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Communications Networking

Richard Stallman Talks On Copyright Vs. the People 329

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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  • Re:choice of license (Score:5, Informative)

    by QuantumG ( 50515 ) <> on Friday July 20, 2007 @03:46AM (#19924111) Homepage Journal
    He talking about the importance of derivative works for some works. Typically, functional works.

  • 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 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 [].

    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.
  • 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. [] (Damn tabs)
  • Re:anime industry (Score:3, Informative)

    by jason.stover ( 602933 ) on Friday July 20, 2007 @04:27AM (#19924275)
    Well, I cannot speak for anyone else, but I have actually bought multiple different anime series after downloading and liking them.

    And actually on some of them, the fan subbing is a hell of a lot better than the actual subtitles on the DVD. I mean, common, if the characters say a name (in English even), then should the subtitle not reflect what was said? Or they could at least be consistent in the same conversation and keep the same name on what they are talking about.

    Well, guess we can not expect a company to actually do something sane...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 20, 2007 @05:25AM (#19924523)
    actually not even close (too far off for your disclamer to count;) ); what communists demanded was abolishing the private ownership of means of production only. Factories, etc. And their common management. Which meant, state management, by some twisted logic... That was not called communism, btw, there never existed a communist state, actually thats an oxymoron (though widely used in the west), since communism is by definition stateless, that was socialism, supposedly 'on the way' to communism.

    But in any case, in socialism, your computer/cdplayer... that is possesions, were just as yours as they are in capitalism.

    My country was socialist not that long time ago...
  • by xaxa ( 988988 ) on Friday July 20, 2007 @05:26AM (#19924527)
    The site's gone down, so here's a copy of the torrent file:

    rms-talk.ogg.torrent []

    I didn't get the Q&A torrent.
  • 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 @08:04AM (#19925307)
    minor nit that needs to be picked.
    Amoral=without moral value.
    Immoral=Not Moral
  • 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?
  • 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.


    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

  • Re:anime industry (Score:3, Informative)

    by alexgieg ( 948359 ) <> on Friday July 20, 2007 @09:08AM (#19925785) Homepage

    Do you have any evidence that fansubbing is financially beneficial to the companies that make and produce anime, or are you just making stuff up because you want it to be true?
    I don't know about fansubing per se, but on the realm of scanlations (scanning of mangas with fan translations) I do have strong evidence. In the letters section of a recent volume of the Brazilian edition of Karekano, published by the local branch of Panini, Elza Keiko, editor of the whole manga department, replied to a reader's letter about this. In her answer she openly says that, yes, scanlations are valuable for the industry in that they show what has good chances of becoming popular if licensed, and that there is no problem in it provided the unofficial translators do their part by stopping the unofficial translation project and removing from their websites what's already available once a publisher officially licenses it.

    If someone's interested I can search my Karekano collection for her answer and translate it. But the short answer is: no, the OP isn't making stuff. This is for real.
  • Re:anime industry (Score:3, Informative)

    by Experiment 626 ( 698257 ) on Friday July 20, 2007 @10:31AM (#19926687)

    if the characters say a name (in English even), then should the subtitle not reflect what was said?

    There are several reasons a name might be mentioned in the Japanese dialog and not be used in the English translation. For one, Japanese speakers tend to go out of their way to avoid using second-person pronouns like "anata", so they will often speak in the third person about the person they are talking to. In English this would sound bizarre, and we would just use a word like "you". Also, the level of formality the culture uses for names is different and doesn't always translate well. You might have Japanese students referring to one another as "Yamada-kun" but the most direct translation, "Mr. Yamada", sounds far too stiff and formal for kids to be speaking of one another as, so in English dubs, and sometimes subs as well, a first name might be substituted in.

  • Re:"Counterpoint" (Score:3, Informative)

    by Tack ( 4642 ) on Friday July 20, 2007 @12:43PM (#19928671) Homepage

    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 dch24 ( 904899 ) on Friday July 20, 2007 @07:33PM (#19934191) Journal
    Second half, since slashdot can't handle a 68Kb comment.


    [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 Sony had the bright idea of putting on the disk a program that would automatically load into a Windows system if a person put that disk into it. And what did that program do? It's what's called a "rootkit," which meant that it actually broke the security of the machine and installed itself into the system. But why did it do this? Well, its purpose was to stop the user from copying whatever files were read off that disk. But they way it did this was by illegally breaking the security on the computer ... the user's computer, and then disguising its own presence so if the user tried to look for it in certain obvious ways, it wouldn't even show up. It also damaged the security of the machine against other threats, and if that wasn't bad enough it also committed copyright infringement because it had ... it contained code of free programs that were released under the GNU General Public License. [laughter]


    [Stallman drinks]

    Now, that was a felony in the US, but I don't think Sony was ever prosecuted. They're not interested in uh ... really enforcing those laws strictly against mega-corporations. Laws are meant to be enforced strictly only against you and me. However Sony did get a lot of hostility and eventually promised that in the future when it developed Digital Restrictions Management it wouldn't do all the other nasty things that it did that time. You see, the hostility was mostly based on the other nasty things that Sony did along the way, rather than on the evil purpose of doing this in the first place: the evil of trying to stop people from copying. Most people accepted that, and they only criticized the means. So Sony said "oh no, we won't put rootkits on our CDs anymore." So having learned their lesson, their idea is that the rootkit will be installed on your computer before you buy it and it will be impossible to remove. And that's called "Windows Vista." [laughter]


    [Stallman drinks]

    Windows Vista is designed specifically to pull the chains tighter around every user's neck. That's what it exists for. It's entirely designed to increase ... to increase Microsoft's control over everything. It keeps on contacting Microsoft over the Net and demanding upgrades and the user can't even refuse them. Which means it's nothing but one big back door. Anytime Microsoft wants to stop you from doing this or that, control ... take more control of any kind, it can just do so, because your computer has no security against Microsoft, if it's running Windows Vista. And that is very dangerous.


    I mean, we don't know what there is in Microsoft software that could be used by terrorist organizations. A few years ago in India, I was told they had arrested some Windows developers, that is, people working on ... developing Windows itself, and accused them of uh ... working for Al Quaida as well as Microsoft, trying to insert a back door that Microsoft wasn't supposed to know about. Well, apparently that attempts failed. We have no way of checking if there was another that succeeded. But we do know that in 1999, Microsoft was caught having installed a back door for the use of another even more violent terrorist organization: the United States Government, [laughter] specifically the National Security Agency.


    So it's not only Microsoft that could uh ... basi

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