January 29, 2004

Something new in Free Software?

Intellectual property rights and their protection have become the favorite battleground for global capitalistic expansion.

In developed countries, the most important input (factor) to productive processes of all kinds is know-how, meaning both technology and information
workflows. From here, instructions to run and control productive processes of material goods are sent to the developing world, where most of these
processes actually take place.

Patents are a means of satisfying market requirements for transforming knowledge, ('merchandise' that, due to its very nature, can be exchanged
indefinitely) into a scarce resource, in such a way that market-driven exploitation and control mechanisms can be applied to them just as with any
traditional goods.

This is why a central concern of the movement for global justice is to shake off the shackles that markets would like to use to imprison knowledge.

What is necessary is a model of intellectual property protection alternative to the current one, which can be effectively countered within civil
society and at the level of government or political institutions. This alternative model should prevent the commercial exploitation of knowledge
from creating obstacles to its further development, on the one hand, and from building up invisible monopolies, on the other.

Link: zmag.org


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