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Richard Stallman Talks On Copyright Vs. the People 329

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the it-takes-a-village dept.
holden writes "Richard M. Stallman recently gave a talk entitled Copyright vs Community in the Age of Computer Networks to the University of Waterloo Computer Science Club. The talk looks at the origin of copyright, and how it has evolved over time from something that originally served the benefit of the people to a tool used against them. In keeping with his wishes to use open formats, the talk and QA are available in ogg theora only."
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Richard Stallman Talks On Copyright Vs. the People

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  • 600+ megs linked off the front page.. you must hate these guys.
    • by xaxa (988988)
      The site's gone down, so here's a copy of the torrent file:

      rms-talk.ogg.torrent [ic.ac.uk]

      I didn't get the Q&A torrent.
    • by smchris (464899)
      In for 100 meg, in for the CD I guess. But I better be able to hear a pin drop in quiet moments. In 5-1.

      Sheesh. The Australian linux club a few years ago put a whole bunch of the 2-hour lectures of a multi-day conference on a CD .iso using speex with room for photos, Powerpoint presentations, souvenir video and the HTML framework.

      In other words, pretty stupid, guys.
  • Why is there no transcript? I'm not saying I couldn't download the video and watch it, but I'd rather not spend at least an hour downloading it and then have to watch it.
    • by gvc (167165) on Friday July 20, 2007 @07:54AM (#19925257)
      Why is there no transcript?

      Because you haven't typed one. And neither has anyone else.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 20, 2007 @08:58AM (#19925697)
        I did this late at night. There will be typos, word transpositions, etc. I may well have missed a sentence or two since I don't type as fast as he talks. I know nothing about the "proper" way to do transcriptions, and this is the first I've tried.

        [2:22]

        Anyway, I started the free software movement in 1983. Announcing a plan to devolop a free software operating system that would make it possible to use a computer and have freedom. Because the existing operating systems were all proprietary, all of them subjugated the user. Proprietary software keeps users divided and helpless - divided because everyone is forbidden to share it with anyone else, and helpless because the users don't have the source code so they can't change it, they can't even verify what it's doing. And many non-free programs contain malicious features, designed to spy on the user, restrict the user, or even attack the user. And these features are possible because the developers have power over the users in teh first place. If the developer want to impose something nasty on the user, he can. And the only recourse the users have is not to use that program. And sometimes all the alternatives have similar malicious features, which means the users effectively have no influence at all.

        So. The idea of the free software movement is that users should have freedom. What does that mean? THere are four essential freedoms that users should have: freedom zero is the freedom to run the program as you wish (there are programs that don't even give you that much freedom). Freedom 1 is the freedom to study the source code of the program and then change it to make it do what you wish, instead of what the developer chose to impose on you. Freedom 2 is the freedom to help your neighbor. That's the freedom to distribute exact copies to others when you wish, up to and including republication. And freedom three is the freedom to contribute to your community. That's the freedom to distribute copies of your modified versions, when you wish. Up to and including publication. With these four freedoms, the users are in control, both individually and collectively. You can always take control of your copy and do exactly what you want with it, if it's important enough to you to be worth the effort. And meanwile the users together are deciding what will happen to the program in general, which features they want, what features they don't want. And thus, nobody has power over anybody else.

        Since a computer is useless without an operating system, the only way this freedom can be a reality is if we have a free operating system. Of course, that's not enough - every program we run has to be free, but the first thing we need is an operating system. The computer's just a hunk of metal and plastic without that. So, I'd set out to develop a free software operating system called GNU. Most of you have heard of this system, but under the wrong name. You've probably heard it called Linux. What happened was when GNU was almost complete in 1992, just one important piece was missing. And at that time - and the peice that was missing is called the kernel, it's the piece that allocates the machines resources -- why are you laughing? I'm serious, some people have the idea that the kernel in 90% of the system and all the rest is sort of a garnish. Actually the kernel is juse one of many important components. We developed a lot of them, and that was the one that we hadn't finished yet. So, a kernel called Linux which had previously not been free software was liberated in 1992, and at that point it filled the last gap in the mostly complete GNU operating system, producing a system wich is GNU, plus Linux. So, this GNU plus Linux system began to catch on. People got confused, they thought that the - they started calling the whole system Linux, and so they started thinking that it was all developed by Linus Torvals in 1991. But it wasn't. We'd been working on it for many years. And we had developed many large and essential components, to get so close to having a complete s

        • Second half, since slashdot can't handle a 68Kb comment.

          [41:55]

          [Stallman drinks]

          So, that's whats going on in the area of movies and video. But we can see attempts to restrict us in music, as well. For many years, some apparent compact disks aren't real compact disks, they're corrupt disks. Because they're designed not to be standard, not to be proprly readable with your computer. Sony got in a lot of trouble, although not as much as it should have, for its scheme to produce corrupt disks, because Son
  • choice of license (Score:2, Insightful)

    by pigscanfly.ca (664381) *
    I find his choice of CC license odd given his talk.... He spends most of the time talking about the importance of derivative works, but then releases his talk under a no-derivatives license. Oh well :(
  • I attended (Score:5, Informative)

    by jeevesbond (1066726) on Friday July 20, 2007 @03:57AM (#19924161) Homepage

    Am happy to say: I was there! :)

    It was a good lecture, Stallman has some interesting ideas on what should be done. In particular he talks about how society and copyright never clashed before as the public never had the ability to create commercial grade copies of content (before the advent of the PC). He then goes on to explain a way that copyright can be reformed, including some possible categories for works (based upon their usefulness and application within society). Bit of a spoiler: the works that are instructional (cook books, car manuals, GNU+Linux howtos etc.) should be totally Free, but art for arts sake should have a 5-10 year copyright. There are many more details that you should watch the video to find out about (plus my memory of the event is a little vague and the video hasn't downloaded yet).

    The talk drifted at the start and in the middle, with blather about GNU+Linux and the evils of Vista; although some of the Vista evils are on-topic, Stallman did lose his way a bit on the subject. Otherwise it was damn good, well worth going to and/or watching on your OGG player!

    • by CRCulver (715279)

      In particular he talks about how society and copyright never clashed before as the public never had the ability to create commercial grade copies of content (before the advent of the PC).

      What does that mean? The public certainly had the opportunity to make commercial-grade copies of content before the advent of the PC, as American publishers routinely mass-produced books which proved popular in England. Even in ancient Rome there was the production of commercial-grade copies, when the recitals of popular

      • by QuantumG (50515)
        The mainstream public.. not publishers, you and me.
        • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

          by CRCulver (715279)

          The mainstream public.. not publishers, you and me.

          Publishing used to be much cheaper than it is now. Tsvetaeva and Whitman, just to name two poets of yore, had the first printings of their poetry done at their own expense, since the price was low. If the common man say a profit in reproducing something, he could easily undertake it.

          • by QuantumG (50515)
            I'm not sure what point you're trying to make, if any.

            • by CRCulver (715279)
              The point is that copying without permission of the copyright holder has been around in the West since Gutenburg (and, when forced labour was widely available, in Rome as well). It didn't just come into being with the invention of the PC.
              • Re:I attended (Score:5, Insightful)

                by QuantumG (50515) <qg@biodome.org> on Friday July 20, 2007 @04:33AM (#19924305) Homepage Journal
                No-one said it did.

                The argument RMS puts forward is that Copyright was a good deal for the public when the only people it affected was a small percentage of the population.. when it was seen as a restriction on trade. Now, with the PC, we all copy, all the time and Copyright is just in the way. It's no longer just a restriction on trade.. it's a restriction on private acts and requires intrusive policing to enforce.

        • by bytesex (112972)
          Commercial grade copies made by the public have always been possible to make a few years after the medium came about that the originals were made in. PCs didn't change that trend - people are inventive, curious and resourceful. That's why governments put printers under control (not the contraptions, the people), and made _them_ responsible for not breaking any laws (of copyright, vulgarity, counterfeiting, etc.). Luckily, there were always countries about with less severe, or different laws. IIRC, Ulyss
          • Commercial grade copies made by the public have always been possible to make a few years after the medium came about that the originals were made in. PCs didn't change that trend

            Maybe they didn't change the trend, but they certainly made it orders of magnitude easier to 'manufacture' (cp or right-click Copy) works.

            That's why governments put printers under control (not the contraptions, the people)

            That's the point though: not everyone owned their own printing press. While publishing may have been ch

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by i.r.id10t (595143)
        Yup, that hand copying of books is a great way to get a 100% accurate copy ... :)

        There was a Pope who was greatly loved by all of his followers, a man
        who led with gentleness, faith and wisdom. His passing was grieved by the
        entire world, Catholic or not.

        As the Pope approached the gates of heaven, it was Saint Peter who greeted
        him in a firm embrace.

        "Welcome your holiness, your dedication and unselfishness in serving your
        fellow man during you life has earned you great stature in heaven. You
        may pass through t
    • by dedazo (737510)

      but art for arts sake should have a 5-10 year copyright

      That's nice. Would it be OK for him if I pushed for an artificial limit on some of the clauses in the GPL as well?

      • Re:I attended (Score:4, Insightful)

        by unlametheweak (1102159) on Friday July 20, 2007 @05:05AM (#19924415)
        Copyrights ARE artificial limits... whether they be five years or fifty years after the author's death. Nothing is natural about copyright. It's an unnatural legal construct that's quite unintuitive. That's why we need organizations like the RIAA to educate children about the importance of copyright.

        It's more a matter of being fair (and practical). Copyright doesn't loose value like material property. With copyright people can still make money off of work they have long since done. It's bizarre. Laws are easy to create, and the non-power brokers like me have no defacto say. Five years is plenty fair IMHO for getting paid for (in some cases a few hours worth of work), over and over again for the rest of one's life.

        I'm sure, all-things-being-equal, RMS wouldn't mind having an "artificial limit" placed on the GPL, but that would be assuming a fair and equal playing field.
        • by dedazo (737510)

          Five years is plenty fair IMHO for getting paid for (in some cases a few hours worth of work), over and over again for the rest of one's life.

          I'm not sure I follow. Are you speaking out of personal experience? What or who decides what is "plenty fair"?

          I don't necessarily disagree that copyright is broken, but I see way too many of these "X should be Y" opinions, and I don't think the people who write them understand IP or copyright law other than to claim they don't like it for one reason or another.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            What or who decides what is "plenty fair"?

            Good question. I know it's not me. In the US it's members of congress who get lobbied by the copyright holders (which usually aren't even the creators of the work, but just the marketers). Yes "five years is plenty fair" is a bit flippant, but think of it more as an example of something that is MORE fair than, say, fifty or 70 years after an authors death. 10 years maybe, or even 20? ... I'm just aiming at something a little more realistic and intuitive than what th

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Drew_9999 (750818)

          It's more a matter of being fair (and practical). Copyright doesn't loose value like material property. With copyright people can still make money off of work they have long since done. It's bizarre. Laws are easy to create, and the non-power brokers like me have no defacto say. Five years is plenty fair IMHO for getting paid for (in some cases a few hours worth of work), over and over again for the rest of one's life.

          You say "a few hours worth of work" as though that has anything to do with determining the value of art.

  • by Marcion (876801) on Friday July 20, 2007 @03:58AM (#19924165) Homepage Journal
    VLC is just one player that can play Oggs, download it free here [videolan.org].

    If someone did an ogg vorbis (just the sound) that would be good for us to listen to on the go, the main video file is 686.3 MB which would mean I would have to ditch a lot of stuff to get it on my rockbox.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 20, 2007 @04:01AM (#19924177)
    RMS gave the same speech [cybuild.com] two years ago in Bulgaria.
  • by Valacosa (863657) on Friday July 20, 2007 @04:06AM (#19924183)

    Not everyone who saw the lecture agreed with the contents. A counterpoint can be found here. [slashdot.org]

    I didn't write that counterpoint, but there's one thing the author and I agree on: Richard Stallman is a lot more crazy in person. One guy in the audience asked how he was supposed to pay for his university education by releasing free software. Stallman didn't really give him an answer, he just told the student that he didn't have to go to school, and he had no right to release closed source software in an attempt to earn money. Stallman has compared closed source software to "a crime against humanity", yes?

    I talked to Stallman after the lecture. I asked him how he paid the mortgage after leaving MIT in 1984. He said that that he's never had a mortgage and "he lives cheaply". I later heard that he basically squatted on the MIT campus.

    See, here's the problem with Stallman's philosophies: they're highly incompatible with the status quo, and there's no clear path for change. If you want people to do $Y instead of $X, $Y has to be relatively pin-compatible with $X. Telling people to write free software is well and good, but your paradigm isn't going to have much success if it also requires programmers to buy a house, get married, and otherwise have a normal life.

    On a related note, I also asked Stallman what he thought of the wedding photography industry. For those of you who don't know, typical wedding photographers cost over a thousand dollars, show up at your wedding to take pictures, and then make you pay through the nose for prints. They don't even give you the copyright, if you want more prints you have to go back to the photographer! One must shop around to find a photographer who'll actually give you the digital originals. Anyway, I asked Stallman if he thought this was analogous to what was happening in the software world, and he said no. He thought closed source software was a greater imposition on freedom than holding wedding memories hostage.

    The man is too close to his particular pet cause.

    • D'oh! Wrong link! (Score:4, Informative)

      by Valacosa (863657) on Friday July 20, 2007 @04:09AM (#19924201)
      Please kindly ignore the incorrect link. The correct one is here. [uwaterloo.ca] (Damn tabs)
      • It's not much of a counterpoint, since this guy basically argues that programmers should be able to get paid for their work (something that noone really contested) not that SW should be closed (which would be a real counterpoint).
        The lack of copyright and programming as a profitable business are not the same. You can find examples of copyrighted programs failing to bring in any money (just ask shareware authors) and there are programmers who are paid to work on copyleft stuff (I would venture to guess that
        • by Ash Vince (602485)
          Actually Stallman does not believe that we should be able to charge money for producing code but believes we should give it away for free.

          I actually agree with him. But unfortunately I am trapped by a system that requires me to have a certain amount of money in order to eat. Your point about shareware is pretty rubbish as RMS opposes closed source software and most shareware is closed source. Most shareware is not copyleft, that would make it freeware. The concept of shareware is that I produce something an
          • by dabadab (126782)

            Actually Stallman does not believe that we should be able to charge money for producing code

            Care to back that statement with something? (This [gnu.org] really seems to indicate that he thinks selling software is OK.)

            Your point about shareware is pretty rubbish

            Perhaps you should have read it more carefully. My point was that:
            1) shareware is closed source, and
            2) yet in many cases it fails to be profitable (or even to generate any revenue at all)

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by Tack (4642)

            Actually Stallman does not believe that we should be able to charge money for producing code but believes we should give it away for free.

            I was at the lecture at U of Waterloo and he explicitly said the opposite. He said that he is fine with software-for-money (which in any case does not preclude its being free-as-in-speech), and in fact is even fine with custom or in-house software -- which he argued is the vast majority of paid software -- not being made publicly available.

    • by Valacosa (863657) on Friday July 20, 2007 @04:20AM (#19924257)
      Also, that should read, "also requires programmers to not buy a house, get married, and otherwise have a normal life." This is what happens when Slashdot posts are written in haste at four in the morning.
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Hal_Porter (817932)
        If your posting on Slashdot at four in the morning I can see why you get confused about the whole get married/buy a house thing.
    • by QuantumG (50515) <qg@biodome.org> on Friday July 20, 2007 @04:43AM (#19924339) Homepage Journal
      People are doing something you find amoral. They ask you how they are supposed to pay the rent/mortgage. You tell them that it's not your problem, they should just stop doing what you find amoral.

      Sounds perfectly reasonable to me.

      Do I have to make a stupid analogy or do you get why?

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Valacosa (863657)

        You've been modded as funny, but somehow I don't think you're joking.

        Sadly, the only analogies I could think of involve the Catholic Church, but I'm not sure they'd support your point.

        Church: You can't say the Sun is the centre of the universe. It's amoral.
        Galileo: But all the evidence says it is!
        Church: That's not our problem.

        So yeah, you're probably going to have to come up with an analogy.

        Anyway, sure, Stallman can call whatever he wants amoral. My point is, if he wants a wide audience to actual

        • by QuantumG (50515) <qg@biodome.org> on Friday July 20, 2007 @05:20AM (#19924505) Homepage Journal
          Oh, I see, I *do* have to make a stupid analogy. What's wrong with you people who insist that we make stupid analogies. Fine. Here goes.

          If you're a whaler and people tell you to stop whaling your response is most likely going to be "but how will I feed my family?" And the response will likely be "look, I know you've been a whaler all your life, and I know your whole family were whalers for generations and generations, but whales are becoming extinct and to continue whaling them into extinction is just wrong!" To which the whaler may reply "you didn't answer my question!"

          It's irrelevant. It's his problem. Go become a fisherman.. or drive an oil tanker, err, cruise ship, or something.

          • by Valacosa (863657) on Friday July 20, 2007 @05:53AM (#19924659)

            Since you didn't want to come up with an analogy in the first place, I know you wouldn't appreciate it if I picked holes in it. So I won't.

            Problem #1: There are some things generally considered amoral by the population. Murder. Rape. Hunting a species to extinction" Sure, we can get behind that, throw that on the list. "Closed source software" isn't something that leaps into people's heads, and even if it did I doubt most people would put it in the top fifty. "That guy who drives past all the waiting cars and then cuts into the turning lane" would likely rank higher than "closed source software".

            Richard Stallman is not the pope of PCs. His saying closed source is immoral doesn't mean anything. You may agree with him, and I agree that closed source isn't preferable. But while most people mind murder and rape and extinction of cute animals most people don't give a damn about software. For them it's a means to an end, and nothing more. Hence our current situation.

            Problem #2: I'm pro free software, but think Stallman is going about promoting it in the wrong way. He's literally giving talks to the programmers of tomorrow and saying, "Don't release closed source. It's immoral." Does he offer alternatives? Somewhat - he did say that one can program for open source on commission, but can one earn a good living at it? He's hardly a proof of principle himself. I know there are examples and whole business models, but he didn't talk about them.

            We're talking about two different things. You're assuming that average people, when faced with two options, will pick the difficult one with no benefit to themselves, magically listening to an inconvenient person telling them that the easy option is "amoral". I'm more concerned with how Stallman will get people to actually listen to him. At this rate, he's bound to have as much success as the anti-whalers. [newscientist.com]

            • by QuantumG (50515)
              Thanks for not picking holes in my stupid analogy.. it's clearly not for your benefit.

              I think I understand what you are saying, but I'm still curious why anyone would ask RMS how they are supposed to earn a living. He feels it is amoral, it's the wrong question to ask him.

              As for his strategy for promoting free software. Yes, we all agree that RMS doesn't have the best strategy. Although, you have to admit, he's done a heck of a lot with that bad strategy. And yeah, he's never had trouble getting people
            • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

              by krasmussen (891165)

              We're talking about two different things. You're assuming that average people, when faced with two options, will pick the difficult one with no benefit to themselves, magically listening to an inconvenient person telling them that the easy option is "amoral". I'm more concerned with how Stallman will get people to actually listen to him. At this rate, he's bound to have as much success as the anti-whalers.

              If your goal with life is improving society rather than achieving personal success, this works perfect

            • by Serengeti (48438) on Friday July 20, 2007 @08:10AM (#19925361)
              "There are some things generally considered amoral by the population. Murder. Rape. Hunting a species to extinction""

              Are we not confusing IMmoral with Amoral? One being opposite to those values we consider moral, and the other being unconcerned with morality altogether?
            • Many, many millions of dollars are thrown away by companies trying to develop in house software solutions for their internal processes. The projects that do actually produce something that works, are closely guarded as trade secrets. The other prevalent closed source business model is the company who writes software for a niche market, who tries to write one package to sell to multiple clients, hopefully reducing each of their clients costs. The end user ends up paying all or some of the cost of creating an

      • by anandsr (148302)
        I agree with you and your analogy.
        But the problem is that it goes no further in convincing a guy, who doesn't see it as immoral.
        See if the whaler wouldn't mind driving the whales into extinction he wouldn't care.
        The problem is that there will be a time when the whales are going to be extinct at that time he will be out of job. So it would make sense to plan for now and give up whaling. But it is just a question of how driven the whaler is.

        I would take a stronger analogy. Why is killing another person wrong.
    • by suv4x4 (956391)
      He said that that he's never had a mortgage and "he lives cheaply".

      Fromt he money he takes for signing autographs... I wonder why people stand behind this guy as of yet. We don't need nutcases defending free software anymore.

      Maybe it helped in the early days, but right now free software has picked momentum, and needs a real world integration/solutions.

      Guys like Richard Stallman will only make it worse at this point, for the same reason he made it better at the start.
    • Since almost all programming work is undertaken by in house programmers who do not have their work distributed, programmers can still earn a living writing software that is neither free, nor proprietory.

      As for paying for university education by publishing software, the problem there is that the US doesn't have proper publicly funded education. You cant complain that fixing one problem you have ruins the half-arsed fix to another problem you have. Most professions don't do their own career to pay for educati
    • by Kjella (173770)
      One of the things RMS tends to ignore is that people are cheap. I run Linux as a file server/desktop, and my computer like any other needs service and support. However, there are those that run much larger business-critical systems who needs it more urgently than me, so I let them pay for it. The level of service and support I need is freely available anyway.

      There's absolutely no way to force everyone to "chip in" like they do with closed source software, it's a direct consequnce of the four freedoms RMS is
    • by jeevesbond (1066726) on Friday July 20, 2007 @05:54AM (#19924665) Homepage

      One guy in the audience asked how he was supposed to pay for his university education by releasing free software. Stallman didn't really give him an answer, he just told the student that he didn't have to go to school, and he had no right to release closed source software in an attempt to earn money. Stallman has compared closed source software to "a crime against humanity", yes?

      I was sat directly behind the guy who asked that question and don't remember it like that at all. To me it seemed like a case of: 'ask a stupid question, get a stupid answer.' It's stupid because he was mixing up Free (as in Freedom) with free (as in beer). It's a common misconception.

      Personally when Stallman was answering I really wanted to shout out: 'I get paid for developing Free software!' Which I do, now seeing this weird post on /. makes me wish I had shouted out. Also it was a lecture about copyright in general, not Free software in particular.

      So please stop spreading FUD and mis-conceptions about Free software. If that chap in the audience can't make Free software pay then why the heck are Red Hat, Sun Microsystems, IBM, Novell et al. still in business?! Just because Stallman's a dirty hippy, doesn't mean everyone in the business is. Maybe, just maybe money isn't important to him? Why are you judging him to be a failure just because he hasn't made millions from his ideas?

      It was a stupid question, that's why Stallman had a problem answering it, I also don't remember him answering in the way you've described, but will check later.

      • Re: (Score:2, Redundant)

        by Valacosa (863657)

        I thought there was no such thing as a stupid question? In any case, Stallman's response was no way to win supporters.

        I know Red Hat et. al. But as far as I can recall, Stallman didn't talk about them much (not that he was supposed to - he was there to talk about copyright, but one would have thought he brought them up during the questions.)

        I would never go so far to say that he's unsuccessful. He thinks he's successful, and that's all that matters. He told me that he's achieved the same as the rich: he

        • What do you do? The economics of free software interests me.

          Have been doing freelance web design/development and am moving into doing custom Drupal development: if you want to see some of the market for bespoke development Stallman was talking about, check out the Drupal job board [drupal.org]. Loads of work! People aren't afraid of pooling their resources to get a job done there either. If I remember correctly Stallman's point to that chap was: most development is bespoke, one-off stuff, having worked for a big com

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Alomex (148003)
        It's stupid because he was mixing up Free (as in Freedom) with free (as in beer). It's a common misconception.

        Actually that is just a cop out from Stallman. If you read his texts he is often a proponent of "free beer" software and attacks people who sell software, but when you take him to task the cops out and says "you don't understand I was talking about Free as in Freedom". Bollocks! No he wasn't. In fact most of his fights with Linus are precisely about. Linux is free as in Freedom and this irks Stallm
    • by fbjon (692006) on Friday July 20, 2007 @06:27AM (#19924791) Homepage Journal
      The solution to the student's problem is not to pay for his education. That is, have free education for everyone.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      no right to release closed source software in an attempt to earn money

      And that's where Stallman is wrong. There is only one question to ask here: Where is the coercion?

      There is none. It's nowhere to be found. There is no coercion, and therefore no aggressor and no victim. Compiling source code and selling the binary result is clearly -- drum roll please -- an act of voluntary association. There is nothing coercive about it.

      Now, when government and IP law gets involved, THEN you're talking coercion. But that
    • by 0xdeadbeef (28836)
      One guy in the audience asked how he was supposed to pay for his university education by releasing free software.

      And gol' darn it, how'm ah s'post to grow this here cotton without mah slaves!

      He thought closed source software was a greater imposition on freedom than holding wedding memories hostage.

      Those terrorists!

      Why is it that free software detractors always seem to be people who want something for nothing? It's not enough to steal from the free software community, they want to steal from photographers to
    • One guy in the audience asked how he was supposed to pay for his university education by releasing free software.

      That's supposed to be a great rebuttal? "How do I pay for university by giving stuff away for free instead of working to earn money"?

  • by ZorbaTHut (126196) on Friday July 20, 2007 @05:09AM (#19924437) Homepage
    Am I the only person who has the sudden urge to download it and transcode it into mp3? Or even better, DRMed WMV?

    But RMS, information wants to be free, and this is just another form for it to freely take! :D
  • I use your software every day, and I am really am grateful for your varied contributions. But can you go home now, and keep to yourself, please? All that crazy is just hurting our cause.
  • They must be on a tiny pipe - I got the page once but no connection to pages or downloads/torrents after that. Interestingly - one week ago:

    It's easy enough to find out how long copyrights last, but much harder to decide how long they should last--but that didn't stop Cambridge University PhD candidate Rufus Pollock from using economics formulas to answer the question. In a newly-released paper, Pollock pegs the "optimal level for copyright" at only 14 years.

    http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20070712-rese arch-optimal-copyright-term-is-14-years.html [arstechnica.com]

    Stallman rocks .... now where did I put my GNUs not Linux T-shirt?

  • by Swift2001 (874553) on Friday July 20, 2007 @05:21AM (#19924511)
    What needs to happen in a lot of circumstances is that copyright should not be transferable. So, if I write a song, it belongs to me. If a company wants to promote it, we can make a service contract. But the copyright is mine, not theirs. The labels are my agents, they could provide studios, or off-site storage for my works, and people with marketing savvy. But guess what? The industry that gave us the indentured servitude of the recording contract is no more. iTunes is more of a music company than any label out there. All they are are assholes with legal degrees.

    Not being able to force artists into loan sharking arrangements with the labels would mean, however that all the labels as they exist now are effectively and instantly bankrupt. Yay. Without this leverage, The artist writes contracts with agents, and grants his or her managers a piece of his copyright for say, five years. So, the more tracks of mine they sell, the more they make. The more concerts I give to the bigger audiences, the more money they make. But the artist is in control. He has the copyright. I might spare them 10% of revenues, or 50% if I'm a newbie. But it will revert to me.

    Because, after all, what function do the huge conglomerated labels have? They used to provide money for manufacture and distribution. They no longer have any significant burden, since once the final track is laid down, all they have to do is sell copies for more than it costs to download. And they were loan sharks. Game over. Finita la commedia.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by TheRaven64 (641858)
      Even if copyright isn't transferrable, you will still be able to give someone an exclusive license to do anything that copyright lets you do. I have signed a contract with the Free Software Foundation assigning copyright to them for contributions to GNUstep, for example, and in this contract they then give me back the non-exclusive rights to do whatever I want with the code. I can still act as if I were the copyright holder (including releasing it under non-Free licenses), the only things I can't do are:
  • Assumption (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Mikkeles (698461)
    From the abstract

    But if we seriously hope to serve the only legitimate purpose of copyright -- to promote progress, for the benefit of the public -- then we must make changes in the other direction.

    I would suggest that 'promoting progress for the benefit of the public' being the only legitimate purpose of copyright requires justification.

    Another possible purpose is to protect the right of the creator to be the sole beneficiary of his labour.

    Points to consider include dependence on earlier work and novelty a

  • Regardless of the moral angle, "free" software is aggressively lowering prices in most areas of traditional software.
    The money is moving from traditional software to software delivered as a service.

    Let's assume that this trend continues and that any software you can get your hands on is both free and eventually also comes with source code.

    What about the new generation of software-as-service, the stuff that will be making all the big money, like Adwords/Adsense. The software has never been distributed, does

Top Ten Things Overheard At The ANSI C Draft Committee Meetings: (9) Dammit, little-endian systems *are* more consistent!

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