what shall I do?

Niall Douglas s_fsfeurope2 at nedprod.com
Tue Jan 13 23:24:02 UTC 2004

Hash: SHA1

On 13 Jan 2004 at 15:53, Alfred M. Szmidt wrote:

> If you don't respect copyright law, then you do not respect Free
> Software.

Sorry I had to interject at this point. Ricardo makes a very valid 
point though I think he made it in an overly inflammatory way.

>    > The whole argument that non-free software costs to much is
>    > totally bogus, because free software can cost as much, or even >
>    more.  Just because it is Free Software does not imply that it is >
>    gratis software.  The argument about "educating" people, is also >
>    bogus since non-free software doesn't help in that regard--you >
>    can't study the code, or muck around with it.
>    I think you don't get the point. The whole discussion is that
>    "free" and "non-free" should be more acessible to the people.
> Actually, I belive it is you who don't get the point.  Non-free
> software can _never_ be accessible to people since it deprives users
> of their rights; you cannot distribute non-free software for one.  Let
> alone modify it, or distribute your modifications.  Which is what Free
> Software is all about.

Get off your bloody high horse! Free software is a concept quite 
independent of copyright law - indeed the whole spirit of free 
software is to deliberately revoke many of the restrictions copyright 
was invented to enforce. Anyone who truly believes in the ideals of 
free software must believe that copyright is an outdated evil which 
we only use because the current legal framework offers us no choice!

To bang on about breaking other people's rights - let's face it, is 
the rights holder a victim? To illegally copy someone's IP hurts them 
less than playing loud music next to their dwelling because unlike 
tangible goods, information loses nothing by being copied - and 
indeed often gains a lot. The Bible is what it is because it was 
copied voraciously.

People do and always have done what they think is right due to 
individual or cultural beliefs. This supersedes any law of man - it's 
why there's an ever growing consumption of recreational drugs - 
because people's view of what's right is less and less with time 
matching what the law says. It's why dictatorships get overthrown - 
it's the very spirit of the freedom you claim free software espouses.

Yet so quickly members of this list tell Ricardo he's wrong and he's 
doing some sort of really bad thing. Bollocks! I challenge anyone 
with a Windows or MacOS installation to not have at least one piece 
of illegally copied software on their system. Just because most uses 
of GPLed software don't infringe its owner's rights doesn't mean 
copyright law is any less of an ass.

Let's face it, copyright law *is* an ass and becomes ever more 
unenforceable with time. Just like anti-drugs laws. And while 
ethically I can't recommend anyone to break the law, I do seriously 
suggest everyone considers how best stupid laws which damage society 
should be repealed when vested interests work so hard to prevent it.

Ricardo - I'm sure you're the type of fellow who if they had the 
money, they'd like to see it go to the programmer who made your life 
easier with their software. However most free software is also free 
of cost and in return for that the creator of the software is morally 
entitled to see you behave as they demand. If the software came with 
a licence where you must pat yourself on the head three times before 
you're allowed to use it, you should do so - it is morally so much to 
ask when software costs so much of other people's time to create?


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