12 September 2006

The Tragedy of the Faux Commons

Here's a perceptive post that points out all is not well at the commercial Web 2.0 sites like MySpace:

The problem is that many social networks hosted by corporations are essentially appropriating – and monetizing – the socially created value of the commons for themselves. They entice users onto the faux commons by offering them recognition and attention to a large audience – but then they leverage the power of the assembled commons for their own profit, at the expense of users.

And it concludes with a chilling thought:

If the first enclosures were those of common lands in Great Britain, and the second enclosures were those achieved through expansions of copyright and patents (Cf. James Boyle), then the "third enclosures" (as Michel Bauwens calls them ) uses contract terms (with users of websites and software, and with trustees of public resources) to convert commons into proprietary monopolies.

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