A Commons Exchange: Aiding the Commons through Facilitating Website and Digital Art Adoption

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Much cultural commentary focuses on the problem that private or potentially embarrassing information on the Internet seems to live forever. But recently a new anxiety has developed, based on the fact that parts of the Internet simply die off. Ultimately all digital cultural creation that is not hosted by an established institution, and even much institutional material, will stagnate or be lost if possession of such work is not passed on to an enthusiastic new owner. Ventures like Internet Archive attempt to preserve the remains of the Internet gone by, but there is no entity that seeks to breathe new life into websites that would otherwise disappear, by helping to transition their ownership. A legal and technological mechanism is needed to maneuver around the intellectual property rights regime that hinders the free flow and evolution of artwork. This paper proposes a new idea to bolster the commons and increase the dissemination of cultural creation: a commons exchange that facilitates contacts between those who are looking to hand off a project and those who are willing to take one up, so artists and website owners can protect and carry on the legacies of established works. In essence, the Internet needs an adoption agency for digital cultural creation.

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I/S: A Journal of Law and Policy for the Information Society