The Journal of Peer Production - New perspectives on the implications of peer production for social change New perspectives on the implications of peer production for social change
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JoPP Signal:
8/10
Title: Common sense: An examination of three Los Angeles community WiFi projects that privileged public funding over commons-based infrastructure management
Author/s: Gwen Shaffer
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Abstract:
At a time when internet access is increasingly perceived as a basic utility—on par with necessities such as water and electricity—the commercial market has failed to bring broadband to low-income, urban communities in the United States. Both the city of Los Angeles and the state of California have attempted to expand residential internet access by subsidizing community broadband networks. Specifically, local and state agencies provided a combined $700,000 in funding for three peer-to-peer broadband initiatives—Little Tokyo Unplugged; Open Mar Vista; and a cluster of mesh networks spearheaded by the non-profit Manchester Community Technologies. However, all three of these networks, which were located in geographically and ethnically diverse L.A. communities, proved unsustainable. In an effort to better understand the role played by government funding, this study examines each of these community broadband projects through both a commons and a public goods framework. Based on interviews with stakeholders, as well as on document analysis, the study found that as these L.A. community wireless networks sought to fulfil “public goods” obligations tied to financial awards, they neglected to include participants in efforts to design and maintain their projects. The findings suggest that government funding is an inadequate substitute for adhering to “principles of the commons” that traditionally sustain community broadband networks.

Keywords:
community broadband networks, public good

JoPP Signal:
10/10
Title: “Think global, print local”: A case study on a commons-based publishing and distribution model
Author/s: Vasilis Kostakis, Stacco Troncoso, Ann Marie Utratel
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Abstract:
This article presents a case study that demonstrates the convergence of decentralized online and offline ways of sharing knowledge. We describe a new techno-economic form of value creation and distribution in relation to the knowledge commons and the publishing industry. The dynamics and challenges of an emerging, commons-oriented copyright license (the Peer Production License) are also outlined. We conclude that the approach introduced by this case study could build bridges across languages and cultures, and enable concrete, material commoning practices.

Keywords:
digital commons; knowledge commons; distributed production; copyfair; cooperativism