David Bollier has a new book called Viral Spiral: How the Commoners Built a Digital Republic of Their Own It can be downloaded.. here. (pdf) David is a longtime chronicler of the commons — this new book describes the history of Creative Commons and the broader set of movements (free software, open access publishing and so on) of which it is a part. I read the book with some trepidation. The history of Creative Commons is complicated and, as someone who was around for almost all of it, I was worried that my appreciation of Bollier’s arguments about the significance of a movement to protect a “commons” would be undercut by my awareness of niggly little details. To my delight, but not surprise — because David is a fine and accessible writer — I found it to be both really accurate and intellectually provocative. (There is one Freudian slip where the name of one of my books got changed to the name of a great Jim Jarmusch movie but who can complain of becoming a Jim Jarmusch movie!) I’d highly recommend Viral Spiral. Anyone who is interested in the astounding success of this “hack on culture” should find it fascinating. Here is the blurb….
A world organized around centralized control, strict intellectual property rights, and hierarchies of credentialed experts is under siege. A radically different order of society based on open access, decentralized creativity, collaborative intelligence, and cheap and easy sharing is ascendant. —from Viral Spiral
From free and open-source software, Creative Commons licenses, Wikipedia, remix music and video mashups, peer production, open science, open education, and open business, the world of digital media has spawned a new “sharing economy” that increasingly competes with entrenched media giants.
Reporting from the heart of this “free culture” movement, journalist and activist David Bollier provides the first comprehensive history of the attempt by a global brigade of techies, lawyers, artists, musicians, scientists, businesspeople, innovators, and geeks of all stripes to create a digital republic committed to freedom and innovation. Viral Spiral—the term Bollier coins to describe the almost-magical process by which Internet users can come together to build online commons and tools—brilliantly interweaves the disparate strands of this eclectic movement. The story describes major technological developments and pivotal legal struggles, as well as fascinating profiles of hacker Richard Stallman, copyright scholar Lawrence Lessig, and other colorful figures.”