Writing Assignment – Open Source as Culture

OpenSource as Culture/ Culture as OpenSource

The concept of Open Source was reintroduced in response to the limitations of traditional proprietary models, where intellectual-property rights have been regarded as incentive for innovation because it translates into commercial gain and power.

Open source challenges the basis of Copyright, where the exclusive access to technologies and knowledge is known to drive innovation. It instead offers openness that allows for “communal creation, revision, criticism and adaptability” (Vaidhyanathan, 2005, pg. 26). Copyright and the protection of knowledge serve an double-edged sword, while protecting intellectual property, they build an unhealthy culture of controlling innovation processes and technologies. However, the open source concept is constructed on an opposing principle, aiming to offer an alternative to the guarded system of production. The sharing model of cultural production is beneficial to rising and expanding industries and their markets, especially in the creative and artistic fields.  According to Benkler. Y (2009), “Peer production” involves free software projects that are not dependent on traditional hierarchies and guild-lines to aid production and sharing. Peer production generates fast, efficient and reliable communication to produce innovative and useful tools and expressions, to integrate and improve the industry as a whole. It allows a collaborative effort, enabling different groups to have access to open resources for their projects and to share the information they produce. 

So how does the open-source culture affect the fields that involve artistic creation and production? In creative and cultural field, an act of creation is seen as an social act. Traditional proprietary modes of artistic creation have protected the traditional works of art of artists from plagiarism. As the field of art moves towards digital world, the open source model is able to cultivate a community of artists with free-sharing tools and resources to work with the digital medium. Creators will have a greater outreach of audience and critique to their works or development of tools that benefits others in production. The open-source model of peer production that allows for sharing, revision and peer review has potential to aid new and upcoming creative industries in creation and production.

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