Common land on the internet

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An interesting  article on the BBC website by Bill Thompson about the advantages of public spaces on the internet as opposed to commercially-founded social spaces.

We have lost the online equivalent of parks and roads and shopping streets, where the limits on what we can reasonably say and do are set by society as a whole and not by the commercial interests of one company.

But the real problem with MySpace, YouTube and Flickr and the many other social spaces, sharing tools and online collaborative mechanisms is not that they are privately owned, it is that there is no public service ethos behind them.

There never can be as long as they are owned by companies that must pursue shareholder value above everything.

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