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Copyleft vs. Copyright - A Marxist Critique

Journal article
Authors Johan Söderberg
Published in First Monday
Volume 7
Issue 3/4
Pages 10
Publication year 2002
Published at Department of Sociology. Science and Technology Studies
Pages 10
Language en
Links www.uic.edu/htbin/cgiwrap/bin/ojs/i...
Keywords Marxism Open Source hacking
Subject categories Technology and social change

Abstract

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.

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