Open source software, a form of social organization that configures intellectual property around the right to distribute, not the right to include, is a political economy and production system process, enabled by the Internet, that makes possible voluntary, distributed innovation and collective creation of complex public goods with neither the bureaucratic structure of the firm as we know it or the financial incentives of the market as we know them.
Information and communication technology innovation have begun to transform commercial business and social institutions from a "push" technology approach (hierarchical "center out"), to a "pull" technology approach (networked -based and decentralized). This poses new challenges to social, political, and educational systems that are largely designed to support "push" economies.
"What we now know about the physics and architecture of RF communications contradicts the 'property' model of spectrum and this paper serves as a call to action to re-architect spectrum using a commons-based model."
This paper examines the notion that the enclosure of the information commons through the privatization of information that used to be in the public domain is part of a broad pattern of legal and political changes that are transforming several of the fundamental elements of modernity: science, scholarship, and law.
Commons based peer production (e.g., free software) has emerged in the pervasively networked digital information economy as a third method of production which for some projects, has productivity gains, in the form of information and allocation gains, over market and firm-based production.
In this paper, Benkler demonstrates that regulatory policy in the digitally networked environment is being used to replicate the current mass media structure in which individuals are passive consumers and argues that regulatory policy should develop and sustain an information commons for the consumption, production and exchange of information by active users.
Any group that attempts to manage a common resource (e.g., aquifers, judicial systems, pastures) for optimal sustainable production must solve a set of problems in order to create institutions for collective action; there is some evidence that following a small set of design principles in creating these institutions can overcome these problems.
The “second enclosure movement” attempts to put fences around the intellectual commons of ideas and facts in a manner analogous to the enclosure and transfer of property rights from the public to the private sphere during the first enclosure movement in England that fenced off common areas between the fifteenth and nineteenth centuries. A new way of thinking about the public domain, the intellectual commons, is needed to combat the negative impact of this trend.
Care in allocation of property rights in transitional economies (e.g., from state to private control or under rapid technological change) is essential to prevent <em>the tragedy of the anticommons</em>, the underuse of valuable resources.