The idea of “commons” is extremely interesting. Cultural, physical and social resources that are ideally available to anybody, anywhere would be an extremely powerful thing. Indeed it IS an extremely powerful thing, because in this information age the means are finally catching up with the ideals of modern information sharing.
Of interest to me quite specifically is piracy, and the distribution of material that’s copyrighted into the public space for free. The peer to peer foundation’s website defines many of the elements of the “commons” idea, particularly outlining the whole ‘opposition to capitalism’ elements to it. This opposition to capitalism is pretty much where the entirety of film pirate’s logic derives from. In the piracy scene there’s a “fuck Hollywood” logic that rails against the capitalistic and business based tendencies of film production for money. Most would probably realise that this is just an excuse used to justify pirate activities, but it still does reflect an increased inclination in the public to not want to pay for content, but share it and experience it together. P2P filesharing, for better or worse, allowed millions and probably billions of people free access to art and culture. And not all of it illegal, just most of it probably – I think the exact number is around 90%.
Jay Walljasper’s article at nicely consolidates how the public mood is shifting in regards to things like piracy and the sharing of information freely. He talks about how people are everywhere yearning for a world that’s more sustainable and economical in terms of physical items. Everyone for instance cares or at least pretends to care about our impact on the future, past and each other. Most importantly though Walljasper’s article highlights the deep desire for satisfaction. Wikipedia, the large knowledge compendium made by the people for the people, is exactly satisfying because it is made by people and despite what some may say, its mostly accurate. Well it was accurate enough to put Encarta and friends out of business. The satisfaction of sharing a torrent is much the same, its illegal and technically stealing, but you’re contributing access to something that could mean quite a lot to you, you’re gonna only ‘seed’ movies and shows you like. By doing so, you share your greatest likes or loves with the world. You could easily say, as the P2P foundation does the film studios are fostering exclusion with their capitalistic practices, those crazy pirates are instead replacing this with good old fashioned inclusion. Everyone gets to join in on the fun.