Issue III

III 03 cover

Open Knowledge

Volume: 2003, No. III

Date: June 2003

Guest Editors: Philippe Aigrain and Jesús M. González-Barahona

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Open Knowledge

During the past number of decades, two different and contradictory processes have emerged in the field of the creation and dissemination of knowledge and information. On one side, the new information technologies (currently being embedded in the Internet) allow for the virtually zero-cost transmission of large amounts of information and give practically anyone the potential to be an author, by dramatically reducing the costs related to publishing. On the other side, there is a lot of pressure to tighten the control of the dissemination of knowledge and information, well beyond the current situation, by using a mixture of legal and technical tools.

These two tendencies have already clashed in several cases, and these clashes are shaping how the future will be. However, most of the discussions and arguments about how we want that future to be are carried out far away from the usual places where societies decide about what they want: only lightweight slogans and superficial arguments reach the mass media or the political arena. Even the professionals of information technology are usually unaware of the implications of the tendencies fighting in the background. Under the title “Open Knowledge” this issue of UPGRADE tries to show one of these tendencies (the lesser known one), and shed some light on the serious debate that is at the core of how our societies will deal with knowledge in the years to come.


The following papers are included in this issue:

  • The Political Economy of Commons by Yochai Benkler
  • The Rediscovery of the Commons by David Bollier
  • Language in the Digital Media: A Political Challenge by José-Antonio Millán
  • A Note on Software Patents by Pierre Haren
  • On the Patentability of Inventions Involving Computer Programmes by Alberto Bercovitz Rodríguez-Cano
  • Legal Tools to Protect Software: Choosing the Right One by Roberto Di Cosmo
  • Petition to the European Parliament on the Proposal for a Directive on the Patentability of Computer-implemented Inventions by Several European Computer Scientists
  • The Right to Read by Richard Stallman
  • Please, Pirate My Songs! by Ignacio Escolar
  • The EUCD and the DMCA in 2003: How Legal Protection for Technological Measures is shaping Consumers’ and Copyright Owners’ Digital Rights by Gwen Hinze
  • ‘Trusted Computing’ and Competition Policy – Issues for Computing Professionals The Take-off of Online Public Services in Europe by Ross Anderson
  • Software Patentability and CEPIS - Upgrade Editor’s Contribution