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:
Title: Peer production and changing norms in music practice: An ethnomusicological perspective
Author/s: Denis Crowdy
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Abstract:
This article explores this by comparing discussions of music practices in the Global South with those of the North through the analytical perspective of ethnomusicology, a discipline concerned with the analysis of music in its social context. Ethnomusicology has traditionally focused on apparently clearly geographically and culturally bounded ‘non-Western’, diasporic and indigenous musics. Increasingly, however, it offers a critical analytical perspective where centre-periphery models are unstable due to the global spread of mobile technology and cultural diversity within nations. The comparison is organised under a set of headings extracted as key points from the changing norms associated with peer production described above. These are: authorship, ownership and control, participation, and income.

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JoPP Signal:
Title: Expanding the Internet Commons: The Subversive Potential of Wireless Community Networks
Author/s: Primavera De Filippi & Félix Tréguer
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Abstract:
In this paper, we focus on an ongoing—though too often neglected—phenomenon of decentralization in telecommunications networks: we show how the current revival of grassroots community networks can counterbalance the erosion of autonomy of Internet users that results from current telecom policies. As opposed to more larger and centralized network infrastructures owned and managed by powerful third parties (such as the state or large, highly capitalized Internet Service Providers (ISPs)), grassroots community networks are deployed by the community and for the community at the local or regional level. Rather than being driven by profits, they focus on the actual needs of the needs of its participants. They also experiment with novel models of distributed governance relying on cooperation and sharing among a community of peers (from a dozen to tens of thousands participants), and that are reminiscent of commons-based peer production schemes (Benkler 2006). In our study, we focus on ‘Wireless Community Networks’ (WCN) (i.e those community networks providing connectivity through radio technologies, and Wi-Fi especially). While many community networks do not rely on radio technologies, those who do exhibit particular features that contrast more strongly from the dominant model found in traditional ISPs. In particular, to the extent that they rely solely and exclusively on free-to-use airwaves (or ‘spectrum commons’), WCN are to some extent more independent from incumbent ISPs than landline community networks who necessarily have to enter into a contractual relationship with the owners of the ‘last-mile’ landline network infrastructure.

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JoPP Signal:
Title: Peer-to-peer as a design principle for law: distribute the law
Author/s: Melanie Dulong de Rosnay
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Abstract:
This article positions itself beyond the tension between copyright enforcement to preserve business models vs users' rights to access knowledge which are required to enjoy the opportunities provided by the disruptive technology. Instead of only applying law to peer-to-peer in order to control networks, and without implying that because a law is currently unenforceable, it should not exist, I propose to consider another angle of the relationship between law and technology, by applying peer-to-peer to the law, to introduce the argument of the distribution of law itself. Peer-to-peer technologies disrupting established economic models and legal categories could also inspire an evolution of the law as a regulatory system in order to integrate some of their technical features. This will lead to another kind of relationship between law and technology: after the control of technology by the law, which absorbs the new technology by expanding its scope of application, and in addition to the scholarship on regulation by code or of code (Lessig 2006; Brown & Marsden 2013) the law itself can try to integrate the technology. It might do so by reconfiguring its internal ‘operating system’ and shuffling the categories a bit more, instead of simply inflating them by adding an exception to the existing system.

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JoPP Signal:
Title: Manufacturing imaginaries: Neo-Nazis, Men’s Rights Activists and 3D Printing
Author/s: Robbie Fordyce
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Abstract:
This article addresses the intersection between additive manufacture, the political imaginary, and Italian radical thought. While a suitable Venn diagram that illustrates the connections between these areas might initially appear to require a fair bit of twisting and turning, I believe that such a diagram is possible, and that it illuminates the political values that are, or could be, important for the political changes made possible by 3D printing. Such a method will expose what outcomes are conceived as possible by 3D printing within the political imagination of dissident groups. The political imaginary of some white supremacists and anti-feminists is one that sees civic space as polluted with misguided liberalism, with a potential resolution to be found in the new technologies related to additive manufacture. Italian radical thought includes a number of methodologies for conceptualising of relationships between domestic and civic spaces, as well as significant and enthusiastic work connecting contemporary events to immediate or short-term political developments. Through the device of the ‘social factory’, Italian radical thought greatly helps us to understand the connections between work and home insofar as they address the changes in life and labour that have arisen over the last forty years. The investigation of 3D printing and right-wing politics that I undertake in this article demonstrates new uses of Italian Marxist thought, providing challenges to the concept of the factory society, as well as reporting on the unexpected projections for 3D printing in political uses by far-right groups.

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JoPP Signal:
Title: Cultures of sharing in 3D printing: what can we learn from the licence choices of Thingiverse users?
Author/s: Jarkko Moilanen, Angela Daly, Ramon Lobato & Darcy Allen
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Abstract:
This article contributes to the discussion by analysing how users of the leading online 3D printing design repository Thingiverse manage their intellectual property (IP). 3D printing represents a fruitful case study for exploring the relationship between IP norms and practitioner culture. Although additive manufacturing technology has existed for decades, 3D printing is on the cusp of a breakout into the technological mainstream – hardware prices are falling; designs are circulating widely; consumer-friendly platforms are multiplying; and technological literacy is rising. Analysing metadata from more than 68,000 Thingiverse design files collected from the site, we examine the licensing choices made by users and explore the way this shapes the sharing practices of the site’s users. We also consider how these choices and practices connect with wider attitudes towards sharing and intellectual property in 3D printing communities. A particular focus of the article is how Thingiverse structures its regulatory framework to avoid IP liability, and the extent to which this may have a bearing on users’ conduct. The paper has three sections. First, we will offer a description of Thingiverse and how it operates in the 3D printing ecosystem, noting the legal issues that have arisen regarding Thingiverse’s Terms of Use and its allocation of intellectual property rights. Different types of Thingiverse licences will be detailed and explained. Second, the empirical metadata we have collected from Thingiverse will be presented, including the methods used to obtain this information. Third, we will present findings from this data on licence choice and the public availability of user designs. Fourth, we will look at the implications of these findings and our conclusions regarding the particular kind of sharing ethic that is present in Thingiverse; we also consider the “closed” aspects of this community and what this means for current debates about “open” innovation.

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JoPP Signal:
Title: Regulating the Liberator: Prospects for the Regulation of 3D Printing
Author/s: Isaac Record, ginger coons, Daniel Southwick & Matt Ratto
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Abstract:
Soon after Cody Wilson released his plans for the Liberator 3D printable gun, our Critical Making Laboratory undertook to produce a non-functioning version of the gun in order to assess the technical, material, and economic challenges associated with 3D printing proscribed objects. This paper recounts our experiences in creating the gun and analyses the disruptive implications of increasing availability of emerging fabrication technologies for regulation and regulators. 3D printing promises to upend traditional manufacturing by making complex, precision objects easy to produce. Plans are digital and can be duplicated and distributed over the Internet essentially without cost. 3D printers themselves, like their 2D namesakes, are general purpose machines with many legitimate functions, making their regulation a challenge. Some attention has already been paid to what regulators should do and to predicting what they will do. In this paper, we seek to explore what regulators can do. First, a conceptual framework allows us to assess the technological possibilities afforded by 3D printers. Second, we assess the increased regulatory challenge presented by this changed technological infrastructure. It is observed that much effective regulation is accomplished by technical, economic, ethical, and social constraints on action rather than by explicit legal proscription. For example, the high cost of precision machining and high level of technical skill required has traditionally been an effective protection against private individuals producing high-quality firearms ‘under the radar’. Low-cost 3D printers have the potential to allow for the near-effortless creation of precision parts, erasing this ‘contextual regulation’. This paper considers, in broad strokes, several possible regulatory targets: 3D printers, print materials, software, and the design file. For example, 3D printers could be licensed, materials could be watermarked, software could prevent the creation of certain shapes, or designs could carry increased legal culpability for damages or injuries. Against the potential gains to public safety, we weigh the potential costs of regulation that may 1) increase barriers to innovation, 2) unnecessarily restrict or complicate access to general purpose equipment, or 3) be unworkably costly in dollars and person-hours.

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