One of the real world (1) goals of this project is to advocate a cooperative effort in the architectural industry to design, customize and produce a good, cheap house.
To address the limitations of any effort to produce a good, cheap house directly seems to be outside the realm of technology and rooted in social and economic condition of our era; recent phenomenon within the software community's development model and file-sharing networks, however, may be of great value to the software-enhanced architect.
Over the past few years, the software community has seen a growing acceptance of copyleft and open source licenses (2).
A copyleft software license gives the user the right to use the compiled application, and the right to download, modify, and contribute to the source code that was used to create the end product.
Many software projects that has embraced this attitude have seen a large growth in the amount, speed and quality of the work being produced.
Software, such as Linux and Apache, with the help of Peer-to-Peer (P2P) file sharing technologies, such as Napster and GNUtella, have helped challenge our existing notions of intellectual property in ways that have demonstrated new visions of cooperative workflow and are providing valuable lessons on innovation, leadership and organizational principles.
The issues framed in the dialectic of the copyleft encompass the very future of creativity vital to industry, commerce, and free expression.
Embracing the copyleft agreement for architecural projects will promote the use of digital file formats, standardising interoperability between the numerous CAD/CAM/CAE data formats, help increase awareness and availaibity of the works, and encourage anyone with access and inclination to learn and get involved in the generative design process.
What We Talk About When We Talk About Architecture
The condition for a copyright to apply to an architectural work emphasizes that the work must published work. Whether or not the work was completed is not a necessary condition for a work to be published.
"Copyright of Architectural Works - Circulation 41 of Copyright Law of the United States of America
An original design of a building embodied in any tangible medium of expression, including a building,
architectural plans, or drawings, is subject to copyright protection as an “architectural work” under Section
102 of the Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C., as amended on December 1, 1990. The work includes the overall
form as well as the arrangement and composition of spaces and elements in the design but does
not include individual standard features or design elements that are functionally required.
The term building means structures that are habitable by humans and intended to be both permanent
and stationary, such as houses and office buildings, and other permanent and stationary structures
designed for human occupancy, including but not limited to churches, museums, gazebos, and garden
NOTE: A work is considered published when
underlying plans, drawings, or other copies of
the building design are distributed or made
available to the general public by sale or other
transfer of ownership, or by rental, lease, or
lending. Construction of a building does not itself
constitute publication for purposes of registration,
unless multiple copies are constructed."
(1) In respect to a request of Philip Nobel in a recent interview with 306090 for students to address problems of relevance.
While the terms copyleft and open source are used here rather interchangeably, they derive from two vocal initiatives within the software community, the Free Software Foundation (FSF) and the Open Source Intiaive (OSI). FSF was started by Richard Stallman in 1984, to help create a free Unix-like operating system called GNU (a recursive acronym for GNU is not Unix) and is the original publisher of a copyleft software license. The Open Source Initiaive was started several years ago by Eric Raymond and .. with the same intentions of the FSF but promoting the use of Open Source Software to avoid the misunderstandings that people often read into the Free Software principles. Today there has been a bit of a drift between the two though they shar many similar ideas. The difference between the two has been best encapsulated in a recent article in The Guardian, "While GNU and Linux may be identical in practice, free software and open source advocates may have different agendas. Stallman's free software has social and political aims, with the emphasis on freedom, whereas open source has practical and commercial aims in creating better software."