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Wired: Freedom's Dark Side

Aug 30, 2003, 01:00 (29 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Bruce Sterling)


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"Summer in Vienna. Virtual intelligentsia from across the continent and beyond gather for Open Cultures, a convocation of the open source movement's self-proclaimed cultural wing. Dreadlocked Italian geeks ponder P2P video with clean-cut German bloggers. Slovenian net.art curators bend the elbow with Georgian patent lawyers. They're all here to celebrate the specter haunting cybercapitalism: free information.

"Free as in beer, free as in freedom, free as in the slowly collapsing pretense that 1s and 0s are worth any money, to anybody, anywhere. The culture-centric take: The Internet, built by professors and soldiers, went bust in the private sector's fumbling hands. Come 2003, ecommerce is all spam, fraud, and piracy, with the shadow of copyleft eclipsing revenue. Open Cultures aims to finish the job. They'd like to see free software evolve from a nifty way to program computers into a broad wave of social reform. It's Solidarnosc for the technosphere..."

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