decoration decoration

When you want to know more...
For layout only
Site Map
About Groklaw
Legal Research
ApplevSamsung p.2
Cast: Lawyers
Comes v. MS
Gordon v MS
IV v. Google
Legal Docs
MS Litigations
News Picks
Novell v. MS
Novell-MS Deal
OOXML Appeals
Quote Database
Red Hat v SCO
Salus Book
SCEA v Hotz
SCO Appeals
SCO Bankruptcy
SCO Financials
SCO Overview
SCO v Novell
Sean Daly
Software Patents
Switch to Linux
Unix Books
Your contributions keep Groklaw going.
To donate to Groklaw 2.0:

Groklaw Gear

Click here to send an email to the editor of this weblog.

Contact PJ

Click here to email PJ. You won't find me on Facebook Donate Paypal

User Functions



Don't have an account yet? Sign up as a New User

No Legal Advice

The information on Groklaw is not intended to constitute legal advice. While Mark is a lawyer and he has asked other lawyers and law students to contribute articles, all of these articles are offered to help educate, not to provide specific legal advice. They are not your lawyers.

Here's Groklaw's comments policy.

What's New

No new stories

COMMENTS last 48 hrs
No new comments


hosted by ibiblio

On servers donated to ibiblio by AMD.

Richard Stallman: "The Future of Free Software "
Thursday, March 30 2006 @ 10:05 AM EST

Richard Stallman gave the keynote speech at the Turin, Italy, meeting on March 18 about the drafting of GPLv3, "The Future of Free Software," and I thought you'd like to read it. You can also view a video of it, if you prefer at [Ogg]. The current draft of GPLv3 is here.

He explains very clearly the more complex proposed changes, such as the clause on DRM ("Tivo-ization") and patents.

I have to frankly tell you that the opening part about not using the phrase "intellectual property" seems to be at least in part about a conversation we had on using the phrase, because I maintained that if you are referring to the law, there is no confusion, that it's a term of art that has a specific meaning in the law. Lawyers know the difference between patent and copyright law, even if no one else does, and so when they use that term as an umbrella phrase, they know what they mean. Obviously he disagrees, for all the reasons he explains in this speech. I'm just fessin' up that he's responding, I think, to my position and basically saying I'm all wet. I realize he's likely had that conversation with many other people.

But that doesn't inhibit me one bit from producing the whole speech, because for all I know he's right, and anyway, I don't have to agree with everything he ever says in every area to know it's worthwhile to listen. And when it comes to the GPL, there is no one better to tell us the purpose of the license and what is intended than the man who has the final say. He addresses that too, at the very end.

His explanation of the purpose behind the proposed changes in the GPL is very useful, and I am sure it will clarify the draft license for you. He also tells what they decided *not* to try to do. So here is his speech, in full. The transcript is by Ciaran O'Riordan. If you click on the first link to the speech, you will find more links to further information.


Transcript of Richard Stallman speaking on GPLv3 in Torino; 2006-03-18


  1. First, a note on "intellectual property"
  2. On to the GPLv3
  3. About "or any later version" and transitioning between versions
  4. Software patents: explicit patent grants
  5. The four freedoms of Free Software
  6. Digital Restrictions Management: how it was tackled without restricting usage or modification
  7. DRM and laws about effective restriction measures
  8. Licence compatibility
  9. Compatibility with Affero - addressing web services, if you want
  10. Compatibility with two kinds of patent retaliation
  11. The draft GPLv3 does contain a very limited patent retaliation clause
  12. Requirements for notifying users of the licence terms
  13. Question 1: What about Linux?
  14. Question 2: About dynamic linking and languages
  15. Question 3a: What if someone thinks the spirit has been changed?
  16. Question 3b: Can writing Free Software beat DRM or is lobbying needed? (Stallman's answer discusses democracy)
  17. Question 4: Who is involved in the process?
  18. Question 5: Why is there not a team running it instead of you, and who will run it next time?
  19. Question 6: What ideas for GPLv3 were rejected?

The transcript

Richard Stallman:

Before I get into the main subject, which is the plans for version three of the GPL, I want to mention a very important fundamental issue.

[1h 27m 06s]

There is a term that some people use, which causes terrible confusion and should never be used, and that is the term "intellectual property". Now, I heard someone mention that term. I don't think he was explaining why that term should not be used.

It is devastatingly harmful to use the term "intellectual property" because that term implies the existence of something which does not exist.

Copyright law exists. Patent law exists. They have almost nothing in common in terms of the requirements that they put on the public. Trademark law also exists. It has nothing in common with copyright law or patent law about what it requires of the public. So, the idea that there is some general thing which these are instances of already gets people so confused that they cannot understand these issues. There is no such thing. These are three separate unrelated issues, and any attempt to generalise about them guarantees confusion. Everyone who uses the term "intellectual property" is either confused himself or trying to confuse you.


[1h 29m 12s]

I came to this conclusion a few years ago and since then I have decided that I will never use that term. No exceptions. I will talk about why the term is confusing, because that's a useful thing to do, but I will never use that term. I never use it. I hope you will join me in making this firm policy of never using it. And if someone else says something about "intellectual property", I will not respond directly to what he said without first explaining the confusion buried in it, because you see, the confusion buried in a statement is usually more harmful than whatever may be false that he actually tried to say.

The false premises, the false presuppositions are the most important problem. So, if someone makes a statement about intellectual property and some part of it is the specific point, which I might disagree with, the first thing I will say is why it's a mistake to talk about intellectual property at all, and then I will try to translate what he said into clearer terms, and then I might say if I agree with it or not. But that's secondary, and explaining to people the confusion in the term intellectual property itself is the most important thing to do.

There is a tendency to, we all have it, to follow other people in their choice of terminology. If someone says an outrageous thing and he uses the term intellectual property, you will feel drawn into responding in the same terms. So, learn to resist that temptation.

[1h 31m 20s]

The most important mistake, the most important falsehood in that statement is it's use of the term "intellectual property" in the first place. And the most important thing about it to respond to, if you could only choose one thing, is that one. And you can say: "and since your whole picture of the situation is totally confused, clearly the specifics of what you said need to be rethought".

That's all you need to do to deal with the specific thing he said.

And, by the way, when the term "intellectual property" is used in the name of a law or a committee, that is an example of the confusion. It's almost a certainty that any law named "intellectual property" is a harmful, an unjust law. Of course, you have to check the details to be sure of that, but you can be almost certain just from hearing the name. And the reason is that you can tell from the name that unjust premises and confusions went into the design of the law so what could you expect except harmfulness.

[1h 33m 00s]

So, at this point, I should go to the intended topic, which is version three of the GPL.

I designed GPL version one in 1989, and GPL version two in 1991. I thought of making a version three something like five or six years ago. We didn't intend to wait fifteen years. It was due to the fact that I was busy, and there were some things that were hard to figure out.

The idea that there would be changes in the GPL was planned from the beginning. That is, version one already included a plan for transition to future versions. We suggested that people release their programs under "version one or any later version of the GPL", and the idea was that when version two came out, it would automatically be usable for all those programs and in the time since version two, we've been suggesting that people release their software under "version two or any later version" and I believe most GPL covered programs do say that, with the result that when GPL version three comes out, a lot of software will be usable under GPL version three.

The older versions of the GPL also promise that future versions would be "similar in spirit". In other words, the changes will not be radical. Any radical change would be false to the spirit and would be wrong.

[1h 35m 17s]

The changes that we've proposed in version three are all in small sub-issues. Some of them are very important, but in the overall framework, they're small chnges. And the overall effect of GPL version three will be basically the same as version two, protecting the same four freedoms, but doing it somewhat better, dealing with some problems which we've encountered and adapting better to various different laws around the world.

One thing that we've done is that we've restructured some of the concepts, for instance, we make it clear that many other activities that have the effect of providing copies to other people are treated the same as distribution. Anything that's covered by copyright law which has the effect that it enables other people to get copies is effectively equivalent to distribution, and this insulates GPL version three from certain differences between laws in various countries about just what constitutes distribution. So it has the effect of making the GPL work more the same in all countries, despite precisely how they have formulated their copyright laws.

There are many changes in GPL version three which do something like that, they actually just make it more uniform and more reliably doing the same thing we expected it already did.

[1h 37m 20s]

But there are some places where we actually have changed the policies in small ways. One of these concerns software patents. GPL version two is based on an implicit grant of a patent licence. The idea is that if somebody says "here is a thing and you can use it", implicitly he's promising he's not going to sue you for patent infringement if you go ahead and do what he said, however, since in the past eight years or so some other free software licences have included explicit statements of patent licenses, patent licence grants by people distributing the software, and so we decided to do the same thing, and we've included an explicit statement that the distributors of the software all promise not to sue anybody who is using any version of that software for patent infringement based on the versions that they distributed. Basically, whatever their versions do, they're promising not to sue you for.

However, there's a subtlety that came up in this. What if somebody doesn't have a patent but he has got a licence for that patent, and he distributes the code to you. Well, does that licence he got include your exercise of the four freedoms? Including your freedom to redistribute copies yourself, with changes? Maybe not, but if it doesn't, it creates a dangerous and unfair situation. Unfair to you because he is distributing the software, or distributing his version of the software, and he is not going to get sued for patent infringement because he got a licence. He distributes it to you under the GPL and the GPL says you are free to redistribute it too, but if you do that you might get sued because his patent license might not cover you.

[1h 40m 04s]

Well, this is unfair, this is something that's not supposed to happen. He received this program under the GPL and the GPL says when he distributes a version of it, he must really give you the freedom to do the same. If he can count on safely doing it, and he knows you will get sued if you do it, by a third party, he's cheating. So, GPL version three, along with the explicit patent licence grant, says that if he is knowingly relying on a patent licence for distributing his version, he must take some effective step to protect you as well if you distribute.

Now, the reason it talks about "knowingly relying" is that there are companies that have signed blanket cross licences with other companies, so the company distributing the program, might have some blanket cross licence with some company, and that blanket cross licence might cover a thousand patents, and they don't even know what those thousand patents say. So, if they don't even know that they have a patent licence, they're not required to pay attention, but if they know about a specific patent that would cover this program, that means they are knowingly relying on a patent licence and that means they have to keep you safe as well. This is a very controversial decision. It may seem like a subtle point, it covers a peculiar scenario, but it's not an impossible scenario. It could be a very important scenario. In this scenario, this point is essential to ensure that the GPL really does what it intends to do, which is, make sure that you do get the freedom to redistribute the software that you got. And this is typical of the ways that we are changing GPL version three. They apply to complicated scenarios but those scenarios may happen frequently, and in those scenarios we are trying to make sure that you really get the four fundamental freedoms which that free software.

Did someone earlier already describe the four freedoms?

Then I better do so.

[1h 42m 43s]

Freedom zero is the freedom to run the program as you wish for any purpose.

Freedom one is the freedom to study the source code and change it to do what you wish.

Freedom two is the freedom to help your neighbour, that's the freedom to make copies and distribute them to others when you wish.

Freedom three is the freedom to help your community, that's the freedom to publish or distribute modified versions when you wish.

So here we're talking about what is necessary to ensure that freedom two really exist for you in a certain special scenario, freedom two being the freedom to redistribute copies and also freedom three, it applies to that too.

[1h 43m 35s]

Another area where we have made changes concerns Digital Restrictions Management. Now, freedom zero says you are free to run the program as you wish for any purpose. We are not limiting freedom zero. If someone wants to run a program to encrypt something, that's fine. If someone wants to run a program to decrypt something, that's fine. If somebody wants to run a program to produce an encrypted medium that's difficult to access, that's fine. If somebody has some other GPL covered program to access that media and he wants to run it to access the encrypted data, that's fine too. And distributing software that could be used for those purposes is also entirely permitted, and will be permitted by GPL version 3.

[1h 44m 58s]

However, freedom zero does not include imposing you purposes on someone else who is going to run the program, because his freedom zero is the freedom to run the program for any purpose of his. So, there is no such thing as the freedom to use any software to impose your purpose on someone else, in fact, that should be illegal. I'm serious. And that's what DRM is.

When somebody distributes a player, that has DRM in it, what he's doing is trying to restrict your running of your computer for his purposes, which is directly in conflict with the four freedoms that you should have.

And that's what GPLv3 is in certain ways trying to stop and it does this simply by assuring you all four of the freedoms when you use the software. You see, because DRM - Digital Restrictions Management - is a plan to restrict the public, anyone distributing a version of a GPL-covered program as a player for DRM media always does something to stop the public from modifying the player, because his purpose in distributing a DRM player is to restrict you, he has to make sure you can't escape from his restrictions, from his power. That means he is always going to try to deny you freedom one. Freedom one is the freedom to study the source code of the program and change it to do what you want. What you want, might be, to escape from his restrictions, and if you have freedom one, you can escape from his restrictions. So his goal is somehow or other, for practical purposes, to deny you freedom number one.

[1h 47m 26s]

Now, what he might do is, use non-free software, and then completely deny you freedom number one. In fact, that's what they usually do. We can't change that with the GPL because they're not including any GPL-covered code. They don't have to pay attention to the GPL. There should just be a law against it. It should be illegal. DRM should be illegal, but we can't change laws by modifying the GPL.

However, there are those that want to use GPL-covered software for this purpose, and they want to do so by turning freedom number one into a sham, a facade. So they plan to do something like, make a modified version of the GPL-covered program, which contains code to restrict you, and distribute that to you and somehow arrange that you can't really modify it, or if you modify it it won't run, or if you modify it and operate it, it won't operate on the same data.

[1h 48m 42s]

They do this in various ways. This is known as Tivo-isation because this is what the Tivo does. The Tivo includes some GPL-covered software. It includes a GNU+Linux system, a small one, but it does, and you can get the source code for that, as required by the GPL because many parts of GNU+Linux are under the GPL, and once you get the source code, you can modify it, and there are ways to install the modified software in your Tivo and if you do that, it won't run, period. Because, it does a check sum of the software and it verifies that it's a version from them and if it's your version, it won't run at all. So this is what we are forbidding, with the text we have written for GPL version three. It says that the source code they must give you includes whatever signature keys, or codes that are necessary to make your modified version run.

In other words, it ensures that freedom number one is real. That you really can modify the source code, install it, and then it will run and not only that, we say, they must give you enough to make the modified version operate on the same range of data. Because, you see, Microsoft's plan, which they call Palladium, and then they change the name - they change these names frequently so as to evade criticism, to make criticism difficult, to make any kind of comment on their plans difficult. You talk about their plan and they say "Oh, we've dropped that, we have a different plan now". And probably it is different in some details, but the point is that they generate encryption and decryption keys using a check sum of the program which means that a different program can't possibly access the same data. Although, that's just the base level, and then on top of that they implement other facilities where the program simply has to be signed by the authorised signer in order to be able to access the data.

[1h 51m 29s]

Well, GPL version three says that if they distribute a GPL-covered program in this way, they must provide you with the key necessary so that you can sign your version and make it access the same data. Otherwise, they would say "Yes, you can run your modified version, but it will have a different check sum, so your version will only operate on data files made for your version, just as our version only operates on data made for our version". And what that means is that all the available files will only work with their version and your changed version will not be able to access them. That's exactly, in fact, how Treacherous Computing is designed to work. The plan is that they will publish files that are encrypted and it will be impossible to access those files with any other program, so GPL version three is designed to ensure that you really, effectively, get the freedom to take the program you were given, modify it, and run the modified version to do a different thing on the same data on the same machine.

But, there's one other way that we're trying to thwart DRM. You see, one thing they do is, some countries, including, I'm sad to say, this one, have adopted unjust laws that support DRM. The exact opposite of what they ought to do, which is prohibit DRM, and what they say is: when media have been encoded for DRM, then writing another program to access that media is illegal, and the way they do this is they say that DRM constitutes an effective, they call it "protection" I call it "restriction", measure. So, what we say is, by releasing a program under GPL version three, you agree that it is not an effective restriction measure. In other words, you authorise others to develop on their own software to read the output of your program.

This also is a matter of recognising and respecting their freedom to develop software and use their computers. And this, what I've described so far, is all that GPL version three says about DRM.

[1h 54m 36s]

Another area in which we've made large changes has to do with compatibility with a wide range of other free software licences.

We've always understood GPL version two, and version one, as being compatible with some other free software licences. Namely, those that don't require anything except what the GPL requires. So, for instance, there is the X11 licence, all it requires is that you keep the licence there. This doesn't actually demand anything that conflicts with the GPL, so we've always interpreted it as being compatible with the GPL, and what it means to say that two free software licences are compatible is that you can take code from a program under licence A and code from a program under licence B and put them together in one program and you have not violated either licence.

If both licences permit the combining of the code, then you can combine the code, and that's what it means to say the licences are compatible. Now, it's very useful to be able to combine the code, so compatibility of the licences is a convenient thing. Now, it's impossible for all free software licences to be compatible. You see, the GPL makes certain requirements and we are not willing to have them taken off, and so another licence, such as GPL version one, that doesn't have those requirements, cannot be compatible with GPL version two or three. That's impossible.

A licence like the Mozilla Public License has it's own specific requirements, but it requires things the GPL doesn't require. It can't be compatible, I believe. So we can't be compatible with all of them, but we went through other free software licences and we identified certain kinds of requirements that are pretty harmless and we wouldn't mind if people could attach those kinds of requirements to GPL-covered programs, and we made an explicit list of those kinds of requirements. Section seven of the draft of GPL version three says you can put your own terms and conditions on code that you add to the GPL covered program, and your terms and conditions can include these kinds of requirements. You can also give additional permission. Any kind of additional permission you like. So your terms on your code can be more permissive than the GPL itself. And section seven makes it completely explicit that this is compatible with the GPL.

[1h 58m 22s]

Now, these, the added kinds of requirements that you can make, include different requirements as regards credit and notices and how to identify changes on your code. That's harmless, that only really is relevant when people change your code, and when they do that they will see your terms at the beginning of your code and they will know what to do. And it can include a requirement that they not use certain of your trademarks in ways that trademark law forbids. And this would just be a way of reinforcing trademark law using the copyright on your code. And that's harmless because you could actually do that with trademark law in the first place. So this doesn't actually restrict people in any way that they wouldn't be restricted otherwise.

[1h 59m 28s]

You can put on requirements that -- and this is a non-trivial kind of requirement that we've decided to let people put on -- requirements that if people run your code, on a publicly accessible server, then it must have a command that the user can use to download the source code of the version that is running. Which means that if someone makes changes and puts the changes in his version, on his server, he has to make his source code changes available to the users who talk to his server.

This requirement is known as the Affero clause because it's used in the Affero GPL. The Affero GPL is like GNU GPL version two except it has this requirement as well.

We were thinking of including some kind of requirement like that in GNU GPL version three. We didn't want to make it apply to everything automatically. That would be a drastic change, so we would have to make it something that people could activate explicitly for their programs, and then I realised people could activate it explicitly for their programs by putting the Affero GPL on their programs and as long as the GNU GPL says it's compatible with that, that's a way you could activate that requirement for your code and it means we don't have to put any specific thing about that in the GNU GPL, we only have to make the GNU GPL compatible with it and we did.

[2h 01m 33s]

There's another kind of requirement that we've decided to permit, and this is patent retaliation clauses. Now, the reason is that there are several other free software licences that have patent retaliation clauses.

Patent retaliation means, if you sue somebody for patent infringement, then you lose the right to use this code.

Of course there are many ways to do that because every patent retaliation clause puts on some specifics, if you sue him or him for patent infringement in certain circumstances, then you lose the right to use this code, and the question is, what are those circumstances, what are the conditions under which the retaliation operates.

Now, we saw that there are some very broad and nasty patent retaliation clauses. Some of them say, "if you sue me for patent retaliation, for any reason about anything, you lose the right to use this code". Now that's bad because it means, suppose I sue you for patent infringement and you have a patent so you counter sue me, and then my free software licence retaliates against you and you lose the right to use that code, now that's not fair because in that case you are defending yourself, you're not the aggressor, so we decided to accept only patent retaliation clauses that are limited enough that they do not retaliate against defense, that they only retaliate against aggression, so there are two kinds of clauses that we identified that do this. One is, if the clause itself, makes a distinction between defense and aggression, so it says, if you sue somebody for patent infringement and it's aggression, then you lose the right to use this code, but if you are suing in retaliation for aggression, then what you are doing is defensive and then we do not retaliate against you.

This is one kind of patent retaliation clause that we accept.

[2h 04m 21s]

The other kind is, if you sue, alleging that some free software, relating to this code is patent infringement, then you lose the right to use this code. In the broad space space of possible kinds of patent retaliation clauses, we picked two kinds, each of which is limited enough that it will not retaliate against people for practicing defense with patents. It will only retaliate against aggressors. And we've said these two kinds of clauses are OK to add to your code in a GNU GPL covered program. This is a conceptually complicated thing. There's no way to make it any simpler, I hope, at least, that I've explained it clearly.

The GPL itself does contain one very limited kind of patent retaliation, but it's a different kind. It says if make changes in a GPL-covered program and then somebody else makes similar changes and you sue him for patent infringement then you lose the right to continue making changes and copying the program to your own machines.

This is a very limited situation and it's meant to protect against one particular kind of abuse on the part of server operators where they make an improvement, which they're free to do, and run it on their servers and they don't release their source code and if the code does not have the Affero clause on it then they don't have to release the source code, and then you decide that you are going to implement a similar improvement and then they sue you for patent infringement.

So, once again, we're making a change that keeps people honest and makes sure that the four standard freedoms that the four standard freedoms that the GPL has always tried to ensure, really apply in all cases.

This is pretty much it, but there is also one interesting change in the section that deals with modified versions. There has always been a requirement that if you get a program that prints some kind of notice about the licence when it starts up, you can't take that out. We've generalised that so that it applies to various kinds of user interfaces in various ways.

So, for instance, if the program is graphical and it has an "about" box, the about box has to say "this is free software under the GPL". And if it starts up interactively and asks for commands, then it has to print the notice at the beginning, and the requirements are a little bit different depending on how obtrusive this would be. For example, the about box is simply a menu item sitting in a menu, well that doesn't bother anybody, so we just say that always has to be there.

On the other hand, printing a notice at start up can be annoying, there are certain programs which shouldn't print notices at start up. So what we say is that if the program that you got doesn't print a notice and you change it, then your program doesn't have to print a notice either. You know, if you change Bash, well Bash isn't supposed to print a notice when it starts up and we don't require you make it print a notice, but if you gave it a GUI, with menus, you would have to put in an about box because the about box doesn't do any harm.

[2h 10m 02s]

I've covered all the issues I can think of that are worth discussing, and I am willing to ask for questions however you can discuss a question with me but if you think you see a problem, you should go to the site and report this problem and get it considered through our discussion committees and they'll either publish an answer eventually, or they will pass the issue on to me and I'll think about whether a change is needed.

So, I'm ready for questions.

[2h 10m 55s]


Q1: I would like to ask, what is the position of Stallman, and to clarify a bit about the different position of the Linux community about Digital Rights Management.

Stallman: I can't speak for them, and I don't want to try. All I can point out is that Linux is one of thousands of programs in the GNU+Linux operating system. These programs already have various different licences. If some of those programs continue to be distributed under GPL version two while others move to GPL version three or to "GPL version three or later", that won't be any disaster. The developers of Linux are the ones who will decide which licence to use on their program, but I'm confident that most of the GNU+Linux system will be under the GPL version three, regardless of what the Linux developers decide about their program.

I hope that they will move to GPL version three because I want to see Linux resisting Tivo-isation. Linux, after all, is one of the programs that has already been Tivo-ised.


Q2: (Question asked in Italian, something about linking and dynamic languages)

Stallman: Actually, there are changes making it clearer that it doesn't matter which kind of linking is being used. If there are two modules which are designed to be run linked together and it's clear from the design from one or the other that they are meant to be linked together then we say they are treated as one program and so I hope that will make it a little bit clearer although that's not really a change, it's a clarification. That's what we believe GPL version two means already.

Q3a: I have two different questions. The first is what happens if anyone released code under GPL version two maybe ten years ago and now isn't happy with version three and says you're changing the spirit, when I said I would release it under version two and subsequent version, I didn't think of these. Do you imagine he would be bound to version three.

Stallman: Yes. Because we're not changing the spirit. These are small changes.

Q3a2: OK, so basically, you're the one who judges...

Stallman: Well, maybe a court might, but I can't believe that anyone not strongly prejudiced would conclude that this is a change in the spirit. A change in the spirit certainly permits change in the details of the requirements and anyone who released it under version two or later should have seen the changes that were made from version one, which were not as big but they were the same kinds of things. So yeh, if he released it under GPL two or later you'll be able to use it now under version three.

Q3b1: OK, the second question is that, as you know, I'm involved in these United Nation processes on the Internet governance, so I'm interested to know, do you think the fight against Digital Rights Managements and Trusted Comp[interrupted]

Stallman: Digital Restrictions Management, and Treacherous Computing. Don't use the enemy's propaganda terms, every time you use those terms you are supporting the enemy.


Q3b2: OK, so the correct term is Treacherous Computing right? So on the fight against these new mechanisms, do you think it can only be won by writing free software, releasing free software?

Stallman: I don't know.

Q3b3: Do you imagine that there should be need for intervention or lobbying at the legal level?

Stallman: I think Treacherous Computing should be illegal. But I don't know how we're going to convince governments to actually do that because governments are mostly not very democratic anymore. They mostly are the pro-consuls of the mega corporations, their job is to keep us in line under the rule of the empire. That's why they run for office, they get into office, they do what the emperor -- the emperor being the mega corporations -- tell them to do, and their job is explaining to us why they can't do what we want them to do. It's very very sad and once in a while somebody has enough courage to refuse to obey, somebody like [sounds like Hugo Chavez].

Q3b4: So do you think it's not even worth trying?

Stallman: Oh, it's worth trying. It's just going to be hard, the point is you have to keep putting the pressure on these politicians. In France, there is a battle going on and we still might win it about the legalisation of peer-to-peer copying on the Internet. This shows that when enough people get energised, the empire can lose a battle.

It's very important.


[2h 19m 53s]

Stallman: Another thing that people should do is refuse to buy anything that's based on DRM. Don't buy corrupt disks, that is the fake CDs that have music set up so that you're blocked from copying it. Don't buy DVDs unless you have DeCSS and you can copy it.

If you can't copy it - don't buy it!


[2h 20m 23s]

Q4: (Question in Italian, mentions Eben Moglen)

Stallman: Well, first, I'm the one who decides what goes into GPL version three, and, of course, whenever I think of language I'm usually working with Eben Moglen since he's a lawyer and he's the only one that can tell me if the language will really do what I hope it will do. Meanwhile, a lot of other people are involved. For instance, you can go to the site and study it and if you think you see something that's not good or whatever kind of problem you think there is, you can report it and your comment will go to a discussion committee and, there are five discussion committees, it will go to one of those committees which will then group your comment with other comments that raise that same issue and then they will study each issue and post the issue and their response to it and your comment will be connected to the issue which they grouped it into so it will be connected to the response as well.

And thus, there are probably hundreds of people participating in checking the draft and trying to make sure it does the right thing.

Q5: In the end of the process of deciding what will happen, what modifications of the licence will be done there's one single person, that is you. Can you explain why this decision and you have not chosen to make some group?

Stallman: I don't know other people who can do this.

I hope that the process that's going on now will help develop some people who can be part of some group activity but at the moment, I don't know anyone that I could delegate this to. Obviously I can't always forever be the person doing this, barring unforeseen advances in medical technology or AI and nanotechnology, which I certainly hope will come soon but they're not likely, but at this point, I think this is the right thing to do.

Q5.2: Maybe it will change in the future.

Stallman: I hope. We're going to have to replace me somehow, sooner or later.


[2h 24m 30s]

Q6: You told us about what GPLv3 will be, but what about the issues that are included, the suggestions that you refused. Can you give us some samples?

Stallman: Well, when I decided that we had to do something to resist Digital Restrictions Management, the obvious way to do this would be restrictions on what kinds of jobs the program can be made to do, but I decided that that would be the wrong way to do it and so I thought hard and I came up with a way to achieve the job by directly protecting the freedom of each user without any restrictions on what technical job a version of the program can do.

Another example of what we decided not to do was putting the Affero clause into the GNU GPL in some way.

Another example of something we decided not to do, we decided not to put in very much in the way of patent retaliation clause and the reason is we have doubts about how effective those clauses can be. We have doubts about whether our community actually has enough power that the threat of our retaliation would scare anyone.

So, these are some examples of changes we decided not to do. Some for reasons of principle and some for practical reasons.

So, thank you for your attention, and happy hacking.


Copyright (C) FSF Europe. Verbatim copying and distribution of this entire article is permitted in any medium, provided this notice is preserved.


Richard Stallman: "The Future of Free Software " | 498 comments | Create New Account
Comments belong to whoever posts them. Please notify us of inappropriate comments.
Authored by: Elfich on Thursday, March 30 2006 @ 10:15 AM EST
Find em, announce em, share em.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Off topic comments
Authored by: Elfich on Thursday, March 30 2006 @ 10:17 AM EST
I'm going out for chinese tonight!

So keep the rest of those fun off topic comments here with the chinese food.

[ Reply to This | # ]

"intellectual property"
Authored by: Alan(UK) on Thursday, March 30 2006 @ 10:31 AM EST
You could add "trade secrets" to the trio. It of course is different
from the others in that it requires absolutely nothing from the public. This
however does not stop the holders from including it as IP and even accusing
members of the public with divulging it (thinking of DVD Jon et al here).

[ Reply to This | # ]

"intellectual property" is ambiguous jargon!
Authored by: jog on Thursday, March 30 2006 @ 11:23 AM EST
Deliberately ambiguous jargon and as such is
a tool of Socratic Interrogatory.

Do not answer questions containing it.
You will be led to contradict yourself.


[ Reply to This | # ]

Could be you're both right
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, March 30 2006 @ 11:41 AM EST
See, presuming that I'm understanding correctly, PJ is saying that lawyers don't
get confused because they know the difference between copyrights and patents.
She's thinking like a paralegal. I presume she knows what she's talking about.

Stallman (again, presuming that I'm understanding correctly) is saying that
people confuse the issues when the term "intellectual property" is
used. He's not worried about lawyers; he's worried about the general public.

Seen this way, it is quite easy for both of them to be right. They're just
thinking of different audiences.

But in this case, Stallman's audience is a lot bigger than PJ's. So maybe the
takeaway is to be careful not to use the phrase "intellectual
property" unless you're sure that your listener(s) are clear enough on the
distinction that they won't get confused.


[ Reply to This | # ]

Richard Stallman: "The Future of Free Software "
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, March 30 2006 @ 12:18 PM EST
I think Mr. Stallman comes off sounding a little arrogant and self-righteous in
his comments. He is clearly on a crusade and a mission, and the fact that he
alone will ultimately approve the final GPL v3 concerns me. Of course, others
will have input, but he will have the final say.

I don't like Mr. Stallman telling me what words I can and can't use in a
discussion. For example, it seems clear to me that "Intellectual
Property" does, in fact, exist, and there can be situations where it needs
protection. Probably the mistake the Tivo developers made was in using and GPL
code in the first place; certainly they could have simply hired their own
programmers to write proprietary code. I can see situations where a vendor
would have a legitimate concern in restricting what a customer can do to with a
computer that is really a hardware appliance, especially if the customer expects
the vendor to provide service and support for that appliance. I shouldn't
expect to be able to run something other than Freon in my refrigerator or pick a
different dial tone for my phone just because I want to. If I don't like how
the Tivo works, I shouldn't buy it.

And Mr. Stallman can call it "Treacherous Computing" if he wants, and
it sounds kind of funny, but it's really along the lines of me saying
"Windoze" instead of "Windows"; I think a lot of very
serious people who need to understand and would otherwise be open to his
arguments will be put off by his arrogance.

I'd certainly be hesitant releasing code under "GPL v2 or later",
knowing that the "later" would ultimately be decided by one person.
What will happen in 10 or 20 or 50 years if the "spirit" of v2 is not
adhered to or if that one person or his successor thinks the spirit hasn't
changed but his judgment has been clouded by his crusade?

[ Reply to This | # ]

space space
Authored by: pogson on Thursday, March 30 2006 @ 12:55 PM EST
There is a double space here:
[2h 04m 21s] The other kind is, if you sue, alleging that some free software, relating to this code is patent infringement, then you lose the right to use this code. In the broad space space of possible kinds of patent retaliation clauses


http: // , my homepage, an eclectic survey of topics: berries, mushrooms, teaching in N. Canada, Linux, firearms and hunting...

[ Reply to This | # ]

My Opinion? I'm betting TIVO will abandon Linux
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, March 30 2006 @ 01:06 PM EST
I wrote "Is TIVO in a bind?" the other week.

Thinking about it more makes me more sure that DRM probably isn't TIVOs
"clever" way of being thumbing its nose at everyone. They are a
"middleman" between the world and a DRM happy Hollywood/Congress.

As such, I think its more & more likely that the contracts they have to sign
for showing content on their systems has some conditions that would make us
physically ill. I'm sure that they would make interesting reading at least.

And without those contracts, TIVO wouldn't be able to show so much as a test

So, what left in this contest? Ultimately, if they want to stay in business and
not butt heads with the community, they'll have to stop make boxes with Linux.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Richard Stallman: "The Future of Free Software "
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, March 30 2006 @ 01:30 PM EST
In defense of RS on "Intellectual Property:"
I've signed many consulting contracts in my time, and all of them included
clauses intended to protect IP. Inevitably they did not define it, nor explain
how it would be defined. IP in general seems to be something intangible that
companies want to protect.

My Intellectual Property Lawyer (yes, they exist) taught me to insist always on
a clear definition of IP. My favorite one does not attempt at all to say what it
really is: I "agree that my customer can inform me in writing that some
information is proprietary, and I will then" protect it as specified in the

Stallman argues clearly that there is no such clear THING as IP. It's in the
eyes of the beholder. He would argue similarly I think, against using terms like
"intellectual beauty" or "inherent beauty" or
"beauty-vallue property", since these are obviously not abstractly

What gives "Intellectual Property" weight in the current world is the
fact that we keep using it.
- Precision Blogger

[ Reply to This | # ]

RMS lives in a dream world
Authored by: roman on Thursday, March 30 2006 @ 01:46 PM EST
RMS lives in a dream world, a world filled with rainbows and butterflies, where
everyone cooperates and people who do not fit into that cooperative world are
against the law.

He states that DRM should be declared against the law and he seems surprised
that it isn't. In a different interview he also stated that developers who work
for software companies, that create proprietary software should quit and find
themselves other jobs. All of this fits the profile of a person with a holier
than thou attitude.

RMS, I respect you for GNU and GPL, but I cannot stand your views on proprietary
software. I write free software and I write proprietary stuff and if I can I
will employ every possible method of restricting the usage of that software to
the terms, that the user must agree to, before (s)he gets a copy of that
software. I see DRM as a great tool, not as an evil idea that you see it as. I
want to be able to distribute softaware/other content in a way, that would
prohibit the users of this software/content from distributing it further without
my consent. I am not forcing anyone to use that software/content, I am giving a
choice: don't use this software/content, or use it within the rules of the

[ Reply to This | # ]

Authored by: rsteinmetz70112 on Thursday, March 30 2006 @ 01:55 PM EST
For a long time now Stallman has assigned his own proprietary definitions to
certain terms because the generally accepted meaning does not suit his view.

Sometimes his reasons make a lot of sense, sometimes they are good propaganda
for his views, sometimes they are peevish.

In my opinion Intellectual Property is in the peevish category. The term, nearly
everyone agrees, covers a loose group of several separate rights (usually at
least, patent, copyright, trade mark, trade secrets and possibly others) which
exist in law. There is no settled specific group of rights or doctrines but
there is a body of knowledge, law and opinion which cuts across all of them. It
is useful shorthand for a group of interrelated concepts, however differently
they are implemented in law, based on the general idea that a creator has the
inherent right to profit from and control his or her intellectual creations.

Rsteinmetz - IANAL therefore my opinions are illegal.

"I could be wrong now, but I don't think so."
Randy Newman - The Title Theme from Monk

[ Reply to This | # ]

Audio/Video Links Broken
Authored by: sbicknel on Thursday, March 30 2006 @ 02:28 PM EST
The links to his presentation are broken. :(

[ Reply to This | # ]

Stallman goes too far
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, March 30 2006 @ 04:30 PM EST
IMHO he is trying to cover too many special case. That whole bit about requiring an "about box" item in a menu is a good example. Suppose I take a GPLed program with that requirement and I rip out some functionality - non-GUI stuff - and I put that in my GPLed program. Now why should I add an about box to my program when all I did is borrow a module from a large application? What if my program is command line only? Richard needs to stick to broad principles, stop accomodating other terms and licenses, and stop trying to micromanage what people are doing.

I like how he argues that DRM denies people one of the 4 freedoms. The license needs to make that arguement simple without going after special cases like tivo-isation. Has anyone tried to sue Tivo for copyright infringement because they violate the GPL by denying people one of the freedoms?

And lastly, he needs to understand that people, and even mathematicians enumerate things starting with 1 not zero. The only place indexing from 0 makes sense is in the implementation details of certain computer languages. The GPL is supposed to be easy for the public to understand. There is no reason whatever to number freedoms 0-3 instead of 1-4. This is like using geeky jargon or dare I compare it's confusion to using the term "intellecutal property". Please get this changed in V3.

Let me rant on about this last point (even though it's the least important one). If I give you Jelly Beans... I give you one, you have one, it's the first one I gave you. Once we get to 8, I've given you 8, count them - 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8. Point to the 8th one I gave you. How many do you have? 8. See how all the 8s are refering to the same Jelly Bean? Richard would keep that all the same and tell you the last one I gave you is the 7th, and the first one I gave you is the 0th - even though you had 1 at that point, and have 8 when we're all done.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Same old, same old
Authored by: aigarius on Thursday, March 30 2006 @ 04:45 PM EST

There is really nothing new in this speech, but still an nice rehash of RMS's position on the matters. The only new thing was that joke about eventual need to replace RMS at some point. Is RMS starting to feel old?

I was also writing about this on my blog

[ Reply to This | # ]

It's not about you, PJ
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, March 30 2006 @ 05:48 PM EST
RMS has been making this point about IP being an intentionally misleading term for years already. It's not about you, PJ.

See also

[ Reply to This | # ]

You are correct, but we'd be using the M$ EULA instead of GPL.
Authored by: Ed Freesmeyer on Thursday, March 30 2006 @ 08:14 PM EST wouldn't that be a kick in the shorts ?

[ Reply to This | # ]

You ignorant person.
Authored by: mobrien_12 on Thursday, March 30 2006 @ 08:21 PM EST
"If Stallman spent half as much time actually doing things as he spent
trying to persuade the entire world that it's got everything the wrong way
around, we'd all be running GNU/Hurd systems by now."

You know very little about RMS don't you?

The man is a brilliant programmer. He destroyed his hands with carpal tunnel
syndrome working on GNU/Hurd.

Still he does everything he can for Free Software, and you criticise him.

Shame on you.

[ Reply to This | # ]

The next semanthic trap is "Open Source"
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, March 30 2006 @ 08:34 PM EST
Besides "Intellectual Property", the next language trap
is "Open Source."

Many in this group, indeed most programmers and hackers,
would regard "Open Source" as akin to the GPL or BSD
licensed programs. It is nothing of the sort. Ask most
lawyers what they think "Open Source" means, and they
will tell you that it means that 'people' can get
'access' to the source code under some 'conditions.'

From a corporate point of view, 'people' could be a
qualified set of persons; example, those that have paid
for a $50,000 'developers license', or those that 'sign
an NDA' or ...

The conditions can be generous like BSD or GPL, or they
could be under one of those licenses that contaminates
your brain so that if you see the code, then anything
related to that code belongs to them, etc.

FSF tries to define "Open Source", but those two words,
or the term, is not trademarked and thus anyone can and
does use the term for their own purposes. I just cringe
whenever I see Groksters here push for "open source"
because they are falling into the same semanthic trap
that RMS is warning us about with regards to "Intellectual

[ Reply to This | # ]

Respectfully disagree
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, March 30 2006 @ 08:37 PM EST
He has a point. The terminology used shapes the nature of discussion. This is
especially dangerous in the political arena where ideas are simplified and
summed up with a few catch phrases so that politicians can understand them. If
ideas, culture and symbols are described as `property' politicians are quite
likely to happily pass laws that make it a crime to be caught in possession of
an unauthorised idea.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Not acceptable comment
Authored by: PJ on Thursday, March 30 2006 @ 10:12 PM EST
You must be new. Please read Groklaw's comments
policy. Your comment is not acceptable here.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Legal significance of GPL
Authored by: leuy on Thursday, March 30 2006 @ 10:13 PM EST
I am wondering whether there is anything about the GPL that makes it more significant, in the sense of the history of law, than the other open source licenses?

A number of posters on this thread have credited the GPL with the success of the open source movement. My own experiences of promoting and authoring open source projects have caused me to think that the GPL is significant mostly for teaching us developers how not to license our code, if we wanted it to be widely used. Too many people downstream just couldn't live within the narrow Stallman definition of freedom. That's why the OSI got started in the first place.

Widespread adoption of open source seemed to be driven mostly by Apache (and Apache with perl for GCI) and Netscape, both of which opted for a less restrictive idea of "freedom" than Stallman preaches and encoded in GPL. The explosive growth of Apache occurred mostly while it was hosted primarily on proprietary UNIX boxes. The widespread adoption of Netscape was largely on Windows boxes.

Linux's growth in popularity came later, and is one of the few widely used pieces of software that I know of that uses GPL. Most widely used open source software is not limited to running on Linux, and most seem to use some variant of Mozilla, BSD, Apache or MIT. Examples include Firefox, openSSH, OpenOffice.

Others can (and surely will) argue with my claims, but these are largely questions of technical history for which only limited statistics are available, so we will probably not settle it with facts. These points have been argued elsewhere in this thread as well. My purpose in raising them is to ask, supposing for argument's sake that my claims are correct, is the importance of the GPL being overrated, or does it have some special legal significance?

So, specifically what I am wondering is, is there any reason to believe that the other open source licenses involved in this story (Apache and Mozilla) have in some way benefited from the GPL, in a legal sense? Are they more trusted by lawyers than they would have been if the GPL had never existed?

[ Reply to This | # ]

Intellectal Property: the real issue.
Authored by: polymath on Thursday, March 30 2006 @ 10:30 PM EST
Both PJ and RMS (at least in this talk) have missed the real danger in using the
term 'Intellectual Property'.  As PJ recently pointed out, lay people
frequently err when they hear legal language (e.g. intellectual property),
wherein a term has a specific meaning (e.g. copyright, patent or trade secret),
and assume an ordinary meaning (e.g. property).  The confusion is not among
patent, copyright and trade secret law as RMS stated but between that body of
law and property law.  IP is a term created by rights holders in an effort
to manipulate (spin) the debate surrounding those rights.  Along with the
redeployment of 'piracy', it is an attempt to equate rights violations with
(violent) property theft.  The danger in calling these rights 'property' is
that the public will be duped into allowing legislators (a.k.a. rights holders'
paid lackies) to extend the duration of those rights to the same duration as
property rights (i.e. until the government decides to take it).  What the
public needs to understand is that copyright, patent and trade secret law was
enacted to strike a balance between the gain in creative products that the law
fosters and the loss of the pre-existing freedom of to use those products
without restriction.  Like TC and DRM, IP frames the debate in terms that
suit those who would destroy that balance in favor of shortsighted corporate
interests at the expense of the public interest (and ultimately the interests of
those same corporations). As such it behooves us to eschew the term or even
better perhaps we should start calling it Intellectual Privation™.

[ Reply to This | # ]

An Interesting Observation (To me Anyway)
Authored by: rsteinmetz70112 on Thursday, March 30 2006 @ 10:42 PM EST
In his talk Stallman says;

"... what it means to say that two free software licenses are compatible is
that you can take code from a program under license A and code from a program
under license B and put them together in one program and you have not violated
either license."

I notice that he mentions no requirement for the license to be reciprocal. That
reminds me it's OK to use BSD licensed code in GPL software but not GPL code in
BSD software.

Has Stallman ever spoken on the BSD license?

Rsteinmetz - IANAL therefore my opinions are illegal.

"I could be wrong now, but I don't think so."
Randy Newman - The Title Theme from Monk

[ Reply to This | # ]

the guy the made the transcript: helping GPLv3 awareness
Authored by: ciaran on Friday, March 31 2006 @ 03:21 AM EST

Hi. I'm the guy that made the above transcript.

The consultation process for drafting GPLv3 is going to be about a year long. In a way, that's a long time, but we have to make sure that everyone who should be interested hears about the process during that time.

I made the transcript because text flows better in some ways, and the information has to spread wide, quickly.

I also made a transcript of Eben Moglen's presentation of the changes at the GPLv3 launch event, and a transcript of a shorter presentation which Richard gave at FOSDEM about GPLv3, and further informaton can be found on FSFE's GPLv3 page, and on the GPLv3 wiki page for collecting useful texts. Hopefully they will be useful to people who want to help spread awareness of the GPLv3 consultation process.

My work on this, and on fighting software patents in Europe, and other such projects is supported by FSFE' Fellowship program, for more information on that, see my page on How and Why to help FSFE's Fellowship. That's a way to indirectly help GPLv3 awareness.

If anyone wants to directly help GPLv3 awareness and has questions that I might be able to answer - post em ere!

[ Reply to This | # ]

Do Legalites REALLY know what "IP" is
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, March 31 2006 @ 03:57 AM EST
There have been a few threads discussing whether the use of the term
"Intellectual Property" by lawyers is an understood thing, whereas joe
public gets confused.

Borrowing from a new link provided by Groklaw, I quote the following from
"Property, Intellectual Property and free-riding" by Mark A. Lemley
from Stanford Law school.

"More important, courts too are increasingly making this assumption. The
trend is identified and endorsed by Judge Easterbrook, who writes:

Patents give a right to exclude, just as the law of trespass does with real
Intellectual property is intangible, but the right to exclude is no different in
principle from General Motors’ right to exclude Ford from using its assembly
line . . . Old rhetoric about intellectual property equating to monopoly seemed
to have vanished [at the Supreme Court], replaced by a recognition that a right
to exclude in intellectual property is no different in principle from the right
to exclude in physical property. . . . Except in the rarest case, we should
treat intellectual and physical property identically in the law – which is where
the broader currents are taking us."

It seems indeed that some members of the legal profession are very well being
confused by the terminology "Intellectual Property".

This, I believe, reinforces RMS's view that the term "intellectual
Property" is fundamentally flawed and should be avoided as it is in essence
a FUD phrase.


[ Reply to This | # ]

Authored by: Erwan on Friday, March 31 2006 @ 04:03 AM EST
And, by the way, when the term "intellectual property" is used in the name of a law or a committee, that is an example of the confusion. It's almost a certainty that any law named "intellectual property" is a harmful, an unjust law.

The speech was given in Italy/Europe.

Could this be a shot at IPRED2 (Intellectual Property Rights Enforcement Directive) which is currently in the pipe in Brussels ?


[ Reply to This | # ]

Who really understands "Intellectual Property"
Authored by: diddleydoo on Friday, March 31 2006 @ 04:47 AM EST
OK, I re-post with my user account (Fresh off the press)


There have been a few threads discussing whether the use of the term
"Intellectual Property" by lawyers is an understood thing, whereas joe
public gets confused.

Borrowing from a new link provided by Groklaw, I quote the following from
"Property, Intellectual Property and free-riding" by Mark A. Lemley
from Stanford Law school. I found the document interesting, but sometimes hard
to follow. I recommend reading it.

"More important, courts too are increasingly making this assumption. The
trend is identified and endorsed by Judge Easterbrook, who writes:

Patents give a right to exclude, just as the law of trespass does with real

Intellectual property is intangible, but the right to exclude is no different in
principle from General Motors’ right to exclude Ford from using its assembly
line . . . Old rhetoric about intellectual property equating to monopoly seemed
to have vanished [at the Supreme Court], replaced by a recognition that a right
to exclude in intellectual property is no different in principle from the right
to exclude in physical property. . . . Except in the rarest case, we should
treat intellectual and physical property identically in the law – which is where
the broader currents are taking us."

It seems indeed that some members of the legal profession are very well being
confused by the terminology "Intellectual Property".

This, I believe, reinforces RMS's view that the term "intellectual
Property" is fundamentally flawed and should be avoided as it is in essence
a FUD phrase.


[ Reply to This | # ]

Patent Property
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, March 31 2006 @ 07:07 AM EST
Patents are property because to quote from the UK Patents Act 1977,

Section 30(1)

Any patent or application for a patent is personal property (without being a
thing in action), and any patent or any such application and rights in or under
it may be transferred, created or granted in accordance with subsections (2) to
(7) below.

Section 30(2)

Subject to section 36(3) below, any patent or any such application, or any
right in it, may be assigned or mortgaged

Section 30(3)

Any patent or any such application or right shall vest by operation of law in
the same way as any other personal property and may be vested by an assent of
personal representatives

and so on and so forth.

[ Reply to This | # ]

The Hostility to Stallman... jealousy?
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, March 31 2006 @ 08:22 AM EST
It seems that there is quite a hostile reaction in these comments to Stallman,
but we must talk about the double standards being expressed by these same people
in their comments. First, let's keep in mind that no one in the world is going
to force you to choose a GPL license for your software which you have written in
its entirety under your own initiative, and no one is going to force you to
accept GPL binaries or source code for use on your computer.

Stallman is essentially the Copyright owner of the actual GPL license. He
created the license (with legal help) to protect the things he wanted protected
in his daily computer use.

How would this be any different from a copyright a person has on a novel they
have written? How would that be any different from the copyrights people have on
anything they create?

Would I also be labeled a dictator if people around the country used my book to
teach some new idea to others, and people agreed with that idea and shared it
with even more?

So, in these comments, there are so many complaints of "I will choose how
my code will be used, not Stallman!"

Are you then not also a dictator, since you actually care how your work will be

So I have to look at many of these comments and wonder just exactly what is
wrong with these people that they can't see the glaring contradiction in their
own comments.

Did someone tell you that you must use the GPL on your own code, or was it more
that you wanted to benefit from use of some GPL code and are annoyed that you
can't simply take it and claim it as your own and solely your own for whatever
selfish end you have?

People have chosen the GPL with the "any future version clause"
because they agree with Stallman, not because they've accepted him as their
ruler. Linus kept that clause out because he does not agree with Stallman, but
does agree with the GPL version 2. He dicied that he agreed with the license,
some decide that they agree with Stallman, and both are clearly in their rights
to do so.

So let's make it simple, if you don't agree with Stallman but do agree with the
GPL, leave that clause out of your work, if you do, then let it ride. If you
don't care for either, then do whatever you want, but you are no less a
"dictator" than anyone else who makes a decision about anything.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Let's go through it slowly, Richard.
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, March 31 2006 @ 05:30 PM EST
A chair is not a desk, but they're both office property. A patent is not a
trademark, but they're both intellectual property. Clear now?

[ Reply to This | # ]

Term of Art
Authored by: butlerm on Sunday, April 02 2006 @ 03:59 PM EDT
Unfortunately, recent comments by several Supreme Court justices in the MercExchange patent case suggest strongly that not only do they not think of "intellectual property" as merely a term of art, but furthermore that they cannot see any basis for distinguishing between patent rights and rights in tangible property.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Groklaw © Copyright 2003-2013 Pamela Jones.
All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective owners.
Comments are owned by the individual posters.

PJ's articles are licensed under a Creative Commons License. ( Details )