Ethics and Information Technology 6 (4):223-231 (2004)

The commodification of code demands two preconditions: a belief if the existence of code and a system of ownership for the code. An examination of these preconditions is helpful for resisting the further widening of digital divides. The ontological belief in the relatively independent existence of code is dependent on our understanding of what the “digital” is. Here it is claimed that the digital is not a natural kind, but a concept that is relative to our practices of interpretation. An interpretative system that sees code as something that can or should always be owned implies an increase of social control and threatens vital processes of knowledge creation that are necessary for an open and egalitarian information society. The ontological belief in “digital code” thus provides the backdrop for an ethical view of the information society. Consequently, if we see digital code as an interpretative notion (in the nominalist way), the ethical questions appear in a different light.
Keywords ICT   digital divide   digitalness   disorganisations   free software   information society   intellectual property   knowledge creation   ontology
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Reprint years 2005
DOI 10.1007/s10676-005-0350-7
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References found in this work BETA

Minds, Brains, and Programs.John R. Searle - 1980 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 3 (3):417-57.
Readings in Philosophy of Psychology.Ned Block (ed.) - 1980 - Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
The Cathedral and the Bazaar.Eric Raymond - 1999 - Knowledge, Technology & Policy 12 (3):23-49.

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Ethical EU eJustice: Elusive or Illusionary?Juliet Lodge - 2006 - Journal of Information, Communication and Ethics in Society 4 (3):131-144.

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