"A closed mind about an open world"

Under this title, James Boyle, professor of law at Duke Law School (USA), wrote a comment article in the Financial Times [1]. For him, we all have a cognitive bias regarding intellectual property and the internet: the openness aversion. The openness aversion is the fact that we undervalue the importance and productive power of open systems, open networks and non-proprietary production. With three examples (internet, free software and Wikipedia), he somehow shows the evolution of mentalities towards theses “open things”. In 1991, scholars, businessmen and bureaucrats (and even us, maybe) would have scoffed at the internet as a business product. At that moment, control and ownership seemed the right way to go.

Now people evolved and we are a lot to love the internet, free software and Wikipedia. But the openness aversion is still there and some people are trying to restrict freedom (net neutrality, DMCA, DADVSI, DRM, TCPA/TPM, etc.).

[1] Boyles J., “A closed mind about an open world“. Financial Times, August 8th, 2006, p. 9.

P.S. By the way, I discovered Prof. Boyle and his articles on his website. I’ll now have plenty of interesting things to read (as if I didn’t already have enough article and books to read …).