Free Software and Open Source Movements: From Digital Rebellion to Aaron Swartz - Responses to Government and Corporate Attempts at Suppression and Enclosure
The free software and open-source software movements have proven prescient precursors to today’s multi-faceted movements against the over-broad privatization of culture and restrictions on expression. Richard Stallman’s pivotal decision to lead an organized opposition against the evolving culture and methods of proprietary software paved the way for those with even wider concerns about the stifling effects of copyright and other forms of intellectual property. Today’s various movements; including free expression, free culture, free content, open access, and free software; owe some of their momentum to the pioneering software hackers who fought to keep code “open” and defend the rights of users to study, change, modify, and distribute modifications to the works of others. As we consider the future of democracy in the United States, we need these movements to form a counterpoint to the loud and powerful lobbies of corporate interests. The current state of lopsided influence is clearly evidenced in existing laws that benefit corporate content providers at the expense of citizens, in the continuous expansion of copyright terms, and in proposed international agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Before considering current conflicts in these areas, it is instructive to understand the history of opposition movements, beginning with free software.
McKimmy, P. B. (2017). Free Software and Open Source Movements: From Digital Rebellion to Aaron Swartz - Responses to Government and Corporate Attempts at Suppression and Enclosure. In M. Callahan & J. Rogers (Eds.), A Critical Guide to Intellectual Property. ZED.