I am not a lawyer but…

As best exemplified by the Linux kernel, free and open source software is charac- terised by both a legally constrained and an ideologically defined openness, that enable the public and private copy, reuse and adaptation of a project’s underlying technical blueprints, that is the software source code.

The working hypothesis of my PhD research is that free and open source software is a social and technological revolution, that is also affecting the production of cultural expressions beyond the realm of computer science and the software industry. More specifically, with the increasing visibility of free and open source software within art, music, literature and design, it still remains to be researched how exactly, and to which extent, these novel work methods, tools, legal infrastructures and philosophies are affecting the creative practice, as well as the nature of the works created and their function. Ultimately, I am asking what are the different motivations and intentions that can lead to create works inspired and derived, in form, content or methodology, from free and open source software culture. Particular interest goes out to the misunderstandings, compromises and conflicts that are brought by the creative process and the subsequent production of cultural expressions as copyleft, open and free culture.

To explore this issue, a specific attention will be given to the following issues:

  • What is the economical and techno-legal lineage of free culture?
  • How does the appropriation of software freedom, openness and copyleft influence the production and cultural identity of artists? • What are the interpretations, possibilities and limits of a legally constrained free culture practice?
  • How does free culture enable cooperation beyond its conflicting systems of belief?


Institute: WdKA, PZI Contributor: Aymeric Mansoux (Phd voucher) Colleborators: Centre for Cultural Studies, Goldsmiths College, University of London Result: PhD thesis; development study domain; development international network