26 Apr 2006

We heart Communism

Communism might very well have been an ultra flop in the real world, but the World Wide Web hearts communism.

Have you ever shared a song with your friend? Or have you ever installed and used an open source software? How about using Google to look up some information? The chances are that you most likely would have (unless of course you have time travelled from stone age).

The fundamental ideology beneath the functioning of the World Wide Web is not too different from communism. Just as communism was meant to be, the Web today is more or less a classless, stateless network, transcending cultural and geographical barriers (well, maybe not so much in China, but anyway).

We are able to share information and “resources” freely (in both senses of the word) and for every commercial software package today, there is an equal and (sometimes) even better open source alternative, created by a dedicated community of developers, working for no specific monetary gains.

Where did this sudden spirit of sharing come from? The human beings have always been highly money-minded and selfish (which was one major reason behind the collapse of communism), but how do you explain the emergence of the World Wide Web?

While I was browsing YouTube, something really struck me.

The YouTube terms and conditions clearly state that one cannot:

submit material that is copyrighted, protected by trade secret or otherwise subject to third party proprietary rights, including privacy and publicity rights, unless you are the owner of such rights or have permission from their rightful owner.

Yet, many videos on YouTube are illegal, meaning which, since they are bound by copyright laws, they cannot be placed there for everyone to see (for e.g TV serials).

Is this a case of communism scoring over democracy?

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