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[Nettime-bold] Re: <nettime> Usenet archives sold? (Introducing Gnettime
Amy Alexander on 15 Feb 2001 06:46:05 -0000

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[Nettime-bold] Re: <nettime> Usenet archives sold? (Introducing Gnettime!)

On Thu, 15 Feb 2001, geert lovink wrote:

> archiving Usenet for commercial purposes. This debate is not about the right
> of this or that company to make money, but about the question if they should
> do that with other people's writing, without asking permission.
<stuff deleted>
> Instead of looking back, we may as well raise the *future* issue of the
> nettime archive. Who owns it? What will happen if someone suddenly starts
> selling it to a museum or library, or as a commodity, selling it as a DVD?

the discussion actually sounds a lot like a discussion of open source
software licensing and economics issues. of course, it's not 
identical - primarily
because contributors to nettime, usenet, rhizome, etc., in most
cases aren't aware of the intellectual property rights they are retaining
or not retaining. with open source software, if you write software or
contribute code to an existing project, you are either selecting a free
software license or are aware of the license under which the project exists.
(see http://www.hecker.org/writings/setting-up-shop.html#open-source-licenses
for a comparison of the major ones.)

they usually boil down to something like, "the intellectual property
can be redistributed all anybody wants - there are no copyright
restrictions. if you want to make money doing it, that's ok, but
you can't stop anyone else from redistributing the content."

so for example, i might pay $30 for a redhat linux boxed CD, because it's
i don't have to download it for hours, it comes with
a useful manual, i get 30 days web support, etc. but that doesn't stop
anybody else from redistributing anything. (except maybe their manual.)
of course, you don't get the tech support. the point is, open source
"capitalists" make money from things other than the intellectual
property of the content.

by the same token, google might do a great job of organizing the usenet
archive on their site (it already seems much faster and easier to navigate
than deja's was.) if the open software license model held, they could
sell ads or charge a subscription if they wanted to. but then someone
else could also host a competing site with the same content. then google
would have to figure out how to get people to go their commercial version
- perhaps faster servers with more bandwidth, perhaps a special proprietary
search engine.... 

ah, can you hook up a proprietary search engine? well, that depends on 
the license - if this is open source. some licenses stipulate that the
content (code) can only go into other open source products, never 
into  proprietary software - the argument being, that it puts an end
to the "open source" aspect of it if you let it go into something that's

for our proprietary search engine problem, i'd probably suggest something
like the LGPL license. 
it's a sort of "compromise" license, that lets proprietary products link
with, but not encompass, a Lesser Gnu Public Licensed  (LGPL) library.
ok, ok, the metaphor's a little screwy because usenet is more than just
a library, but, i'm tired, and... hopefully the point still comes across.

so, getting back to geert's questions about nettime. what if we GPL'ed it?
meaning, if someone wants to sell DVD's of nettime, they can make money
from the physical distribution of it - but that doesn't stop anyone else
from distributing for free on the web, or selling their own DVD's.. etc....
as long as it never becomes part of something proprietary.
just imagine, Debian Nettime, Suse Nettime, RedHat Nettime, 
Slackware Nettime...  

would that bother us? if so, why? because someone else makes money from
our writing? hmm... how does the open source capitalist solve this one...
well, i think, by the fact that the wider distribution of nettime would
increase the notoriety of various contributors, which translates 
to money in various ways. i wonder what animal o'reilly will put on the 
cover of my book, "Weasly Corporate Censorship Tricks - The Definitive Guide." 
oh wait, it's pretty much just the major contributors to an open source
project that happens to. darn.

so, who is this we? yeah, it's a little tricky, because there's five years
of retroactive contributions to worry about; this kernel has quite a lot
of modules by now, each of which has a number of authors. i don't have
a good idea for how to deal with that, but, if it's of any help, this post
is GPL'ed:

    # Gnettime - post to translate nettime into some sort of open source
    # project
    # Copyright (C) 2001 Amy Alexander
    # plagiari {AT} plagiarist.org

    # This program is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify
    # it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by
    # the Free Software Foundation; either version 2 of the License, or
    # (at your option) any later version.

    # This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful,
    # but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of
    # GNU General Public License for more details.

    # You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License
    # along with this program; if not, write to the Free Software
    # Foundation, Inc., 59 Temple Place, Suite 330, Boston, MA  02111-1307  USA

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