Martin Fredriksson Almqvist
Martin Fredriksson is an assistant professor and Marie Curie Fellow at the Department of Culture Studies (Tema Q), Linköping University. He has been visiting scholar at Comparative Media Studies at MIT and at the Institute for Culture and Society, University of Western Sydney. He is currently conducting a project about ‘Commons and Commodities: Knowledge, Natural Resources and the Construction of Property’ funded by the Swedish National Research Council. He has previously worked with the history of copyright in Sweden and with piracy as a social movement, conducting extensive studies of Pirate Parties in Europe, North America and Australia. firstname.lastname@example.org
“Defending Knowledge Commons: The Pirate ethos revisited”
The first decade of the 21st century saw an explosion of new, highly politicized, technologies for informal media distribution – also known as piracy. Copyright organizations claimed that mp3s and p2ps were killing the music industry, while a growing body of ideologically motivated pirates argued that filesharing created arenas for free speech and cultural exchange – sometimes referred to as knowledge or information commons. This pirate movement, consisting of various activist groups and political Pirate Parties from all over the world, took it upon themselves to defend such knowledge commons against the threat of enclosure from an expanding copyright regime. Although the piracy debates of the early 2000nds focused on media distribution, their notion of knowledge commons raises more fundamental questions regarding the limits of and relationship between property rights and freedom of information: two cornerstones in the liberal democracy. This presentation takes its departure in these copyright debates to discuss how such an understanding of knowledge and information as commons interacts with our understanding of property in an information economy.