Arts, Media and Technology,

Open Source

Open Source is the availability and use of free software, that is developed by volunteers at no cost to users. Open Source essentially turns the influence and power from the developers to the users. Because Open Source software is developed by volunteers, the model for its development and the accountability for its quality is shared. This is much different from a private commerical company that must guarantee its product or its product will not sell. However, as open source becomes more common, community-based and volunteer-led creation and design has allowed for the user to provide the critical feedback and drive, in part, the software program's final design. The Pacific Foundation believes this is an incredible opportunity to shift the balance of power. Even more, the responsibility for quality software falls to user; an level accountability that is inherent to the model. Open Source is not a "fringe" structure used by engineers as a hobby, rather it is an important part of our everday internet use. Online behemoths from Google to Amazon use open source software as part of their core infrastructure.

The Pacific Foundation is committed to supporting organizations that are working to realize the following goals and impact


  • To develop new tools for Open Source programming;
  • To support experimentation with new models with particular emphasis on the creation of new artwork;
  • To ensure continued artistic innovation in Open Source development.

Intended Impact:

  • Emerging models in open source and peer-to-peer knowledge sharing.
  • To further the distribution of new Open Source art that address social issues including open source and free access to knowledge.

Intellectual Property Reform

Much in alignment with the Foundation’s support of Net Neutrality, current Intellectual Property (IP) law is undermining free flow expression and innovation. This is especially harmful to artists using digital media in their work.

Particularly harmful to new, creative expression is the duration of copyright protection, which has more than doubled in recent decades. Even more, new IP restrictions are now being extended to new subject matter such as databases, software, and business methods. (Open Society Institute, 2007) This is especially harmful to the efforts of digital media artists.

“….the digital world is radically different. It’s radically different because of the architectural feature of the digital world, which is that every single use of creative work in digital space produces a copy. There is no way to use creative work in digital space without using a copy. And thus the architecture of copyright law, which regulates “copies,” and the architecture of digital space, which produces a copy with every use creates this traditionally extraordinary presumption, which is every single use requires permission.” – Lawrence Lessig, at Ford Foundation, 2007

The Pacific Foundation is committed to supporting organizations to achieve the following goals:


  • To protect and expand the public’s right to free expression, knowledge, and creativity;
  • To support the development of less restrictive business models; and
  • To support advocacy efforts around policy and law reform.

Intended Impact:

  • Successful policy reform around Intellectual Property (i.e. more open and free use of new digital art and ideas);
  • Increased awareness of reform issue including a wide ranging impact via the artwork, including viral media and ground-up response; and
  • New digital artwork created and shared openly.