Nonprofit Organizations and the Intellectual Commons

Nonprofit Organizations and the Intellectual Commons

Jyh-An Lee

Over the past twenty years, a number of nonprofit organizations (NPOs), such as Creative Commons, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and the Free Software Foundation have laid essential building blocks for intellectual-commons as a social movement. Through a detailed description of these NPOs and a series of in-depth interviews with their officials, this book demonstrates that NPOs have provided the social structures that are necessary to support the production of intellectual commons.

Preface

Jyh-An Lee

Subjects: law - academic, intellectual property law

Extract

The public domain should have its Greenpeace, its Environmental Defense Fund, its Nature Conservancy, its Environmentally Concerned Scientists. – James Boyle Intellectual commons are intellectual resources, which anyone can use either without permission, or with permission granted in advance. Since intellectual commons are crucially important to creativity, innovation, and human development, the shrinkage of the intellectual-commons environment will be a profound loss for our cultural freedom. Therefore, protecting intellectual commons has been one of the most important goals of recent innovation and information policies. Awareness of this importance has grown in large measure because of expanding intellectual property (IP) laws and the growth of digital technology that controls the flow of information. Scholars have urged society to reconstruct the public domain that protects the commons from enclosure, and public-interest advocates have also sought ways to expand access to various online intellectual resources. As a result, significant institutional efforts have emerged to preserve the intellectual-commons environment. Institutions are among the structures through which a society seeks to deal with its various problems; therefore, it is important to understand the effectiveness of alternative forms of institutions, such as the government, for-profit businesses, and nonprofit organizations (NPOs). By the same token, in any discussion of preserving and strengthening the intellectualcommons environment, it is crucial for researchers to understand how different institutions affect this environment. Over the past twenty years, the creation of institutions and organizations, such as Creative Commons (CC), the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), the Free Software Foundation (FSF), and Public Knowledge (PK)...