A more appropriate analogy is to be a hypocrite for
pushing a law requiring all known malaria to be
destroyed, including the samples used for vaccine work.
That word: I do not think it means what you think it means.
defines hypocrisy as follows:
the behavior of people who do things that they tell other people not to do : behavior that does not agree with what someone claims to believe or feel
According to that definition, I don't see anything hypocritical
in your analogy. In fact the poisition you suggest is admirably consistent. Now if your hypothetical malaria researcher was keeping his or her own stash of the disease for purposes of
later backmail and extortion, that would be
hypocrisy. But unless you think I'm capable of keeping a breeding culture of legislation in a test tube somewhere, it's really, really difficult to see how your analogy is more appropriate in any way at all.
Of course, M-W also defines the word thusly:
a feigning to be what one is not or to believe what one does not; especially : the false assumption of an appearance of virtue or religion
But the only way I see that applying is if you're considering Free Software
as a religion (which may be well be the case for rms, of course). But I still
don't see how it applies to me, since I don't claim to subscribe to the
religion in question.
Without copyright laws, anyone could compile open-source software into a
closed-source product, with no restriction. Since the redistributor has
default permission to do anything (thanks to the lack of copyright),
the GPL never comes into play, so it can't require that the software
On the other hand, we gain the freedom to decompile closed source, patch
it and redistribute it as we see fit, distribute abdandonware and orphan
works without any legal impediment. Obviously, it requires an opposition to software patents as well, but I don't see any inconsistency in that.
And, of course, that's just considering the benefits for software.
This inextricable dependency is why it's silly to promote the GPL
while arguing entirely against copyright.
Only if you assume that ability for force a small subset of all
software writers to publish their source code is worth more than
freeing the 70 years of culture from creeping privatisation.
Otherwise, it seems like more than a fair trade.