Why Creative Commons?

Actually, the great thing concerning private property is what Hegel said against all the Kantian and post-Kantian philosophy, that is: that property is not only a relation between persons, but also and in a significant way a relation of a person and a thing. You may not see this, but when a thing is part of a subject's objectification, this completely changes its determination. It becomes moment of the subject's relation to its world, through which alone it can stay subject at all. This becomes clear for instance with regard to little matters like books, in which one has his or her personal marks, which guarantee a faster and better orientation. The same applies to interior furnishings of some flat, which enable the inhabitant to feel save and oriented, maybe even to feel home, and to realize something like an individual taste. And the same applies as well to virtual stuff like a personalized music collection, even when it is stored on a public server. As a matter of course it at least as well applies to things that should never have to be in question at all, like a personalized content of a refrigerator. Such things could be called private property in a very reasonable way, therefore private property is a prerequisite to every subjectification and therefore a good thing.

Unfortunately this determination, whereas still contained, is not what is essential for private property in current societies. What actually should be only a workaround concerning necessity and deficiency, i.e. the question how private property can be guaranteed at all, is the center of the bourgois concept of property. Property firstly consists of this guarantee, realized through the state in a very abstract manner, that is by violent exclusion. If a thing is in short supply and many people want it, then, I grant, it is not possible to fulfil all the needs; and to protect the subjectivity of someone who made one of those things a part of his selfreflection, yet, may be one way to deal with this. In such situations of deficiency, it becomes clear, that property can only remain property if it is generally recognized, that is, if other people do not violate it. But a reasonable society would furthermore have to endeavor after coming over the deficiency, or after establishing recognition by taking the pain away from it, instead of only dealing with resulting problems or worse, like in societies dominated by a capitalist mode of production: instead of having the deficiency necessarily reproduced, whereas at the same time the wealth of the society is growing and growing.

Additionally there are things in contemporary societies, which do not even contain the determination of property as a relation between persons and things anymore. For instance with regard to private property in means of production, it is not even possible (and besides: not the aim, too) for a person to objectivate his or her individual subjectivity through these means, because he or she cannot even use them on his or her own. On the contrary, he or she must let other people work with them, who also cannot realize their own subjectivity in the product, because the product is not their property and they must not use it; and because objectivation of subjectivity means objectivation of one's own aims as well. Regarding to things, which can only be used through devision of labour, concerned with subjectification it is kind of silly to leave these things to single persons. With such things one should further think about how collective property and subjectification could go hand in hand. Certainly, even here seems to be a solution to the problem that still counts on private property of means of production, when you say that neither means of production nor products can enter the space of objectivated subjectivity, but things can, that are bought through the money you earn with the products. But regarding to capitalist accumulation this solution does not really suffice -- even without citing any possible critique of the expediency of monetary mediation --, because the major and increasing part of what is obtained by production has to be put back into means of production to survive economic competition. So, not the subjectivity of the owner is objectivated, but rather the automatic subjectivity of capital, which is expressed in the economic pressure. Hence, regarding private property in means of production none of the predications fit, that otherwise would make private property an important and good thing. The only thing that counts is the exclusion, here.

The subordination of the determination of property as a relation to a thing under the determination as a relation of persons in current societies becomes even clearer when you consider things that cannot even be deficient, that is intellectual property that can be easily reproduced without any loss. To copy a CD for someone for instance does not in any way limit the possibilities for the owner to subjectificate himself through it and to build it into his space of subjectivity. In the exclusion of everyone from such intellectual property it becomes more than obvious, that to establish and protect relations to things is not what counts in bourgois societies, but only exclusion itself, or strictly speaking, what counts is, that the exclusion can only be overcome by purchase; so the final end is, that capital reproduces itself.

All this will in no way be changed by licencing your own products under a GNU-licence or some Creative-Commons-licence. This can only be a defensive fight to wrench away something from capital again, what capital more and more made its concern. Licences like some of those mentioned above (GNU, CC ShareAlike) prevent people from letting people put their remixes and stuff under a copyright in the classical sense again, which would prohibit further copying. It has to be mentioned that this does not mean to put in question copyright in general; strictly speaking it means to use and affirm a copyright, that differs in some points. Richard Stallman's "legal hack" describes this quite adequat: right is put against itself and that does in fact have some friendly results, but it stays an affirmation of bourgois right and the bourgois concept of property in general. So, Copyleft methods are no step into the direction of a liberated society, like I want it to come, but they still have advantages. Like I said, they support to open a growing amount of data to everyone and that further supports objectivation of subjectivity. And that is not nothing. Certainly it would be nicer, if anyone had enough to eat, water, a flat with a roof and power supply, maybe -- against the absurdity which would otherwise come up -- even the gadgets, which are needed to use all these free and open data in an adequat way -- and I do not mean OLPC, but real gadgets. The disappointing fact, that all these things are not yet to come, does on the other hand not mean, that the changed handling of data does not benefit at least some people, which can afford those gadgets. Therefore I want to contribute to this little piece of happiness and put all my data under the CC-licence Attribution-ShareAlike. I do not use GNU because CC-licences are much simpler and unfortunately I am no legal expert.


the Internet Presence of Oliver Jelinski

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