3.5 EXAMINING ALTERNATIVES: CREATIVE AND SCIENCE COMMONS
Critiquing a system is merely one side of the coin. Offering viable alternatives or solutions to the lacunae identified in the status quo significantly buttresses critical claims. How do we wish to imagine alternatives to restrictive copyright regimes that are being exported on an alarming scale? Quite expectedly, traditional ways of thinking and reacting have proved futile to the overwhelming support that current systems of copyright receive from the elite of today. Therefore, alternatives have moved to the internet and understood the logic of its read-write culture. New media such as YouTube and platforms like WordPress have made each one of us not mere consumers of information but potential authors, film makers. Any viable alternative must contemplate this transformation of the read-only culture of the internet to the read-write culture. This section will have three focus areas: First, we will explore whether it is even possible to discuss alternatives when the current IP system has dominated the discourse for so long. Second, we will focus on the most developed and entrenched alternative to mainstream copyright regimes presently, the Creative Commons licensing system. Third, the science commons merit our attention as we read about how the sciences have also developed their own version of the commons. Finally, this fast developing counterculture to mainstream copyright deftly refuses to agree with a conclusion of any kind. So, in lieu of a conclusion, we will discuss a spectrum of emerging alternatives.
3.5.1The Possibility of Alternatives
The first question that arises is whether it is even possible to present alternatives when there has been little to no room given to even imagine a paradigm where intellectual goods are not vested with the characteristics of property. Parallels may be drawn to asking what a free market in legal services would be like or what free access to airwaves would mean. These questions always come to naught, in the opinion of some15, since it is not the burden of the critic of an entrenched status quo to offer tangible alternatives to be taken seriously. Very often, these are also advocates of a situation of IP anarchy where there is no concept of intellectual property whatsoever. There exists a school of thought today that believes that it is not possible to imagine any alternatives as long as we continue to function in this political economy. However, this particular line of thought is of little interest to us in this module since it is restricted to the realm of critique sans the presentation of any tangible, even tentative, alternatives.