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Lawrence Lessig, Charles Nesson & Jonathan Zittrain, Open Code, Open Content, Open Law: Building a Digital Commons (Berkman Klein Center Strategic Planning Session Paper, May 20, 1999).

Abstract: The model of university as producer of knowledge-as-product-for-sale is a closed one. Knowledge is treated as property to be copyrighted, patented, classified, licensed, and litigated. Under this closed model, creative work cannot progress without negotiations about license fees (the ambit of legal "fair use" at a minimum). As faculty become work-for-hire, money becomes the currency of the campus, and legality the dominant feature of relationship. Under this model, the nature of Harvard will change fundamentally - for the worse, I think. The community of scholars at the heart of the academy trades riches for a comfortable secure environment in which to think, research, and teach. This community, comprised of intellectuals who do not hold money paramount, will be oppressed by a commercial/legal environment. The Berkman Center aspires to demonstrate a different model - open IT, we call it. We encourage cooperative work dedicated to the open domain. Faculty, students, staff, alumni, relatives, and friends are permitted and encouraged (though not required) to work together in the public interest. Intellectual community and creative process is our product, knowledge the by-product. This approach galvanizes spirit and produces educational works of great distinction and wide public utility. Furthermore, this model maintains the community of scholars while avoiding the meanness of money and licenses. It will enhance the prestige of the institutions that contribute and become part of it. But there are questions.