Web 2.0, Social Software & Copyleft SM3125 Critical Theory of Society Tutorial / March 23, 2006 Instructor: Wesley Tang Web 2.0 “The Network is the Computer”, Jonathan Schwartz (Sun Microsystems, 1980s) From Wikipedia, Web 2.0 usually refers to one or more of the following: A second generation of services available on the World Wide Web that let people collaborate, and share information online The transition of websites from isolated information silos to sources of content and functionality, thus becoming a computing platform serving web applications to end users Web 2.0 A social phenomenon referring to an approach to creating and distributing Web content itself, characterized by open communication, decentralization of authority, freedom to share and re-use, and "the market as a conversation" A more organized and categorized content, with a far more developed deeplinking web architecture Web 1.0 Web 2.0 (?) DoubleClick Google AdSense Ofoto Flickr Akamai Bit Torrent mp3.com Napster Britannica Online Wikipedia Personal Websites Blogging Publishing Participation Stickiness Syndication A Video Presentation by Jeff Utecht Web 2.0 A very trendy/ tricky term (in a way like the way in which the word is ‘synergy’ used in many Ad campaigns and marketing slogans…) popularized by Tim O’Reilly in his article ‘What Is Web 2.0? Design Patterns and Business Models for the Next Generation of Software’ Historical Aspect: An improvement / aftermath of the dot com era? Web 2.0 O’Reilly’s Web 2.0 Meme Map: Some Core Competencies of Web 2.0 (by O’Reilly) The Web as Platform Services, not packaged software, with cost-effective scalability Control over unique, hard-to-recreate data sources that get richer as more people use them Trusting users as co-developers Harnessing collective intelligence Leveraging the long tail through customer selfservice Software above the level of a single device Lightweight user interfaces, development models, AND business models Web 2.0 - A Popular Example Socialtext’s Wikipedia “A free encyclopedia that anyone can edit.” 1,039,581 articles in English (as of March 23, 2006), encompassing 123 “active” language editions (100+ articles) as of January 2006 Giving up Centralized Control (Top Down) More frequent updates (Bottom Up) A broad breath of information and data (Bottom Up) Discussion: Amateurs surpass Professionals? The Best Will Surpass? An Opposite of Division of Labour? Decentralization of Authority (Democracy; placing trust in users and collaborators…) vs. Creditability? Web 2.0 Some Other Web 2.0-ish Examples? Social Bookmarking or Social Library? • Reviews and Listmania on Amazon.com The ‘Tagging’ Movement: • http://del.icio.us/ • http://www.flickr.com/ • http://www.douban.com/ Social Music Movement? • http://www.last.fm/ Social Video Archive? • http://www.youtube.com/ See also: Web 2.0 workgroup Social Software The idea of Social Software is very close to (or even overlapping with) the concept of Web 2.0. Some might argue that Web 2.0 is just a more nicely packaged and technologically advanced version of Social Software; some even criticize that Social Software is already a fancy new name for something that have been with us for ages – and we shall see why. Again, it’s very difficult to clearly define Social Software. Here is an attempt: A community driven emerging technology which facilitates interaction and collaboration Many-to-many communications (Mailing List, BBS, Forum, Blog, Wikis etc.) It could be said that although both aim to foster a greater sense of interaction, Social Software is not necessarily a Web 2.0 product. Evolution of Social Software Highlights from ‘Tracing the Evolution of Social Software’ by Christopher Allen: 1940s — Memex - “A memex is a device in which an individual stores all his books, records, and communications…” Evolution of Social Software 1970s — Electronic Information Exchange System (EIES) - Featured threaded-replies, anonymous messages, polling, etc. - Pioneered many of the concepts of BBS-style community software Evolution of Social Software 1990s — Groupware - Software that integrates work on a single project by several concurrent users at separated workstations Evolution of Social Software 2000s — Changing Evolution of Social Software - Social software treats triads of people differently than pairs - Social software treats groups as first-class objects in the system - Software that supports group interaction Writings on Social Software Communications vs. Web-based Communications • “Prior to the Web, we had hundreds of years of experience with broadcast media, from printing presses to radio and TV. Prior to email, we had hundreds of years experience with personal media -- the telegraph, the telephone. But outside the internet, we had almost nothing that supported conversation among many people at once.” Issues of Control: Three Political Bargains • The first is moderation, a way of convening a jury pool of members in good standing, whose function is to rank those posts by quality. • The second is meta-moderation, a way of checking those moderators for bias, as a solution to the “Who will watch the watchers?” problem. • And the third is karma, a way of defining who is a member in good standing. Extracted from ‘Social Software and the Politics of Groups’ by Clay Shirky Writings on Social Software What is Social Software? • Support for conversational interaction between individuals or groups — including real time and "slow time" conversation • Support for social feedback — which allows a group to rate the contributions of others, perhaps implicitly, leading to the creation of digital reputation. • Support for social networks — to explicitly create and manage a digital expression of people's personal relationships, and to help them build new relationships. • Bottom-up: Social software starts with individuals: People start with their own interests, biases and connections, and these become reflected in social relationships, from which a network of groups emerge from the interchange. Extracted from ‘Are You Ready for Social Software?’ by Stowe Boyd. Social Software Discussion Web 2.0, Social Software and all that: a hype, a realization of Benjamin’s idea of ‘Author as Producer’, a change of productive relations, a new socio-economic structure (a collaborative & sustainable economy), a new bubble, a new way of social interaction, a source of unreliable rumors, an enlightenment, a progress, a better web? In what sense? Copyleft From GNU Project: Copyleft is a general method for making a program or other work free* (see below), and requiring all modified and extended versions of the program to be free as well. *Here ‘free’ means freedom (like freedom of speech), not always free of charge ($); more discussion on ‘freedom’ in a moment. Copyleft From Wikipedia: A copyleft license uses copyright law# (see below) in order to ensure that every person who receives a copy or derived version of a work can use, modify, and also redistribute both the work, and derived versions of the work. Thus, in a non-legal sense, copyleft is the opposite of copyright. # Richard Stallman: “Copyleft uses copyright law, but flips it over to serve the opposite of its usual purpose: instead of a means of privatizing software, it becomes a means of keeping software free. The central idea of copyleft is that we give everyone permission to run the program, copy the program, modify the program, and distribute modified versions--but not permission to add restrictions of their own.” Copyleft There are many different types of copyleft licenses: Strong Copyleft, Weak Copyleft Full Copyleft, Partial Copyleft Share-alike e.g. Creative Commons The technical (and legal) distinctions between each of the above are very complicated. Copyleft can also be seen as a general principle, a philosophy while the licences mentioned above are concrete and detailed applications (with their own stances and ways of operations). There is however one key idea which runs through all these licenses: to ensure that derivatives of a licensed work stay free/ open (avoid becoming proprietary). Copyleft Some Open Source licenses, on the other hand, do not require the licensee to distribute derivative works under the same license. Discussion: Which license provides a greater degree of freedom, Open Source or Copyleft? What kinds of freedom is maximized in each case? Copyleft: Wu Ming Wu Ming is a group of Europe-based Artists/ Novelists who have been publishing their books with the following notice since 1996: The partial or total reproduction of this book, in electronic form or otherwise, is consented to for noncommercial purposes, provided that the original copyright notice and this notice are included and the publisher and source are clearly acknowledged. You can actually download (free of charge) OR buy their books online! Will you? Will you not? Copyleft: Wu Ming ‘Notes on Copyright and Copyleft’ by Wu Ming: Key Argument: The two horns of the false dilemma • “Freedom to copy for them [defenders of copyright ] means only 'piracy', 'theft', 'plagiarism' - and you can forget about the author's remuneration. The more the work circulates for free, the fewer copies you sell, the more money the author loses” • BUT Wu Ming argues that “A well respected author is increasingly called on to make presentations (expenses reimbursed) and to attend conferences (paid); they are interviewed by the media (unpaid but it furthers the cause); academic postings are offered (paid); consultancies (paid), creative writing courses (paid); the author has the possibility to dictate more advantageous conditions to their publisher.” Copyleft: Wu Ming Wu Ming on ‘Fair Use’: We practise a radical extension of the notion of fair use. Fair use is "a legal principle that defines the limitations on exclusive rights of copyright holders" (http://www.indiana.edu/~ccumc/mmfumas/tsld010.htm). To give a few examples: this definition includes quotation of excerpts of a work in the context of a review or a critical essay, educational use of a text, parody, private copy of a text that was legally purchased etc. In the proprietary/capitalistic view, purchase is the rule and fair use is the exception. In fact, as Ivan Hoffman wrote, "fair use should never be relied on since it is, by definition, a defense to be raised when you are sued. And no one on the face of the planet can ever say with any assurance, that a given use will be deemed a fair use." (http://www.ivanhoffman.com/napster.html). On the contrary, in our view, fair use is the rule (for it coincides with all social use) while purchase of our books is the exception, and is left to choice of the public. This exception allows us to earn our living. When you buy one of our books, you are choosing to reward our efforts, however, you are not obliged to do so: alternatively, you may copy the book, download it etc. What you may not do is to add restrictions to this liberty. Copyleft: Wu Ming From an interview with Wu Ming on Copyleft and Intellectual Property, originally published on Blow Up Magazine (Italy): Q. The idea that free downloads have the capacity to encourage sales of an editorial product, be it a book or a record, struggles to find acceptance. Why? A. It's not at all automatic. An artist needs to work at it, offer a quality product, show they believe in it, follow the product's circulation and the effect it has, then a reputation grows, there's the desire to discover other works by the author etc. If culture circulates, it produces a beneficial cycle. In the case of a book, it works really well… Our books keep selling because of continuous word of mouth, fostered by downloads. In the case of music, what's needed is a change of mentality. The issue is no longer the delivery format: the majority of profits will continue to come less and less from cd sales… The cd today is an accessory, albeit an important one, but an accessory nevertheless. It's one of the ways of making the music and the name of the composer circulate; of releasing messages in bottles to the currents… But the real moment of validation and earning will increasingly be live performance, besides the various other commercial avenues (including soundtracks, tv ads, radio jungles). It should be noted that this is also true for lap-top oriented music: you may sell few copies of a cd, but venues call you to do sets, to build a sonic performance etc… Copyleft: Wu Ming Wu Ming’s view on MIT’s OpenCourseWare (An Example of MIT’s OCW course page): The project has a social purpose. Many people who are not enrolled and may not benefit from all the MIT services can access the content of prestigious classes anytime… It's “Open source teaching”, by which students have everything to gain. In fact MIT president Charles Vest also expects to gain something, and not only prestige, fame, recognition. Many of these lecture notes refer to books published by the MIT itself, and Vest is sure there will be an increase in the sales. Copyleft – Questions A Marxist perspective: An assumption: To oppose copyright is to oppose Capitalism? A further assumption: Commodification of Information yields greater profit? Copyleft – An Idealism? A More Preferable Practice?