Viral Spiral: How the Commoners Built a Digital Republic of by David Bollier

By David Bollier

A lovely narrative background of the emergence of digital "free culture," from open-source software program and artistic Commons licenses to remixes and internet 2.0—in the culture of Lawrence Lessig's Free Culture.
A global equipped round centralized keep watch over, strict highbrow estate rights, and hierarchies of credentialed specialists is lower than siege. A greatly diversified order of society according to open entry, decentralized creativity, collaborative intelligence, and inexpensive and simple sharing is ascendant. —from Viral Spiral

From unfastened and open-source software program, inventive Commons licenses, Wikipedia, remix track and video mashups, peer creation, open technological know-how, open schooling, and open enterprise, the area of electronic media has spawned a brand new "sharing economy" that more and more competes with entrenched media giants.

Reporting from the guts of this "free culture" circulation, journalist and activist David Bollier offers the 1st entire heritage of the try out via an international brigade of techies, attorneys, artists, musicians, scientists, businesspeople, innovators, and geeks of all stripes to create a electronic republic devoted to freedom and innovation. Viral Spiral—the time period Bollier cash to explain the almost-magical method wherein web clients can come jointly to construct on-line commons and tools—brilliantly interweaves the disparate strands of this eclectic stream. the tale describes significant technological advancements and pivotal felony struggles, in addition to interesting profiles of hacker Richard Stallman, copyright student Lawrence Lessig, and different colourful figures.

A milestone in reporting on the web via one in every of our best media critics, Viral Spiral is for somebody looking to take the complete degree of the hot electronic era.

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As one of the first people to confront the deep tensions between proprietary control and the public domain in software development, Stallman has achieved that rare pinnacle in the high-tech world, the status of celebrity geek. Besides his programming prowess, he is renowned for devising the GNU General Public License, more commonly known as the GPL, an ingenious legal mechanism to protect shared software code. Stallman—or RMS, as he likes to be called—has become an iconic figure in the history of free culture in part because he showed courageous leadership in protecting the commons well before anyone else realized that there was even a serious problem.

Department of Justice, which filed an antitrust lawsuit against the company. Software competitors such as Hewlett-Packard, Sun Microsystems, and IBM found that rallying behind an open-source alternative—one that was legally protected against being taken private by anyone else— offered a terrific way to compete against Microsoft. Meanwhile, the once-free Unix software program was becoming a fragmented mess. So many different versions of Unix were being sold that users were frustrated by the proliferation of incompatible proprietary versions.

This made it much easier for Mattel to threaten people who did parodies of Barbie dolls. The Village Voice could more credibly threaten the Cape Cod Voice for trademark infringement.

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