Picador. The Electronic Eye: The Rise of the Surveillance Society.: MIT Press.: Harvard University Press. Thomas S. number 1 (January). Chicago: University of Chicago Press. accessed 4 March 2002. Varian (editors). David Lancashire." Harvard Law Review. "Code. number 2328 (2 February).newscientist. "Free Source as Free Thought: Architecting Free Standards. accessed 4 March 2002. volume 61. "The Great Giveaway." First Monday. Cambridge. Third edition.jsp. at http://firstmonday. Internet Publishing and Beyond. volume 6. London: Calder and Boyars. 2001. 1996. abstract at http://papers. Culture and Cash: The Fading Altruism of Open Source Development. Michael Heller. Lawrence Lessig. pp. 2000.nber.
. John Lerner and Jean Tirole. Brian Kahin and Hal R. "The Simple Economics of Open Source. volume 5." New Scientist. and at http://www. Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace New York: Basic Books.org/papers/w7600.org/issues/issue5_1/mann/. The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Ivan Illich. Kuhn. 2002. Steve Mann.org/issues/issue6_12/lancashire/. 1998. "The Tragedy of Anticommons: Property in the Transition from Marx to Markets. 1994. 2000.com/hottopics/copyleft/copyleft art. Mass. accessed 4 March 2002. Naomi Klein. A. London: Polity Press.Cambridge. accessed 4 March 2002. 1999." First Monday.
." First Monday. The Gift: Forms and Functions of Exchange in Archaic Societies. accessed 4 March 2002. Marcel Mauss. Eben Moglen. Lewis Mumford. Science as Intellectual Property: Who Controls Research? New York: Macmillan. number 11 (November). Madison. "The Concept of Copyright Fights for Internet Survival. 1999. 1984. "Essence of Distributed Work: The Case of the Linux Kernel. volume 5.html. Global Political Economy of Intellectual Property Rights: The New Enclosure? London: Routledge.nytimes. 1993. "Anarchism Triumphant: Free Software and the Death of Copyright. London: Penguin. Christopher May. David F. "Digital Diploma Mills: The Automation of Higher Education. accessed 4 March 2002. Noble. Washington D.org/issues/issue4_8/moglen/. 1986. National Research Council. number 1 (January). Dorothy Nelkin. 2000. Wis." First Monday.com/library/tech/00/05/biztech/articl es/10digital. London: Freedom Press. London: Penguin. Foundations of the Critique of Political Economy. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul. volume 3.: National Academy Press. Capital.: University of Wisconsin Press. The Digital Dilemma: Intellectual Property in the Information Age. Karl Marx. accessed 4 March 2002.John Markoff." at http://www. Vincent Mosco and Janet Wasko (editors). 2000. Jae Yun Moon and Lee Sproull. volume 4. 1988. Karl Marx. 1988." First Monday. Grundrisse. 2000. at http://firstmonday. number 8 (August). The Future of Technics & Civilization. The Political Economy of Information. at http://firstmonday.org/issues/issue5_11/moon/. 1990. 1999.C.
" First Monday. accessed 4 March 2002. volume 6. at http://firstmonday.org/issues/issue3_1/noble/. 1996a. 1999. Pamela Samuelson. Steven Shavell and Tanguy van Ypersele. accessed 4 March 2002. Pamela Samuelson.org/issues/issue3_3/raymond/.01/white.P. accessed 4 March 2002. pp. "Regulation of Technologies to Protect Copyrighted Works. 17-22. Jeremy Rifkin.paper_p r. volume 4. at http://firstmonday. 1996b. accessed 4 March 2002. New York: G. Raymond." First Monday. Brendan Scott. number 9 (September). "Copyright in a Frictionless World: Toward a Rhetoric of Responsibility. Eric S." National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) Working Paper
. 1998a. "Rewards versus Intellectual Property Rights." Wired. The End of Work: The Decline of the Global Labor Force and the Dawn of the PostMarket Era. number 1 (January). 134-138. The Age of Access: How the Shift from Ownership to Access is Transforming Capitalism. London: Penguin. volume 3. Raymond. Eric S.org/issues/issue6_9/scott/. pp. number 10 (October). "The Cathedral and the Bazaar. 1995. The Corrosion of Character: The Personal Consequences of Work in the New Capitalism. 1998b. Putnam's Sons. and at http://www. number 3 (March). 2000.html.org/issues/issue3_10/raymond/. at http://firstmonday. volume 3. 188192. 2001. number 7 (July). volume 39.wired. "Homesteading the Noosphere. "The Copyright Grab. Jeremy Rifkin. accessed 4 March 2002.com/wired/archive/4." First Monday. New York: Norton." Communication of the ACM.http://firstmonday. 1999. Richard Sennett.
Craig S. 1986. pp. volume 60." Ecologist.number w6956. Wolpert and Joyce Friedman Wolpert. Radical Thought in Italy: A Potential Politics. volume 32." New Left Review. 123-145. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press." Technological Forecasting and Social Change. 1995. Paolo Virno and Michael Hardt (editors). Reconstructing Marxism: Essays on Explanation and the Theory of History. 1980. number 211 (May-June). accessed 4 March 2002. Bruce Sterling. pp. The Hacker Crackdown: Law and Disorder on the Electronic Frontier. 1994. 40-43. number 2 (September). London: Penguin. 3-32. Alvin Toffler. 2000. 1987. pp. Andrew Levine and Elliott Sober. Volland. "A Comprehensive Theory of Long Wave Cycles. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold.
. "Empowering Technology: The Exploration of Cyberspace. Vandana Shiva. number 6 (September). abstract at http://papers.org/papers/W6956. New York: Morrow. Samuel A. Erik Olin Wright. The Third Wave. Economics of Information. 1992. Julian Stallabrass. 1996. "The Threat to Third World Farmers. London: Verso.nber.