[discuss] Defective by design
russell at flora.ca
Wed May 24 09:30:09 EDT 2006
Andrew Kohlsmith wrote:
> Why do you have to be agnostic toward or embrace DRM to fit in with
> the OSS group? Why is DRM even a factor in determining which group
> you "belong" to?
While I'm not sure why it happened, the split did happen. While Open
Source was started as a marketing campaign for Free Software that
wouldn't confuse business folks about free/gratis vs free/libre, many
politically motivated individuals grabbed onto it as a way to embrace a
few limited aspects of the Free Software movement (relating to the
quality benefits of open scientific peer review, and the economic
benefits of peer production and distribution) and reject the more
rights-based issues (protection of property rights in technology, the
code-is-law democratic aspects, pro-competition, etc).
DRM (The controversial application of technical measures by copyright
holders and manufacturers to devices which they do not own) has become a
clear division in many discussions, especially those who have
participated in discussions around GPLv3. Those of us in the Free
Software community consider this to be a highly practical license
upgrade to close legal loopholes opened by changes in the law, while
some in the Open Source camp (Linus for example) see this license as too
It is interesting that it is not a matter of "how much politics", but
which politics. While stereotypes always have examples that are outside
of the mold, my experience has been that those who oppose the
modernization of the GPL and/or opposition to protection from DRM being
added to the GPL are disagreeing with some of the concepts such as the
reciprocal nature (AKA: CopyLeft, Share-Alike, etc) of the GPL, and have
their own politically biased view on what "Freedoms" should be protected.
Should a copyright holder or a manufacturer have the "Freedom" to put
a digital lock around technology which they do not own without the clear
informed permission of the owner? My answer is a very strong NO.
> In general I dislike these flash mobs. The first few were kind of
> cool as an idea, but now it's just another media stunt.
When the Canadian Parliament opened there were many farmers who went
to the hill to hilight their issues. This was mentioned many times
within parliament, and they did get a lot of political support because
of this "stunt". Awareness was raised considerably.
Our political opponents in the recording, motion picture and
"Software manufacturing" industry associations use stunts like this all
the time, including also having events on the lawn of the hill. The
yearly press releases about so-called "Piracy Studies" (Which include
FLOSS as if it were copyright infringement) are examples of this, with
there being joint press releases and events between these industry
associations in recent years. (Note: Like the BSA studies include FLOSS
as if it were infringement, the CRIA statistics also include market
shifts towards independent and unsigned artists as if it was infringement).
We need to have similar stunts to raise awarenesss before parliament
tables a new new copyright bill to ensure that parliament will not
revoke basic property/privacy and other rights in relation to
communications technology. It is unfortunate that they have been
mislead by organizations like the recording and motion picture
industries that don't understand the technologies themselves, but this
is the political reality we are dealing with.
BTW: As to personalities, we all have our own feelings about RMS, ESR
and others. I don't know why these specific personalities should define
which group we consider ourselves to be part of. I'm not part of the
Free Software community because I disagree with ESR's gun-slinging
right-libertarian views, but because I believe in the human-rights-based
approach to software advocated by the Free Software community.
Russell McOrmond, Internet Consultant: <http://www.flora.ca/>
2415+ Canadians oppose Bill C-60 which protects antiquated Recording,
Movie and "software manufacturing" industries from modernization.
Send a letter to your Canadian MP! --> http://digital-copyright.ca/
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