The commons is the cultural and natural resources accessible to all members of a society.
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- To those who are awake, there is one world in common, but of those who are asleep, each is withdrawn to a private world of his own.
- Heraclitus, fragment 95, as translated by G.W.T. Patrick
- Our trend in copyright law has been to enclose as much as we can; the consequence of this enclosure is a stifling of creativity and innovation. If the Internet teaches us anything, it is that great value comes from leaving core resources in a commons, where they're free for people to build upon as they see fit.
- Lawrence Lessig, in "May the Source Be With You", Wired magazine article (9 December 2001)
- There has never been a time in history when more of our "culture" was as "owned" as it is now. And yet there has never been a time when the concentration of power to control the uses of culture has been as unquestioningly accepted as it is now.
- Lawrence Lessig, in Free Culture (2004)
- The law locks up the hapless felon
- who steals the goose from off the common,
- but lets the greater felon loose
- who steals the common from the goose.
- Anonymous, "The Goose and the Commons", Tickler Magazine (1 February 1821)