Law and Governance: The Genesis of the Commons

Law and Governance: The Genesis of the Commons

Danièle Bourcier (Centre d'Études et de Recherches de Sciences Administratives et Politiques (CERSA), France)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-7230-7.ch010
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The case of Creative Commons (CC) is a good example for describing how a new way to govern Commons has been invented. The Creative Commons (CC) Project was launched with no particular consideration of governance. Its primary aim was simply to share a common resource with common digital management. Several years on, the question of governance, as a logic of collective action, is coming to the fore. Between legicentrism and over-privatization, can both CC governance and governance by CC be seen as an alternative solution for managing future projects on common property in common?
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Property Rights And Governance

Goods relevant to CC are immaterial and/or digital goods3, and may be private or “public.” However, this category of “public goods” is difficult to clarify. For economists, a public good is characterized by non-rivalry and non-excludability. Water, for instance, is not a public good since appropriation of this resource may give rise to rivalry. In this, we see the first signs of possible confusion between economic and legal vocabulary: as far as lawyers are concerned, public informational goods are those subsidized by public funding, intended to be accessible to the public, while the law deals with private goods under the concepts of property and private heritage. The question of governance arises when the goods are in a gray area between private property and public service.

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