© 2023 The Public Source. All rights reserved; those who accept a Duty of Care to Palestinian life, including the principles of the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (“BDS”) movement, and agree to produce under this same license, may freely use this work for any purpose. We ask them only for attribution.
About Our License
What does a copyright license do and not do?
A copyright license announces to everyone, from individual creators to large institutions, the terms with which they can use the creative work in question under copyright law. These terms answer for reusers of the work the following questions: Am I allowed to copy this work? To distribute it? To modify it (for example, through translation, or adaptation to a different format)? To publicly display or perform it?
The default copyright license that attaches to all creative works automatically is the “All Rights Reserved” formulation, which means that anyone wanting to reuse the work should contact the authors and ask (and then it’s either arranged on a case by case basis or there is a standard license agreement). But many individuals and organizations choose to publish the specific terms to everyone — which is what The Public Source is doing.
Regardless of copyright, anyone can still share links to the original content on social media and comment on it. There are also important exceptions to copyright. Fair use/fair dealing legislation around the world sets standard limitations to copyright that allow users to use content freely for certain purposes.
What does The PS copyright license say?
All rights reserved; those who accept a Duty of Care to Palestinian life, including the principles of the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (“BDS”) movement, and agree to produce under this same license, may freely use this work for any purpose. We ask them only for attribution.
This license announces to everyone that they can copy, translate, adapt, and publish The Public Source content as long as they accept three conditions:
A Duty of Care to Palestinian life. Duty of care is a legal obligation one has toward others and the public to take reasonable measures to prevent foreseeable harm. We define it to explicitly include the principles of the BDS movement: https://bdsmovement.net/
Agree to release their adaptations of The Public Source work under this same license; i.e., If you translate an article, make a comic based on an article, or republish an original article in your own publication, the work has to be released with these same conditions. (This is what is referred to as “copyleft” or “share alike” in IP licenses).
Give credit by naming the original authors of the piece and The Public Source, with a link to the original.
Tl;dr: If you don’t harm Palestinian life and agree to use this license on your reproduction or modification of The PS content, you are welcome to it even for commercial use, just please give us credit. If you harm Palestinian life, you can’t use any of our stuff at all, even non-commercially.
Who else is doing similar things?
In recent years, developers in the open software movement (software is copyright) have moved away from traditional no-conditions, open-source licensing to integrating justice and equity as essential components of software — creating the Ethical Source Movement. Here is a menu of licenses with different options for tech workers to embed human rights and environmental conditions into their licenses. One of the build-your-own tools includes a Boycott / Divestment / Sanctions module.
Also, initiatives like the Race + IP conference are cultivating community and collaboration around the study of race and coloniality in intellectual property.
What does this mean in practice for solidarity with Palestine?
Intellectual property has immense direct material power in today’s global economy, comprising 75 percent of the global economy and eclipsing physical property, tangible resources, and commodities. If putting economic pressure on Israel is part of solidarity with Palestine, then activating intellectual property should be part of the calculus. It can be one more economic tool in the BDS repertoire.
Like all legal structures, intellectual property has significant power as a deterrent. But in the last instance, it can only be enforced if its holder is willing to take people to court. Battles over IP rights are litigated in national and international courts that have more teeth than international human rights legislation.
If putting economic pressure on Israel is part of solidarity with Palestine, then activating intellectual property should be part of the calculus. It can be one more economic tool in the BDS repertoire.
But intellectual property also has symbolic power. We have been inspired by the exercise of having to articulate and publish the terms upon which our creative work should enter the economy, and the radical imagination it inspires. See our Editorial. We see this tool as a new entry point for additional strategies for organizing as knowledge producers in solidarity with Palestine. Our specific license is but one possible application in praxis.
Aren’t you reifying intellectual property and placing too much emphasis on harmful legal structures?
We see the intellectual property system as a Eurocentric model of property rights responsible for much theft, extraction, and inequity. But pretending it doesn’t exist, choosing not to think about how we participate, is not resistance but complicity. We are trying to consciously occupy the system with terms that connect our intellectual property to the world as we aspire it to be — one where knowledge and creativity can be shared freely only when people are free.
It reorients disputes away from the technicalities of intellectual property infringement and centers the question of what it means to care for Palestinian life.
The terms of our license abolishes copyright among creators who share a commitment to preserving Palestinian life, but is maximalist about it with respect to those who do not. It is a vision of a commons where participants do not care about this Eurocentric model of property, but do reserve the right to use it and its economic power against oppressors. It reorients disputes away from the technicalities of intellectual property infringement and centers the question of what it means to care for Palestinian life.
How do I use the license in my own work?
Simply copy and paste the text of the license in your own work. We are working on co-designing a “mark” which should make this more fun visually.
I have more questions.
Ask away at: https://thepublicsource.org/contact