Hall, G. (2023). Experimenting with Copyright Licences. Community-Led Open Publication Infrastructures for Monographs (COPIM). Retrieved from https://copim.pubpub.org/pub/combinatorial-books-documentation-copyright-licences-post6
As part of the documentation for the first book coming out of the Combinatorial Books Pilot Project, we are discussing our rationale for chosing a CC-BY licence for this project as well as the limitations and potentials of this licence regarding more collaborative scholarship.
This is the sixth blogpost in a series documenting the COPIM/OHP Pilot Project Combinatorial Books: Gathering Flowers. You can find the previous blogposts here, here, here, here, and here.
When it comes to publishing a book, many authors and presses show a surprising lack of concern about whether the copyright licence used is consistent with what’s actually being said in the content of the work. Now it’s not our intention to single anyone out for particular criticism: our reservation is about a system more than individuals. But perhaps we can start with a brief analysis of Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri’s 2017 book Assembly, just to explain what we mean and illustrate why the choice of license matters far more than most people seem to think.
We are taking Hardt and Negri as our example because, as the authors of volumes such as Empire (2001), Multitude (2005) and Commonwealth (2009), they are among the most politically radical of theorists at work today. But we’re also focusing on them because, like us, they are interested in the generation of new forms of human and nonhuman collaboration. What’s so intriguing about Hardt and Negri in this context is that, in terms of their relationship to the decentralised, self-organising mobilisations they take inspiration from in Assembly – the Occupy movement, the Indignados movement in Spain, etcetera – these two autonomous Marxists can be seen to repeat much the same behaviour they criticise platform capitalist companies for engaging in with regard to the social relations of their users.