Open Source Fighting COVID-19

Society wants to incentivise creativity and private enterprise. Copyrights patents and trademarks have emerged as a protection of what we today call intellectual property.

There are plenty of examples when these serve a useful purpose, however excessive extensions to the expiration of copyright as well as harmful patent trolls show the negative side of this arrangement.

Open source software and hardware has emerged as a powerful alternative that is compatible with profit making but also with building a Commons benefiting everybody inclusively.

In the global fight against COVID-19 the open-source medical devices initiative is an excellent example of modern cooperation. The membership of the Facebook group increased from less than 2000 to 100000 in a couple of months and the documentation of the projects is being translated in over 60 languages. The ability to rapidly collect, curate, translate and distribute useful information is radically improving our chances of helping those in need and in fighting the pandemic.

In a recent conversation with my friend Emil Abirascid on my new Italian live show streaming on YouTube and Facebook and Twitter, Qual è la domanda, he used the neologism “coviding” to describe something similar to pivoting, the necessity of startups to adapt to the reality of the pandemic. I find myself warming to the concept: just like in the wars of the past, it is necessary to devote oneself to the fight and natural that it occupies almost all of the activities and energies. So yes, I am going to keep referring to COVD-19 in my posts, emails, and videos. The fight goes on.