Back in October, I praised a Kerry Howley essay for Reason in which she criticized libertarians who focus exclusively on threats to liberty that originate with the state. And I pointed to the free software movement as an example of a pro-liberty movement that doesn’t primarily focus on the state as a threat to liberty.
The last few years have witnessed the rapid growth of another liberal project: the free culture movement and its student arm, Students for Free Culture. SFC’s mission is to “build a bottom-up, participatory structure to society and culture, rather than a top-down, closed, proprietary structure.” Copyright reform is an important part of the movement’s agenda, but in my view its more important role is building the infrastructure for a free culture. They promote the use of creative commons licenses, educate creative people about the value of a free culture, lobby for universities for open access scholarship, and so forth. These are steps that enhance freedom without any changes to copyright law.
So I was excited to be invited to be on a panel at Free Culture X, SFC’s 2010 conference. I’ll be speaking about “The Politics of Open Networks.” If you’re in the DC area, I hope to see you there.