During the week of September 16, Concurring Opinions will be hosting a deep bench of thinkers, tinkerers, and scholars to discuss Professor Gabriella Coleman’s important book Coding Freedom: The Ethics and Aesthetics of Hacking (Princeton University Press 2012). Professor Coleman, the Wolfe Chair in Scientific & Technological Literacy at McGill University, is a leading scholar and cultural guide in all matters involving digital activism and engagement. The Chronicle of Higher Education aptly deemed Professor Coleman “the world’s foremost scholar on Anonymous.”
To whet our appetites for next week, let me say a little bit about the book. Coding Freedom explores the contributions of computer hackers to the trajectory of intellectual property law specifically and liberalism generally. Professor Coleman spent two years of fieldwork in San Francisco, the Netherlands, and online studying the efforts, values, and social norms that guide the production of Free and Open Source Software.
As Coding Freedom explores, computer hackers—technical experts with a passion for tinkering and a commitment to information freedom—have profoundly shaped the social meaning of civil liberties in our digital age. Through technical production and political engagement, computer hackers have recast and buttressed privacy and free speech.Before 1990, source code, the blueprints of software, was rarely cast as free speech. Nearly twenty-five years later, F/OSS participants have erected an alternative legal regime to intellectual property rights on free speech and free information grounds. Hacker culture has provided crucial lessons for liberal governance by reinvigorating our commitments to debate, collaboration, mentoring, engagement, transparency, and accountability. In short, F/OSS has changed the politics of intellectual property law and liberalism.
Next week, the following experts, including Professor Gabriella Coleman, will be joining us to talk about Coding Freedom: