Documentary short on the link between the free culture and free software movements, featuring Lawrence Lessig (Harvard / Creative Commons), Vincent Moon (Petite Planetes), Richard Stallman (Free Software Foundation), and Mitchell Baker (Mozilla).
The rise of open-source software development illustrates the relationship between computing innovation and ethical principles. The ethical concerns held by a community of software developers lead to innovation in open source licensing and copyright agreements (Kelty, 2008).
A community of developers came to believe that software code should be free and widely shared, rather than proprietary. What began as a method to create better software took on moral dimensions as supporters adopted arguments for freedom and autonomy. These ethics percolated until a large community of programmers believed that sharing code was the right thing to do — both ethically and practically. This ethic of openness lead developers to experiment with ways to license their work for sharing under the existing U.S. copyright regime.
The result was a variety of creative commons licenses: “hacks” of copyright law that became innovations in their own right. These novel licenses allowed the open source movement to grow and prosper, and have spread beyond software to use in such diverse media distribution as book publishing and photo sharing. Once a fringe belief, open source ethics are slowly becoming institutionalized, and are now taught as good practice in diverse design labs and computer science classrooms.
Film by UCLA Remap