Saturday, November 1, 2014

Governance and legal structure for commons-based peer production

Governance and legal structures for commons-based peer production (CBPP) are evolving very rapidly, but we are still far from having something that is fully compatible with CBPP practices, to make a coherent CBPP system.

CBPP communities that create exchange value (products and services to be distributed/exchanged on the market) are usually hybrid or mixed structures. The most obvious examples are ecosystems like Arduino, which are comprised of a classical structure (the Arduino company) in the middle of an open source hardware (OSHW) community. The Arduino company incorporates functions for production and distribution, but it also plays an important role of facilitation and coordination of the open OSWH network around it. The 3D robotics (the company) and DIY Drones (the community) form a similar ecosystem. See Open source hardware meets the p2p economy blog post.

Other CBPP communities are organized as cooperatives. This choice is justified by the more democratic nature of these types of organizations. I expressed my opinions on this structure in the Are Coops Outdated in a Network Age article.