The Ontology of the Intellectual Commons

Antonios Broumas



Intellectual commons are the great other of intellectual property‒enabled markets. They constitute noncommercial spheres of intellectual production, distribution, and consumption, which are reproduced outside the circulation of intangible commodities and money. They provide the core common infrastructures of intellectual production, such as language, nonaggregated data and information, prior knowledge, and culture. This article formulates a processual ontology of the intellectual commons by examining the substance, elements, tendencies, and manifestations of their being. The first part of the article introduces the various definitions of the concept. The second part focuses on the elements, which constitute the totalities of the intellectual commons. The third part emphasizes their structural tendencies. Finally, the fourth and last part of the article deals with the various manifestations of the intellectual commons in the domains of culture, science, and technology.


intellectual commons, commons-based peer production, ontology, definition

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