Freedom or Copyright? - GNU Project - Free Software Foundation (FSF)

Ben Finney bignose+hates-spam at
Mon Feb 11 09:18:12 UTC 2008

Alex Hudson <home at> writes:

> For example, the freedom to earn a living

The freedom to *attempt* to earn a living is all that I can justify.
If someone chooses a business model that infringes the rights of other
people, there's no "right to earn a living" doing that.

Likewise, if someone just chooses a *stupid* business model, or even
fails utterly at a *good* business model, they don't have "the right
to earn a living" regardless.

> ability to control one's labour

I don't see how an author has any right to control their labour that
extends beyond *where they put* their labour.

Once they've given their labour in exchange for some mutual
consideration, they have no "right" to control what the other party
does with it; just as a person whistling a tune has no "right" to
control what I do with that tune once it's in my head.

The dividing line I draw is: freedom is being able to determine one's
own actions and thoughts, without harming or being harmed by others.
Extending that to attempts to restrict or enforce actions by others is
going beyond freedom into *power* over others, which is *not* a right.

 \        "The right to search for truth implies also a duty; one must |
  `\      not conceal any part of what one has recognized to be true." |
_o__)                                                 —Albert Einstein |
Ben Finney

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