Digital goods and the concept of the commons

Nuss, Sabine Digital goods and the concept of the commons., 2005 . In Left Forum, New York (US), 15-17 April 2005. [Conference paper]


Download (132kB) | Preview

English abstract

A lot of scholars and activists don’t question the social form of the private good - in contrast they praise the market and the form of the private good as efficient and well installed – for certain goods. Accordingly, most of the advocates of the commons concept defend it only for certain goods and they justify that with a diffuse mixture of material consistence and normative claims. They ignore that under capitalist circumstances public goods are functional for the capital itself and that they are a pure social construction, so that they will be transformed in a private good as soon as its profitable for capital and as long it is not in the interest of the nation state to keep control over these goods - as it is the case in the national defense. If one wishes to withdraw goods from commodification then its better not to justify that with any material consistence but rather with a clear political statement against the social form of private goods. That requires rethinking and questioning this form, which is obviously the prevailing and seldom challenged form in which everything tends to transform, dependent on technological, legal and ideological means and dependent on the state of the art of capitalism.

Item type: Conference paper
Keywords: Commons. Common knowledge. Digital commons. Digital goods. Public goods. Libraries. Common-pool resources. Commodification of information and knowledge. Information commons
Subjects: B. Information use and sociology of information > BC. Information in society.
B. Information use and sociology of information > BE. Information economics.
E. Publishing and legal issues. > ED. Intellectual property: author's rights, ownership, copyright, copyleft, open access.
Depositing user: Zapopan Martín Muela-Meza
Date deposited: 29 Oct 2005
Last modified: 02 Oct 2014 12:01


Lehmann, Michael (1997). "Digitalisierung und Urheberrecht." In: Lehmann, Michael (ed.) (1997). Internet- und Multimediarecht (Cyberlaw), Stuttgart, p. 27.

Marx, K. (1857/58, 1953). A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy. p. 432.

Ostrom, Elinor and Hess, Charlotte (2001). "Artifacts, Facilities and Content:

Information as a Common-pool Resource." Paper presented at the “Conference on the Public Domain,” Duke Law School, Durham, North Carolina, USA, November 9-11, 2001.

Smith, A. (1776/1976). An Inquiry into The Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations. Buch V, p. 244.


Downloads per month over past year

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item