Ecology, intellectual property and a five point plan for a sustainable public domain?
In: 4th GikII International Workshop on Law, Technology and Culture, 18-19 Sept 2009, Institute for Information Law, University of Amsterdam.
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At the turn of the century, Harvard evolutionary biologist and all round science polymath Edward O. Wilson wrote that more that 99% of the world's biodiversity was unknown and that we should rectify that state of affairs, since our ignorance was contributing to the destruction of the environment. He outlined a five point plan for doing this.
1. Comprehensively survey the world's flora and fauna. This will need a large but finite team of professionals.
2. Create biological wealth e.g. through pharmaceutical prospecting of indigenous plants. Assigning economic value to biodiversity (e.g. as a source of material wealth as food or medicines or leisure amenities) is a key way to encourage its preservation.
3. Promote sustainable development i.e. 'development which meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs'.
4. Save what remains i.e. being realistic we are not going to halt environmental degradation overnight.
5. Restore the wild lands e.g. through designating large areas of land as natural reserves like Costa Rica's 50,000-hectare Guanacaste National Park.
Could we conceive of a parallel five point plan for protecting the global information store that is the public domain, the diversity of which is potentially endangered by what James Boyle so eloquently argues is a second enclosure movement?
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