Ownership in Software

Ricardo Andere de Mello gandhi at quilombodigital.org
Wed Apr 21 16:51:19 UTC 2004

On Wednesday 21 April 2004 14:32, Axel Schulz wrote:

> And since that time I could not answering the question to myself why
> software should not be owned, like Stallman suggested. By the way, who is
> the owner? I think it can be either the engineer or the company (the
> client) who pays the engineer. Or?

The owner is the society, that educated the enginneer, that gave him 
oportunity, that gave his job and life. The inventor has always a great DEBT 
to the society, because he had access to the information, but a lot of others 
didn't. Guys, do you have access to the internet and LOTS of information, but 
in my country 50% are below the poor line. Don't you think you have a big 
debt? How can you pay all the information you have? Giving it back! 

> I have to say that I disagree with Stallman at this point. Society needs
> good software (more than ever). And individuals should be allowed to claim
> rights in their products - this should be their freedom, too. This is from
> my point of view the main ethical conflict. It is a question of justice,
> freedom, and valid claims.

GNU-Linux is a "good software" and nobody owns it. It's a "proof-of-concept" 
that stallman is right and you are wrong. ;-)

> What Stallman is trying to defend is non-ownership. But this makes people
> un-free. The concept of freedom has in social philosophy two meanings: (1)
> to be free from something (negative freedom) and (2) free to do something
> (positive freedom).  Basically, we are un-free when our wants are denied
> their satisfaction.

Any lawyer or judge will teach you that freedom only exists with a lot of 
restrictions. Freedom IS NOT what you read at the dictionary.

> I would argue that freedom has to be ensured; and that's why the individual
> freedom to ownership in software cannot be abolished. The claim for the
> abolition of ownership in software, as I would say, too weak.

Hum... I will give you an exagerated example, but it is good to think about 
the problem. Imagine if when you arrest a killer he says "oh, you can't 
arrest me! I have freedom to do what I want!". See, society can create limits 
if decides that an action is prejudicial (the word is correct?) to it. 
Proprietary Software can cost lives, it's just like patents on medicines. Do 
you know a company finished genoma project three years earlier and sell the 
genoma during these three years? Can you imagine how many medicines would be 
invented in these three years, and how many lifes vanished just because a 
company's ambition?
Stallman is trying to say, just like creative commons, that INFORMATION should 
be free.

> Now, please tell me if I am on the right track. I do not tell me I am not
> ;-)  (Just kidding) I am really looking forward to your comments. I think I
> will learn a lot from you.

Maybe you are on the right track, and I'm on the wrong, but I really think 
this way.
The fact is people that don't donate money will never understand this, because 
they are only worried about their noses. 8-P

[]s, gandhi

Ricardo Andere de Mello
Quilombo Digital - Presidente
gandhi at quilombodigital.org / 55 11 3271-7928

More information about the Discussion mailing list