The web as we know it hasn’t just appeared, but has gone through a process, an evolution that has only been successful due to technological advancements.It began from Tim Berners-Lee who started the World Wide Web. His aim for the world wide web was so that he could allow for everyone to have access to his research information. It would be free information, information that is not based on matter which people have to purchase, but is online, digitalised. Barlow, J. P. also had a similar idea and concluded that “legal concepts of property, expression, identity, movement and context do not apply to us (cyberspace),” and hence its information that should be available for free, able to be accessed by everyone.
I think this is a great idea, however I think not all information should be made accessible for everyone at no cost. There needs to be an economic return for the things people produce and create in cyberspace. There needs to be intellectual property rights and the notion to own information so that people do not lose the incentive for innovation; to create new things. Richard Stallman and Barlow, J. P. argues against this notion of property in cyberspace. Stallman refuses to a software license agreement; he says “I have decided to put together a sufficient body of free software so that I will be able to get along with any software that is not free.” But I think if this was the case for all the information and products in cyberspace then there would be no reward for those creators of new information. It would create a stagnant cyberspace, with only few individuals such as Stallman contributing to this potentially ever growing space.
But don’t get me wrong I love free information, free software and I’m pretty sure almost all of us has at least once downloaded music and movies online without buying it. However, I think we need a balance between what’s made available for free and what’s not. It can’t all be free because then there will be no incentive to produce new information, new software, and new things. However, basic software and information should be made available to everyone freely because people need it to make a start, so that they’re able to take the first step to create new information and products.
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