[Cc-uk] FS vs CC?

David M. Berry d.berry at sussex.ac.uk
Wed Jun 22 13:36:30 EDT 2005

Tom, A really well written email and one with which I concur.

In reply to Andres though, I would though like to point out that  
thinking that dissent is a 'bad thing' or that its 'unity is  
strength' are political sloganeering from the 20th century.  I  
believe that free culture offers us a more radical moment when we  
consider that our discussions, ideas and plans are all public. Just  
think about that for a moment. We are a truly transparent (dis) 
organisation that is genuinely open to others. That's not to say we  
don't sometimes disagree, or that the disagreements can be internal  
as well as external. Regardless, the discussions are open. That is  
very different from bureaucratic organisations that fight to prevent  
any leakage from their public facade, we on the contrary reveal in  
the publicness of open, honest and free debate.

This means that there is no party line, decisions are reasoned out  
and subject to contestation and it is (thankfully) difficult to get  
authoritarian 'leaders' who seek to lead us down to the promised  
land. Not only that but this is mirrored in a message that is not  
only politically, socially and economically important and convincing,  
but also allows others to see how we got here. No membership cards,  
no gatekeepers and most of all no fiction of a univocal  
representational framework for our actions and practices.  To me this  
is in addition to the message of free culture, and weirdly confirms  
it all.

Secondly, I think you are right that the multinationals are  
sharpening their knives. But staying safe and quiet won't spare  
Creative Commons from attack. Sticking to the old organisational  
frameworks (like centralised, hierarchical bureaucracy) will be to  
play by their rules. Instead, it is important to stick to the ethical  
and political principle that makes the whole thing worthwhile and  
justified. And the political can only function where there is  
contestation and the clash of ideas and thoughts. We each subject our  
ideas to each other to both test and improve them. This results in an  
intersubjective improvement in all our skills, knowledges and most  
importantly makes our case more watertight.

I also support Creative Commons, and will continue to do so providing  
it does not lose its focus and beliefs. Everyone makes mistakes and  
this includes organisations that are trying to be innovative and  
creative in their approach. But that has to be tempered by critique  
and feedback. Once we submit to the King (as Foucault would have  
called it) or the party line, regardless of whatever it might be,  
contrary to our own beliefs and feelings, I fear the life and  
animation that drives the free culture movement will be lost.

Creative Commons aims to supply the licenses, that is fair enough,  
but they do not (unlike the open-source initiative) attempt to take  
over the discourse. Or at least not yet. And you don't have to look  
far to see that the CC is supported by many people who have a number  
of different radical, libertarian, social, communitarian or  
progressive ideas.... but all seem to agree that the untrammelled  
ownership of culture is a bad thing.

- David


More information about the Cc-uk mailing list