Category: Critical Digital and Social Media Studies series

New Law for Intellectual Commons Needed – Broumas

New Law for Intellectual Commons Needed – Broumas

Released this week the latest title in the CDSMS series edited by Christian Fuchs by lawyer and activist Antonios Broumas makes the case for a new body of law to harness the potential and social value of the intellectual commons. Using case studies of cultural commons initiatives it clearly articulates why the commons have intrinsic value deserving of legal protection. At the heart of these new proposals is a recognition and expansion of the public domain and the need for greater personal and social rights and freedoms for individuals to properly participate in the realms of culture and science.

Extracts from the book titled Intellectual Commons and the Law: A Normative Theory for Commons-Based Peer Production follow:

[T]he intellectual commons are suppressed by the dominant value system of commodity markets and its universal equivalent of value in the form of money upon the intellectual commons. Such pressure, which may even lead to the extinction of intellectual commons communities, comes into contradiction with the overall conclusion regarding their social value and potential. Even though such communities may as a rule not be as productive as corporations in terms of money circulation, profits, jobs and taxes, this does not make them unproductive in terms of social value. On the contrary, the communities of the intellectual commons contain and emanate a wealth of social values, which ought to be protected through legal means.

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Rather than proposing reforms within the property-oriented framework of contemporary expansive intellectual property laws, the current book advances a normative line of argumentation in favour of an independent body of law for the regulation of the intellectual commons, i.e. both the open access commons of the public domain and any other type of regime oriented towards the shared use of intellectual works. The appropriate protection and promotion of these two sectors of our intellectual commonwealth aspires to construct a vibrant non-commercial zone of creativity and innovation in parallel to intellectual property-enabled commodity markets of intellectual works.

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Following the above, it is held that states are morally committed to respecting, protecting and fulfilling the freedom to contribute to the intellectual commons, thereby abstaining from its restriction through intellectual property laws, which are not compatible with international human rights treaties. In addition, the critical normative theory of the intellectual commons holds that the freedom to contribute to the intellectual commons ought to acquire statutory content substantive enough to give commoners the ability for its meaningful practice.

UWP has published several book titles all available open access including Peer to Peer (Bauwens et al), Incorporating the Digital Commons by Benjamin Birkinbine, The Commons: Economic Alternatives in the Digital Age (Vangelis Papadimitropoulos). Communication and Capitalism: A Critical Theory also discusses the ‘Communication Society as a Society of the Commons’.

Intellectual Commons and the Law was published on the 25 November 2020.

UWP, #openaccessweek2020: a raincheck

UWP, #openaccessweek2020: a raincheck

At the end of #openaccessweek2020 honoured to reflect that since September 2015 open access imprint @UniWestPress has published 254 unique editor/authors in our journals and books from 34 countries. That’s 32 books (incl. edited), 6 policy briefs and 5 distributed titles; 131 new journal articles also making available 719 archive journal articles.  

Today we have just had certain confirmation that we have hit over 750,000 views and downloads for our publications already, close to a 50% increase in less than a full year. Over 20% of UWP’s unique authors are University of Westminster authors with on the other hand 58% of contributions originating from outside the UK. Many authors (75) have worked with us more than once. One of our journals Silk Road is based at Westminster International University in Tashkent.

It’s not all about quantities. Our books have been translated into Spanish, Chinese and (shortly) Turkish; one has won a Latin American prize. We’re proud of our diverse range of authors from the global south, Europe, from all corners of the English-speaking world, feminist writers and early career research authors, the academic stars of the future as well as – Jurgen Habermas, Antonio Negri and Jean-Luc Nancy contributors to our list.   

It would not have been possible without support of our authors and editors @UniWestminster @UniWestLib @ubiquitypress the Research Environment and Knowledge Exchange Team at Westminster and the UWP editorial board.

What Are the Commons? What Could They Be?

What Are the Commons? What Could They Be?

Vangelis Papadimitropoulos in a new open access book just published (The Commons: Economic Alternatives in the Digital Age) surveys theories of the commons: liberal, reformist and anti-capitalist. Discussing these three viewpoints, the book contributes to contemporary debates concerning the future of commons-based peer production (see also UWP’s Peer to Peer) and makes the case in the conclusion for a post-capitalist commons-orientated transition that moves beyond neoliberalism.

This title is the in the University of Westminster Press‘s Critical Digital and Social Media Studies series. All previously published titles are available open access via a variety of channels including OAPEN, JSTOR and DOAB. Other titles discussing the Commons published by UWP include Incorporating the Digital Commons by Benjamin Birkinbine and Communication and Capitalism by Christian Fuchs.

IT professionals – a pervasive lack of control?

IT professionals – a pervasive lack of control?

In an extract from a new book that looks at Marx’s theory of alienation and Information and Communication Technologies, author Mike Healy outlines an agenda for future research on the key occupation of IT professionals and why it would need to consider workers’ alienation, not narrow job satisfaction. Marx and the Digital Machines: Alienation, Technology, Capitalism was published on 16th October, available open access.

Issues such as the application of project methodologies, the control the professional (and indeed the profession as a whole) has over the industry, the rapid commodification of skills such as programming, software maintenance and testing, and business processes, could all benefit from using Marx’s theory of alienation. Research that takes as its focus the role of the ICT professional in promoting the ethical use of ICT could benefit from a shift of perspective that sees the professional as one in command to a view of the professional as someone who is powerless and who cannot determine what they make, nor for whom or how it gets made. Research could also investigate what coping and resistance strategies they employ to deal with their alienated condition. Further research using theories of alienation and PAR [Participatory Action Research] would provide deeper insights into the problems ICT professionals face such as, for example, the contradiction discussed … between what they feel about their occupations and what they would do if given the opportunity to quit their jobs. Research on ICT professionals vigorously embracing Marx’s theory of alienation would enable it to move beyond the straitjacket of, and the inadequate categories associated with, job satisfaction thereby offering a greater explanation for, rather than a description of, the conditions in which ICT professionals work.
(From Chapter 8: Critique and Conclusion p. 126)

Anthropocenes journal is live!

UWP is delighted to announce the first articles of the new open access journal Anthropocenes – Human, Inhuman, Posthuman are now published.

ANTHROPOCENES – HUMAN, INHUMAN, POSTHUMAN
Editors-in-Chief
David Chandler (Professor of International Relations, School of Social Sciences, University of Westminster)
Jane Lewis (Principal Shetland College, University of Highlands and Islands)
Andreas Philippopoulos-Mihalopoulos (Professor of Law and Theory and Director of the Westminster Law & Theory Lab, University of Westminster).

CONTENTS
Research Articles
The Anthropocene Eel: Emergent Knowledge, Ontological Politics and New Propositions for an Age of Extinctions   Casper Bruun Jensen
Constructing Human Versus Non-Human Climate Migration in the Anthropocene: The Case of Migrating Polar Bears in Nunavut, Canada   Julian Reid
Walking with a Ghost River: Unsettling Place in the Anthropocene   Tricia Toso, Kassandra Spooner-Lockyer, Kregg Hetherington

Commentary
Frontier Technologies and Digital Solutions: Digital Ecosystems, Open Data and Wishful Thinking   Jessica McLean

Interventions
Making a Case for an Environmental History of Dunes   Joana Gaspar de Freitas
In Terms of Meaning   Roswitha R. Gerlitz

Visual Essays
The Afterlife of Extraction in the Coal Region: An Exploration into the ‘Land of the Living Dead’   Andrew Long
Floating in Quarantine: Where Colourless Green Ideas Sleep Furiously Luigi Russi, Katarina Rothfjell

Practice
Encouraging Discussion of Science and Technology Futures through Practice-Led Research   Sean Fitzgerald

Interview
Hyperobjects, Hyposubjects and Solidarity in the Anthropocene: Anthropocenes Interview with Timothy Morton and Dominic Boyer   Anthropocenes – Human, Inhuman, Posthuman

Review
Unlearning as Moving Towards Dehumanism and Decolonial Entanglements – Singh, Julietta (2018): Unthinking Mastery: Dehumanism and Decolonial Entanglements. Durham, NC: Duke University Press   Monika Jaeckel

About the Journal
The journal engages our contemporary epoch of the Anthropocene on the basis that its importance goes far beyond the popular and scientific concerns of global warming and climate change. As well as new problems, the Anthropocene offers new opportunities: questioning and disrupting established disciplinary silos and assumptions, calling for innovative, experimental and new interdisciplinary approaches. The choice of title reflects the editors’ understanding of the Anthropocene as a plural concept that is radically transformed when seen from different disciplines, different geographical and social positions, and different ontological categories (human, inhuman, posthuman). Anthropocenes welcomes submissions not so much on the basis of the ‘what’ of the topic covered but rather the ‘how’. The journal’s core readership fields are the social sciences, arts and humanities (broadly construed), although often social and political thought will also be applied to aspects of the natural or ‘hard’ sciences. We are interested in the creative, disruptive and transformative potentials of thought and practices in the Anthropocene.

E- ISSN 2633-4321 https://www.anthropocenes.net

Anthropocenes – Human, Inhuman, Posthuman is published by the University of Westminster Press.