[permaculture] Svar: Re: Intellectual property

fdnokes at hotmail.com fdnokes at hotmail.com
Fri Nov 13 18:06:13 EST 2009

Interesting points, Gavin.
I would like to add some further side notes to the discussion.
If we take a moment to consider the longer view, too, we see that the 
proliferation of gmo's has created a huge threat to the very dna of the 
plants and animals whose growth we serve to foster. Cross pollination has 
meant that farmer's entire crops of flax seed, for example, are disqualified 
from import to Europe because of gmo analysis.
This means that the food we grow in our own backyards has and will be more 
and more contaminated.
In this age, it is a challenge to get the truth out as to how it is possible 
to farm by supporting nature rather than attacking it.
The purity of our water, our earth and our air do depend upon it.
Everything is connected is the message of this.  For better or for worse.
Many blessings on all the fine works of the people on this list.
It was a wonderful idea to send a copy of the book to Uruguay.
My experience in Costa Rica, however, has taught me that even the mails are 
So, we can send things, but they don't always arrive.
Best wishes to all,

From: <gavinraders at gmail.com>
Sent: Friday, November 13, 2009 2:58 PM
To: "permaculture" <permaculture at lists.ibiblio.org>
Subject: Re: [permaculture] Svar: Re:  Intellectual property

> Thank you Cristophe for a perspective from outside the bubble.  Whatever 
> happened to redistributing the surplus? The farmer shouldn't share his 
> produce? What?!  From everything I've heard from Mollison, I can't imagine 
> he'd be opposed to ppl in the so-called third world receiving his book for 
> free.
>  I hope we all realize that many people of color, and specifically people 
> of color who are agro-ecologists and others doing the real work of 
> permaculture on the ground without ever calling it that, view 
> "permaculture" to be a white-dominated elitist club that keeps the 
> information that can bring whole communities out of poverty and back to 
> sovereignty away from those who can't pay thousands of dollars for it. 
> What, and who is this for anyway, the private landowning class, the five 
> percent (generous estimate) of the worlds population that can afford a 
> 1500 U.S. dollar course at a Hawaiian resort?   Here's to liberating 
> permaculture from the white castle of privilege!
> I am a white person of privilege who was fortunate to study and practice 
> the p word with some of the best teachers on a daily basis. I now dedicate 
> my life to making it affordable and accessible to low income urban 
> residents, mostly young students and people of color whom I grow food with 
> where I live in Oakland, CA. Permaculture means nothing unless it is put 
> into practice!
> Gavin
> Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry
> -----Original Message-----
> From: "Thomas Paul Jahn" <tpj at life.ku.dk>
> Date: Fri, 13 Nov 2009 22:37:42
> To: <permaculture at lists.ibiblio.org>
> Subject: [permaculture] Svar: Re:  Intellectual property
> christophe! Send me your address and I order a book for you, provided you 
> promiss to share it with as many as people as possible. If you do this in 
> form of copies or any other way is up to you. Just make sure it get's to 
> the people that really put it into practice.... seen as my contribution to 
> the permaculture mailing list 2009-2010 and benefit of uruguayan 
> permaculturists, Bill Mollison and co. and a better future.
> cheers
> Thomas
>>>> christophe mckeon gonzalez de leon <chromatophore at gmail.com> 13-11-09 
>>>> 21:05 >>>
> ok, i was going to attempt to keep my mouth shut on this issue but
> don't seem able to control myself :)
> firstly i can say from experience living in the so called third world
> that the internet, even if it is not in every home is the only way,
> aside from the rare visit of a permaculture 'ambassador' from the so
> called first world, of getting permacultural information. in most of
> these countries internet cafe's abound and students have their
> textbooks printed on demand from electronic materials in the cafe's
> themselves or at cheap print houses which surround the schools and
> universities. for example, it is impossible for your average uruguayan
> to buy even 1 of the cheap permaculture books, because shipping costs
> are prohibitive. is there anybody on this list who really believes
> that these people should not be using file sharing networks to
> download permaculture materials, despite the fact that it is 'illegal'
> to do so?
> Leo Brodie (who i almost entirely agree with) said:
> "It's the same principle that a farmer who builds a farm and grows
> food should not have someone else come in and > reap the harvest or
> share the harvest with others."
> no it is not, it's different at a fundamental level. information,
> especially nowadays with the computer revolution can be copied. if
> somebody comes and takes the farmer's harvest, the farmer no longer
> has a harvest, if somebody copies the farmer's pdf files, the farmer
> *still has* the pdf files. granted, if the farmer is making a living
> through the sale of the work it gets more complicated, but it is still
> a fundamentally different problem, because the very nature of
> information is ephemeral. as you said intellectual property is a very
> recent idea. let's explore it with a little thought experiment:
> there are some creatures living on a small planet X somewhere in the
> universe, which is about to become inhospitable due to the action of
> the creatures themselves. the creatures have only very recently
> adopted a culture in which the transmission of information from one
> creature to the next (along with everything else) has become subjected
> to the logic of their slightly older, but also recently invented
> economic system.
> some of the creatures have knowledge and experience which can
> literally save their planet from destruction. but because of the
> internal logic of their newly acquired culture, which even these wise
> old and knowledgeable creatures have unwittingly found themselves
> embedded in, there are blockages in the flow of information, hence it
> is difficult and expensive for most of the other creatures to acquire.
> #1) should the creatures from planet X abandon the logic of their
> culture for the good of the whole, or should they continue the way
> they are going?
> #2) some of the creatures have taken it upon themselves to break the
> newly acquired cultural norms and distribute information freely
> because they believe that the good of the whole and of their planet
> trumps the perceived good of the holders/authors of the information.
> should these creatures be chastised or lauded?
> #3) the very smartest of the creatures have found a way of using the
> legal logic of the new culture to subvert the new culture itself,
> freely sharing information, and to do so without themselves starving
> or breaking the law. maybe we could learn something from these
> creatures, they seem to have found a way around a thorny ethical
> dilemma?
> there has been a revolution in informatics and also information
> sharing in the past couple of decades, led by people like richard
> stallman and lawrence lessig. people who have recognized that sharing
> information reaps greater rewards than hoarding it and unnecessarily
> constraining it's flow. the rewards are for everybody, including those
> who are in a position to share. these people are not pie in the sky
> theoreticians, but practitioners. they have built systems which most
> of us use every day, often without even knowing it. amazingly, they
> have found viable, indeed sometimes even economically profitable ways
> of doing so even under capitalism. i recommend every permaculturist
> acquaint themselves with their work and with the concept of
> 'copyleft'.
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_stallman
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lawrence_Lessig
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copyleft
> the calls to build an open permaculture book on the internet by
> several people on this thread are very important, but i do not believe
> that what is constructed should be in the form of a book. do we really
> want to write the *new* testament -- it too is old now. what we need
> is a database, and a very flexible one at that, with a very friendly
> interface, but a very rich underlying set of ontologies and
> connections to the outside world. i have been working hard on such a
> project, but right now i am still in the research/learning stage
> because i have concluded that because of the distributed and
> multi-paradigmatic nature of permacultural knowledge, the right tools
> for the job are semantic web technologies.
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Semantic_web
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ontology_%28computer_science%29
> i am having to learn an entirely new tool chain and way of thinking
> about data and data modeling so the going is slow. it is also a hard
> problem because the tools and techniques are all relatively bleeding
> edge. i will be posting to the db list about this in the next few
> months. btw, i plan on making all of my work freely available under
> copyleft licenses.
> as a final note, Leo Brodie also said:
> "The accepted principle is that an author has no incentive to spend
> the time and energy creating the work if someone else can give away
> copies for free."
> this is incorrect, on several levels.
> on the first and more immediately pragmatic level it is possible to
> make a living on something that is given away for free. there are many
> companies, both for profit and non-for-profit which do just that in
> the open software and open content worlds. they do so by selling
> associated services. a discipline such as permaculture which is still
> relatively obscure from the point of view of the 'mainstream', stands
> to benefit greatly from this form of funding model, because
> uptake/exposure could be significantly sped up through free
> information distribution leading to an explosion in demand for
> training and consultancy.
> on a second more broad viewed level, which strongly pertains to the
> authoring of permacultural material, taking my my own current project
> as an example. if enough people can benefit from having not just a
> database but an intelligent layer on top of that database to help them
> make appropriate decisions about how to live in the world without
> killing it, and do so quickly enough. then guess what, *i* will
> benefit from this immensely. remaining alive on a healthy planet is a
> pretty good incentive by any measure.
> _c
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