"With the explosion of open data, we've seen a proliferation of civic software aiming to get community information on everything from road closures to restaurant inspections into people's hands.
The apps have great potential for engaging people in improving their communities. But often the people closest to the data - city leaders and staffers - have a difficult time finding and weeding through all the software to determine what's right for both their needs and their community.
That's why we're building Engagement Commons, a comprehensive catalogue of civic engagement software. It's a project of Civic Commons, funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation's Technology for Engagement Initiative, which funds projects that use technology to inspire on-the-ground action."
(Nick Grossman, Civic Commons Executive Director, 11 January 2012)
"With the Internet nurturing the sharing spirit inherent in people, 'commons' has taken on a new meaning. Free software proved spectacularily that the commons is a viable alternative to commodification. The term 'Digital Commons' is widely used but only losely defined. Still, it has an obvious evocative power, and the potential to reconceptualize our knowledge environment and to unite those fighting for its freedom.
Charlotte Hess will give an overview of the historical and contemporary uses and meanings of the 'commons,' 'common-pool resources,' and 'common property' as they apply to both natural and digital resources. The challenge she takes up is to build shared understandings and definitions in this rapidly emerging area of scholarship which will give rise to appropriate collective action."
(Wizard of OS, 12 June 2004)
 Hess, C. and E. Ostrom (2006). Understanding Knowledge as a Commons: From Theory to Practice, MIT Press.
"several theoretical views support the position that in life one has strong economic and non-economic claims for control over oneís intangible creations. Yet, the paper finds that historical and literary theory in conjunction with recent economic arguments of Professors Brett Frischmann and Mark Lemley regarding positive externalities generated by access to ideas and information, militate in favor of limits on heirsí control over these creations. Furthermore, insofar as society provides the building blocks from which these creations arise, all the theories show that creations must at some point become part of the commons to enable others to generate new creations. Thus the paper argues against the growth of trademark or trademark-like authorís rights which have no temporal limit and offer heirs extreme control over access to and use of an authorís work and seeks to balance the interests of creators with societyís interest in fostering later expression and creation of new works."
Desai, Deven R., Property, Persona, and Publicity (August 21, 2007). TJSL Legal Studies Research Paper No. 1008541. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1008541
"A museum exhibit called 'Illegal Art' might sound like a history of naughty pictures. Turns out that the exhibit (through July 25 at SF MOMA Artist's Gallery) is more innocuous than most primetime TV: A Mickey Mouse gasmask. Pez candy dispensers honoring fallen hip-hop stars. A litigious Little Mermaid. Not kids' stuff, exactly-but illegal?
Copyright holders have threatened and sued many of the show's artists for sampling, remixing, and recontextualizing other people's artistic creations without permission. Featuring audio and visual exhibits, a full length CD, and several films, the show highlights how copyright, typically considered an engine of creativity, can stifle art and free speech.
'Copyright is often so esoteric and theoretical,' said Carrie McLaren, the exhibit's curator. 'We wanted to make copyright's problems as real to the average person as they are to our featured artists.'"
The online spaces where virtual community members interact are referred to by a wide variety of labels including chat rooms (Read 1991), cyber-inns (Coate 1992), virtual settlements (Jones 1997), commons (Kollock and Smith 1994), and conferences (Hiltz and Turoff 1981). Some systems are completely open to the public, such as LambdaMoo (Schiano and White 1998), others are restricted to a membership (Schlager and Schank 1997), or a specific task or purpose (Erickson 1999). The diversity of online community space designs and labels highlights how system features provide a context for community interactions.
Coate, J., 1992. Innkeeping in Cyberspace, In: Directions and Implications of Advanced Computing (DIAC-92), Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility, Palo Alto, CA. http://gopher.well.sf.ca.us:70/0/Community/innkeeping
Erickson, T., et al. Socially Translucent Systems: Social Proxies, Persistent Conversation, and the Design of Babble. in Human Factors in Computing: The Proceedings of CHI 99. 1999. Pittsburgh, PA: ACM Press
Hiltz, S.R. and M. Turoff, 1981. The evolution of user behaviour in a computerized conferencing system, Communications of the ACM, 24 (11 November): 739-751
Jones Q. 1997. Virtual-communities, virtual-settlements & cyber-archaeology: A theoretical outline. J of Comp Mediated Communication 3(3)
Kollock, P. and M. Smith, 1994. Managing the virtual commons: Cooperation and conflict in computer communities. In: Computer-Mediated Communication, (Ed. S. Herring), John Benjamins, Amsterdam
Reid, E. M., 1991. Electropolis: Communications and community on Internet Relay Chat, Honours, History, University of Melbourne. http://www.ee.mu.oz.au/papers/emr/work.html
Schiano, D.J. and S. White. The first noble truth of CyberSpace: People are People (even when they MOO). in CHI 98. 1998. Los Angeles CA: ACM
Schlager, M. and P. Schank. TAPPED IN: A New On-line Teacher Community Concept for the Next Generation of Internet Technology. in CSCL '97, The Second International Conference on Computer Support for Collaborative Learning. 1997. Toronto: ACM