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

Matthias-Christian Ott ott at
Mon Feb 11 19:11:50 UTC 2008

Stefan Meretz <stefan.meretz at> wrote:

> On 2008-02-11 14:19, Matthias-Christian Ott wrote:
> > > Without copyright so called piracy would be legal and thus
> > > proprietary software looses its commodity character, because it
> > > would no longer be scarce. Then, all proprietary software would be
> > > out-cooperated by free software, which bases on non-scarcity, e.g.
> > > abundance.
> > >
> > > But this scenario also develops with copyright, it only takes a
> > > longer time to out-cooperate proprietary software.
> >
> > Sorry for overlooking your post.
> >
> > What do you mean by out-cooperate?
> This is a term used by Geert Lovink in an interview with Christoph Spehr 
> on free cooperation first, but was rapidly adopted in cutural debates: 

By his definition out-occoperation is:

"Obviously, we have an idea of positive out-cooperating – this is
 when new forms of collaboration arise that are applied by the workers
 themselves, and old forms of hierarchy get ruled out in the same

"And we have a notion of negative out-cooperating – that is, when
 global power structures aim at the dis-empowerment of workers and local
 people, when hierarchy is re-inforced by the power of being global,
 of combining and re-combining global workforce, resources and markets
 without participation of workers and people."

> It means that successful competition is reached by cooperation. The 
> competition is not won on the old field, but by opening a new field. 
> Example: Encyclopedia Britannica was out-cooperated by Wikipedia, not 
> by competiting on the old proprietary field, but by opening a new field 
> of free cooperation. And of course: Free software is on the way of 
> out-cooperating proprietary software.

But this requires people who believe in Free Software and Wikipedia.

However it will lead to parallel existence of two systems and the more
authoritarian system which will dominate by force will win. This force
could be law.
Thus we have to fight back. The GNU GPL is such weapon, more specifically
a powerful virus which will infiltrate the copyright system and finally
let it collapse.
> Thus, on the field of cooperation, nothing is stronger than free 
> cooperation. Proprietary production can only prevail on its field (for 
> some time) by using additional external forces like copyright 
> exclusion.

Yes, this is definitively true, but again you need people.

If you say from the first that it's impossible, it won't happen. You
have to believe in it.

> Ciao,
> Stefan


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