Richard Stallman, Copyright vs Community in the Age of Computer Networks

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Лекция прошла в 18:00 5 марта 2008 года в ИФ РАН.

Ричард Мэттью Столлман
Ричард Мэттью Столлман


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(расшифровка взята с [1], счетчик времени по видеозаписи, подзаголовки добавлены после расшифровки, только для ориентации по тексту --PavelSutyrin 07:37, 1 июля 2008 (UTC))

[править] Introduction. The extents of freedoms


So, in my previous speeches elsewhere I spoke about the free software movement, about software that respect the user's freedom, and I explained, why software users deserve four essential freedoms. Freedom 0, the freedom to run the program as you wish, freedom 1, the freedom to study the source code and to change it, so that the program does what you wish, freedom 2, the freedom to help you neighbor, the freedom to distribute exact copies, make and distribute exact copies, when you wish, and freedom 3, the freedom to contribute to your community, the freedom to make and distribute copies of your modified versions, when you wish. If the program gives you all four these freedoms, it is free software, freedom-respecting software, "svobodny" software. [light laughter]


So, once the GNU+Linux system existed in the 90s and people started to use it, I started getting invited to give more speeches, and at the end of the speech sometimes people would ask, whether the same ideas of the free software movement -- that all software should be free and all users should have these freedoms -- do those apply to anything but software? Sometimes they would say: "what about hardware? Should computers be free or microphones, or tables, or chairs? [points at these items around] Well, that was a silly question, because it doesn't even make sense entirely.

What would it mean, for this table to be free in the same sense? Well, it would mean that you have freedom 0, the freedom to use the table as you wish, well, if you buy the table, you pretty much can use it as you wish, so you have freedom 0. What about freedom 1, the freedom to study the source code of the table and then change it to make the table to do what you wish? Well, there is no source code. So, this freedom doesn't entirely make sense, but you can study the table and you can modify the table. This table is made of wood, I could cut an inch of every leg if I wanted to and I have a lower table, there are various modifications you can do. And the fact is: for the most part nobody will stop you, if it's your table, you can modify it. So, you have freedom 0 and you have freedom 1, partly to the extent it makes sense.

But on the other hand, a computer, you basically can't modify very much, it's impossible. Nobody can modify the circuitry in a chip, you will just destroy it.

(Can we open a window, it's getting hot in here?)


What about freedom 2, the freedom to copy and to distribute the copies, well there are no copiers for tables, so that's completely meaningless. And what about freedom 3, the freedom to copy and distribute copies of your modified versions of the table. Well, if you change this table, by cutting an inch of each leg, well, there is still no copiers, so you won't be able to put the modified table into a copier and distribute copies to people. So, basically, these physical objects in most cases are as free as they can possibly be, but that's a very partial extent. So, that was a silly question. He didn't really understand, the people who ask that question about hardware didn't really understand what "free" means, they didn't think careful.

But, there are other things about which this question makes sense. And those are other works of authorship, that you may have a copy of, because those you can copy and those you can modify, and so question of whether you are permitted to do so is a real and important question. That is the question, that this speech is about.


If you have a copy of something, some work, which is not software, then for the most part, the only thing that could restrict your freedom to copy or distribute or modify it is copyright law. So, the same question looked at from the other side is: what should copyright law say about those works?

[править] The history of copyright law


Now, to think about issues of copyright law, it's useful to look at the history, and the history of copyright law is connected with the history of copying technology, for very good reasons, because changes in technology can affect our ethical judgements. Now, changes in technology cannot touch our basic ethical principles, which are too deep for mere changes in technology to reach them. But when we apply these principles to a specific question, we do it by looking at various alternative choices and look at the consequences of each one. A change in a context can alter the consequences of the same action and thus make it more good or more bad.

For instance, if we could reliably resurrect the dead, then murder wouldn't be so bad. You would just say: "all right, you've killed him, you'll have to pay for his new body", and that's it.

[править] The ancient world


So, let's look at the history of copyright and copying technology.

Copying began in the ancient world, where it was done with a writing instrument on a writing surface. Now, this copying technology has some interesting consequences. First of all, there was no built-in economy of scale. Making ten copies was ten much as work as making one copy. (Excuse me, I'm looking for my clock... I thought was in here.. Ah.)

Another consequence of ancient world copying technology was: it did not use any specialized equipment, only the ordinary equipment for writing. And it didn't require any special skill, only the skill of reading and writing. The result was a decentralized system, in which copies of any given book were made in quantity starting one. Wherever somebody had a copy and wanted another.

As far as I can tell, there was no such thing as copyright in the ancient world. If you had a copy and you wanted to copy it, you could do so, and no one would object, except perhaps if the king didn't like what the book said, and then he may put you in prison or kill you or whatever, of course, that was censorship, not copyright, but the two are closely related.

[править] The age of printing press


So there was no system of copyright anywhere in the ancient world, as far as I know. But then there was a tremendous advance in copying technology: the printing press, which made copying more efficient, but not uniformly so. It made some kinds of copy a lot more efficient, and didn't help in other kinds, because the printing press has a big economy of scale. It takes a lot of work to set the type, probably the more work than writing a copy by hand, but once you have set the type, you can make many identical copies very efficiently.


Furthermore, the printing press and the type were expensive specialized equipment that most regular /?/ people did not have. And it took special knowledge to use them, different skills from the skills of reading and writing. So, the result was a centralized system of producing copies, where copies of any given book were made in a few places, and then they were brought to whoever wanted to buy them.

In the first few centuries of printing, many copies were still made by hand. I recall it was a large fraction of the old copies, that were almost half. This was done either on behalf of very rich people to show how rich they were, or by poor people, because, as the song goes, "time ain't money, if all you got is time".


In the first few centuries of printing printed books were still very expensive, and there were poor people who couldn't afford printed copy, but they had the time to write the copy.


Copyright began in the age of the printing press. For instance, in the Italy, in the 1500s, it was commonplace that if you wrote a book, you could then ask a prince to give you a monopoly on printing it. And if he liked you and the book started by saying nice things about him, then he would probably give you this monopoly. Princes used to hand out monopolies of all sorts of things to whoever they wished to reward.


Copyright in England began as a system of censorship in the 1500s. If someone wanted to publish a book, he had to... someone had to apply to the government for permission, and this permission was given to one publisher, and it was permanent monopoly for that publisher.

In the 1600s there was a revolution in England, and the system of censorship became obsolete, there was a revolution of 1688. And they began to think of getting rid of that system, and replacing it with another system, designed to be good for the public and so they established the system where copyright was given to the author for a limited period of time, at that time, I believe, that was 14 years.


When the US Constitution was written, there was a proposal, that authorship be entitled to a copyright. You'd never believe it from listening to the US companies today, but that proposal was rejected. And the US Constitution says: "Congress shall have the power to promote the progress of science and the useful arts by reserving to authors and inventors for a limited time the exclusive use of their respective writings and inventions". And in US law this one sentence is the sum total of everything there is in common between copyright law and patent law, everything else is different.

In any case, we can see a few things from this sentence. First of all, the Constitution does no require copyright to exist, in only permits the option of having a copyright system. Second, it says that if copyright exists, it's purpose is to promote progress, the purpose is not to give authors something that they deserve, it doesn't say that they deserve anything, it only allows a system of copyright as a way to promote progress. And third, it says copyright can only be for a limited time. These were wise decisions and ever since the publishers will be trying to get rid of them.


Copyright in the age of the printing press operated as an industrial regulation. It restricted publishers, the decisions were made by authors and all this was organized so as to benefit the general public. Because it acted as an industrial regulation, nobody ever thought about prosecuting somebody from making copies by hand, it applied to publication and printing, not hand-copying for your own use, no one would even have thought of that, because everyone understood that it was meant as an industrial regulation.

And because of this, copyright was easy to enforce, pretty much uncontroversial, and arguably beneficial for the general public. It was easy to enforce, because it didn't require invading everybody's home and computer, it only have to be applied in cases of publication, and it's easy to find out, who is printing the books, you go to the bookstore and say: where did these copies come from?

It was uncontroversial, because it didn't restrict what readers could do. It only restricted what you can do as a publisher and ordinary readers were not publishers, so they haven't felt any burden from it. And it was arguably beneficial, because the public traded certain nominal freedoms, that the public was not in a position to exercise, and thus lost effectively nothing. And in exchange we see benefits of more writing, more books you could buy, more conversation about important issues that might help society decide what to do.

[править] The age of computer networks

So, in the age of the printing press copyright seemed to be beneficial, I would not be criticizing it, but the age of the printing press is giving way slowly, gradually to the age of the computer networks, another major advance in copying technology, which once again makes copying more efficient, and once again this advance is not uniform, it affect some cases more than others.


In the ancient world copying was always hard and slow. The printing press made some cases a lot more efficient, and now computer networks make it all a lot more efficient, and the variation in efficiency is much less now. We don't have mass production of identical copies very efficient and everything else very painful, now everything is pretty easy and fast. This is not perfectly true, it remains the case, for instance, that mass produced CDs are cheaper and more durable than one-off CDs, but one-off CDs are cheap enough, that hundreds of millions of people can make them.

So, we're in a situation once again, like the ancient world, where anybody, who can use the work, can copy it too.

This completely changes the effect of copyright law, even if the law itself were unchanged, because now the freedom that we traded away because we couldn't use it, now we can use it! Now it's important to us.


The result it that copyright law has changed its social role, it is no longer an industrial regulation on publishers in the hands of authors to benefit the public, now it restricts the public, it's controlled by the publishers and they do it only in the name of the authors. So everything was turned upside down by this technological change. And back in the 70s you could see that the publishers were up to no good, because they started talking about how digital technology created problems for copyright law. And that is clearly backwards, because, after all, laws are supposed to do something that good in the situation that we are in. So, I would have said: copyright law creates problems for enjoying the use of digital technology. But publishers turned it around, because their goal was the opposite of our goal. Our goal is to get the best good we can out of our computers, their goal was to stop us from doing that. Digital technology is useful, because it facilitates copying and manipulating and communicating information. They don't want that to be easy for us. They don't want us to get the full benefits of our computers.


So, what would a democratic government do in a situation like this? When this democratic government trades away our freedom to get benefits from us, except that now we want to start using that freedom, what would the government say? It would say to those publishers: "Sorry, we used to trade away these freedoms on behalf of our citizens, because the didn't mind and they were happy to encourage writing, but now they want to keep these freedoms, so we can't continue the same deal that we used to make. Now we're going to reduce it, maybe we can trade you a part of this freedom, but the public wants to keep the rest, and it is our duty to represent interests of the public."

That, in theory, what the democratic government does, it represents the interests of the public. We can measure how undemocratic various governments are, by the extent to which they have done the exact opposite: extending copyright power, when they ought to reduce it.


For instance, there is a world wide press to make copyright last longer and longer. In the 1700s copyright in the UK lasted, I think, 14 years, in the US it lasted 14 years but could be renewed once. But in the US in recent decades it has been extended over and over and over. And the last time was in 1999, when they extended copyright by 20 more years for existing works and potential future works. Now, what possible justification could there be for extending copyright on works already written? Works, for instance, written in the 1920s? How could they convince, motivate, incent the now dead authors of 1920s to write more back then by extending copyright now?


They never answered that question for us, and if they had a time machine, they apparently did not use it, because our history books does not record, that there was an explosion of artistic activity in the 1920s, when authors learned that in 1998 (1999, maybe? --Pavel) they will be granted 20 more years of copyright. It is at least vaguely conceivable that extending copyright for future works could create more motivation to write them, but, practically speaking, no, and the reason is that copyright already lasted such a long time that additional time tapped on to the end of that had a discounted economic value, so small, that it wouldn't motivate anything.


What really happened, the real reason for this was: companies like Disney payed for the law, you see, that's why we call it "The Mickey Mouse copyright act". You see, the character Mickey Mouse was going to go into the public domain. Mickey Mouse appeared for the first time in the movie called "Steambot Willie", in 1929, so time when its copyright was going to expire was getting close. And if that happened, others could make movies having Mickey Mouse in them, or other publications and have pictures of Mickey Mouse in them, and Disney didn't want that ever happen, so they payed for this 20 year extension and this... but they really want copyright to last forever, and, in fact the Motion Picture Association of America says it wants perpetual copyright, but even they don't have enough power yet to amend the US Constitution to permit that, so the worked out a scheme that has the same results without permitting it, which we called "The perpetual copyright on the instalment plan". The idea is: every 20 year they extend copyright 20 more years, and the will do that forever. Thus, at anywhere in the time, if you pick up a particular work, there is a certain day, where it is supposed to go into the public domain, but don't hold your breath, because by the time you get there, it will have been postponed 20 years and by the time you get there, it will be postponed 20 more years, and this way, they hope, nothing will go into the public domain again, and, in fact, nothing has gone into the public domain in the US for decades.

[править] Dimensions of the copyright power. Digital Restrictions Management


The duration is the one dimension of copyright power, the other dimension is the extent of the power: which activities, which uses are controlled by copyright. Now. In the age of the printing press, copyright was never supposed to control every use of copyrighted work, in the broad space of what you can do with the work, copyright was an exception. The rest were unregulated uses. However, the publishers have envisioned that with digital technology they can totally control access, they hoped to establish a "pay per read" universe, when you have to get permission even to read the part of the book. This is done with Digital Restrictions Management or DRM, which means designing products so that they restrict the users, specifically, products for playing music, playing videos, reading book or accessing any sort of information, they are designed to control you, not serve you. And we have seen this problem in a broad spectrum of different kinds of works.


For instance, we see it in videos. DVDs were the first widely adopted product designed to restrict the user. DVD movies are usually in an encrypted format and the format details were secret. The DVD conspiracy was set up to make sure that public would not be able to access the data on DVDs, except in limited restricted ways. Here is how it works. This conspiracy knows the format of DVDs, anybody who wants to make a DVD player has to go to the conspiracy and ask for the secret, and the conspiracy says: "we will tell you the secret, if you sign this contract where you promise that your DVD players will restrict users just like other DVD players do, we require that of all the manufactures of DVD players". This is why there is effectively no competition in the DVD players, because no matter how many different manufacturers they are, all the players restrict the users the same way.


Naturally, people try to escape from these restrictions. People, in fact, figured out the format of DVD encryption and wrote a free program to break the encryption. That program is censored in the US today. (Is the window is actually open?.. It is getting hotter.. Get open any more, that will help. There are lot of people in here, and we really need ventilation.)


So, the United States practices censorship of software. This was established by the law "Digital Millennium Copyright Act", also in 1998. Which says: when a work is published in encrypted form, in any form that is designed to restrict the public, then distributing anything that enables people to escape from these restrictions is a crime. In other words, instead of defending us, what the government should have done, it joined with our enemies to oppress us. So, I call it the government of occupation... [applause] ...for the corporate empire.


Now, people ask me how I know about this conspiracy. The answer is: it's not secret. They announced the existence of this conspiracy. They have so little fear that anything will be done to stop them from attacking the public, that they don't even see the need to hide what they're doing. I think, what they're doing ought to be a crime, any conspiracy of companies to restrict the technology available to the public should be a crime. [applause]


And that would require a democratic government, and not very many of those left in the world.


Now. Even though that program is censored, it is widely available. You can get a copy of free software to play DVD, it's not hard. Now. In some other countries it's a crime even to have a copy, for instance, in France, you can be put in prison just for having a copy of free software to play DVD. But the fact is the software is available, so they have designed a new scheme to restrict the access to HD-DVD and Blu-Ray discs. That scheme is called AACS, but I call it "the axe", and we should "give it the axe", so don't buy HD-DVD, don't buy Blu-Ray, don't buy any product with digital restrictions management, unless you personally have the means to break the restrictions of the product. Now, in fact, people have broken the axe, a year ago code was released that can result in a proper algorithm...

([looks at someone who closes window] keep it open, it's still hot in here, please keep it open, it's still hot. [someone near the window replies: "It's cold!"]. Well, how about if I stand over there?.. [reply: "It's a good idea", laughter]. [RMS makes several steps towards window] Well, it's seems inconvenient to get there, a sort of mountain is in the way. [laughter, RMS returns to his place])


And then a few months later I saw a strange photo, a friend showed it to me, it showed two very cute adorable puppies and above them there was sixteen hex numbers. And I asked myself: what in a world is this? Why put these sixteen hex digits and these two cute puppies? I wonder if it's some sort of key. And it turned out that was the key to break the axe. Somebody posted this on a site called dig [digg?], and the editors deleted it, because publishing that in they US is illegal, it's censored. And then somebody else posted it again and they took in down again, and hundreds of people posted it and then editors said: "okay, we give up, we can't stop people from circulating this information". And eventually these sixteen hex digits were posted in over 700,000 web pages in the strong show of public opposition to these conspiracies to restrict our technology. But this doesn't mean the axe is defeated, because it was designed that they can change the key, and they did. [light laughter]


So perhaps the people who had found that key should have waited a year or two, because the discs that are already published those, can be decoded, but the future ones which will use a new key, those will not be decodable until someone finds that key, so the people engaged in breaking DRM has to think strategically, it's like you are breaking enemy's codes, how do you cause the enemy the most damage, and set back, how do you basically going to defeat our enemy? Because all those companies making things designed to restrict our use of our technology are our enemies.


We've also seen DRM in music. Starting most of a decade ago we started to see things that looked like CDs, but they were not real CDs, because they didn't follow... it were not real Compact Discs, because the didn't follow the specifications of the CD format. So we called them Corrupt Discs. I was once invited to give a speech on this topic by one of the regions of Spain, and then they gave me a gift, some records of music of that region, and one of them I was curiously to listen to, but before I opened it I know it... instead of saying "Compact Disc" it said "Copy Control. This disc can be played on Windows and Macintosh systems.", [laughter] meaning that it can't be played with free software. It was a good thing that I haven't opened it yet, because I handed it back to my host and have said: here you can see the face of the enemy, please take this back to the store, because they shouldn't be able to keep your money. I don't want them to get money from me, they shouldn't get your money either. So, I've never heard that music, but that's okay, I'd rather not hear that music, than accept DRM.


Sony about 3 years ago implemented a very interesting DRM scheme on music recordings. You would put this Corrupt Disc into the computer and it would load software into the system without telling you. And that software was called a RootKit, because it's something like what security breakers do, crackers, something like what a virus might do. That software was installed deep into the system and then it modified some of the system commands, so that they would lie and disguise the presence of that software, and it modified other commands so that it would be hard to remove that software. Now, this was a crime in fact, but that's not all, because it also damaged the security of the computer, and it also committed copyright infringement, because it contained free software that have been released under the GNU GPL [light laughter] included in the combination that was not free and without giving the user a copy of GNU GPL to inform him of his rights. People got very angry of this. But, unfortunately, most of the anger focused on the other side nasty things, that Sony had done and not on the nasty purpose of that all, which was to restrict the user's access to the music that they have bought.


It turns out thought, that there was a couple of things that made this scheme actually less harmful than most. First of all, it only affected Windows users [light laughter]. And second, even a Windows user could protect himself by holding down a certain key on the keyboard when putting the disc in. [light laughter] So it was actually fairly easy to bypass. But, you know, millions of people didn't know about this, so their machines got infected. They got very angry, they sued Sony, and Sony settled the suit by promising that next time they try to control your access to your copies of data, they wouldn't do the other secondary nasty things [light laughter]. But they learned their lesson. Next time the RootKit will be built in before you get the machine and it will be impossible to remove. [light laughter] And that's already the case in the PlayStation 3, it is a very nasty thing.


We also see attempts to impose digital restrictions management on books. Several years ago there was a powerful campaign in some countries at least, trying to convince us to switch to e-books, and, of course, these e-book have DRM. Basically, the publishers want to take away certain traditional freedoms of readers. Freedoms to do things like selling book to the used books store, borrowing from the public library, buying anonymously by paying cash or lend it to your friend. And even the freedom to keep the book for as long as you like and read it many times and then pass it on to you children and they might read it and pass it on, all these freedoms they wanna take away from us. They want total control over what we do with our books. But there are so many people that read books and are accustomed to certain freedoms, that they will have trouble passing the law in the US taking away these freedoms from readers. So they came up with two-stage plan to achieve the same goal.


The first stage was take away these freedoms for e-books and that they achieved fairly easily, that's the result of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which was passed in 1998 by the House of Representatives without even bothering to vote, because no one dared to say: "I demand a vote on this". The second stage was to convince people to switch from printed books to e-books. That they tried and it didn't work.

Now. There was an organized PR campaign to convince people to use e-books, I know this, because in 2001 I was in an airplane in Brazil on a domestic flight, and I pulled out the in-flight magazine, which I rarely do, an ordinary magazine would had an editorial, this one had an article: discussing the question of how many years it would take before that we all are using e-books. Now, those magazines never publish anything unless they have a specific business reason to do so. Either it convinces the people to fly more, or they pay. So I know, there was an organized campaign for this. One publisher thought it would be effective to start off it's line of e-books with my biography. [light laughter] So they found an author and sent him to me, and he asked if I would like to cooperate, and I said: sure, provided this book is published without encryption [laughter, applause]. And they said no. So I suggested he try a different publisher who said "yes", and the book was written and published and it nominally is not encrypted, it's actually free, and you can download the whole text with markup, and then you can edit it and publish your own version. [laughter, applause].


Well, e-book were failure commercially, and I have been telling people for years, they will try again. Well, now they're trying again. We've seen a couple of e-book readers announced recently, there is the "Sony Shredder", which describes what it will do to our books. And there is "Amazon swindle" [light laughter]. And make sure your friends know, before they buy one of these, that buying one of these is tenth amount to saying: "I'm not gonna lend my friend's books any more", so it means being a jerk. [laughter, applause]

Make sure that your friends know, that if they buy one of these and start using it, you and, it should be a lots of people who tell him this, will interpret this basically as refusal to be friends anymore. So, across the board we have seen attempts to use digital technology in our own computers against us. To subject us, to the power of the publishers. They want to control whatever we do with our own copies, taking away rights, that legally otherwise we would still have under the copyright law. They're trying to make copyright total control. They do this because they buy the support of governments, and governments don't defend us. But what would a democratic government do?


I should mention another dimension of extending copyright power, and that is increasing the penalties for unauthorized copying. And there Russia may be the world champion [laughter] with six-year punishments for unauthorized copying. That law is a total injustice it should be eliminated. But what would democratic governments do?

[править] Reducing copyright power


Well, they would reduce copyright power, so that we, the general public, keep some of our natural rights, instead of trading them away. But what, more specifically.

First of all, they should reduce copyright each dimension. First of all, there is a dimension of time. While copyright has been extended and extended, the publication cycle was getting shorter and shorter. In the US today most books are remainder, which means: sold off cheap within two years, and they go out of print within three. So, they don't need copyright to last for up to a hundred and fifty years. So I propose that copyright should last for ten years starting with the date of publication. [applause]


I say "starting with the date of publication", because while the work remains unpublished, we don't have copies, so we're not losing anything, it's a purely theoretical question, whether we would be allowed to copy them if we had them. We might as well let the author to wait how long it takes to find a publisher for the work, but then it should be ten years. Now. I propose this as a first adjustment, I'm not sure ten years is right, I'm saying: let's try ten years. Let's see how it works. Maybe we'll want to extend it some, maybe we'll want to shorten it even more, I don't know. Ten year seems, because ten years is three times the usual publication cycle, I'm comfortable that it's long enough. However, not everyone agrees with this. I proposed this at a panel discussion with some writers. And I expected fireworks and I got some. Because the award-winning fantasy writer, sitting next to me, said: "Ten years? Absolutely not! Anything more than five years is unacceptable." [laughter, applause].


Now I was surprised when he said that, because I've been believing that publishers' propaganda, since the publishers said they were doing this for the authors. I assumed naively that the authors wanted this too. But the fact is those same publishers, that demand more power over us in the name of the authors, are grinding those authors into the ground with the ground of their heels, frequently.

For instance, this author, the writer who objected, who didn't wanted more than five years copyright, he had a legal lawsuit with his publisher. You see, his contract said that if the book was out of print, if the books were out of print, the rights will revert to him and he would be allowed to distribute copies again. Well, practically speaking, he had found that his book was out of print, people couldn't get it, but the publisher refused to acknowledge that and was using copyright to stop him from distributing copies of his own books, which he wanted to do, so that people could read them.


He knew that unless he became a superstar, more than ten years of copyright was not likely to do.. more than five years of copyright was not likely to do him much good. So he said: five years maximum. Well, we could try ten years, maybe we'll decide then to shorten it even more. I won't argue against it, I just propose ten years as a good first adjustment, which we could then further adjust.

[править] Three categories of works


But what about the other dimension of copyright, its extent, the range of activities it covers. Well, we should reduce that too, but not the same for everything. I don't think that we should treat all works the same and I distinguish three broad categories of works that I think we should treat in different ways, each one according to way it's used.

These categories are: first, functional, practical works, works that you use to do a job in your life; second, works of opinion and testimony, the works that express... those social contribution is they say what certain people thought; third: the works of art and entertainment, whose social contribution lies in the impact of the work itself. Three different ways that a work can contribute to society. And because these contributions work differently, I think that different copyright laws are appropriate for them.

[править] Practical works

First, the works of... functional, practical works, the works you use to do a practical job. These include software, recipes, educational works, reference works, text funds, and various other things, things that ordinary people could use to do practical jobs. These must be free. The same arguments that apply to the software, why software should be free, are applied to the other kinds of the functional works. If you're using a work to do a job in your life and you can control what the work does, then you can control your life. So you must be free to change it, and once you changed it you should be free to publish your version, because other people might have needs similar to yours, or preferences similar to yours. Your version, which you made, because it's useful to you perhaps, could be useful to other people as well. So you should be able to publish your version. And this leads to the conclusion that they have to be free.


Now, people might say: but if there is no way to restrict the users and interfere with their use of the works, they'll never be made. Well, we don't have to be afraid that this (...)/?/ will follow if these works are free, because now we have enough examples that show that they will be made, they are made even today, lots of these works are made and they are free. We have the example of the free software community, which has developed thousands of useful applications, we have the example of all the recipes that are circulating and it's normal for cooks to copy recipes and modify recipes, and then we have, in the area of reference works we have the example of Wikipedia and some of the other reference sites of the similar sort, which are free and have done a tremendous job.


So, there is no need to be scared. We don't need to sabotage the use of these work in order to get them developed. We should make them free. And this is the answer to that question I posed in the beginning. This is how far the ideas of free software go, in my opinion.

Now. The question for other two categories of works is the same, but I don't think it's the same answer. Mean, you could apply the same answer but that's not what I think is right. I don't try to generalize every view that I've ever hold as far as it can possibly go, because even if the answer makes sense over here, it doesn't mean it's the right answer over here. We have to think about each area.

[править] Works of opinion and testimony


Let's get to the category two, the category of works, whose social contribution is they say what certain people thought. This includes memoirs and other biographies, essays of opinion, scientific papers. After all, the real purpose of a scientific paper is it says: "we did this and we saw this", and the names of the authors on that paper are crucial. It wouldn't be the same if it just said: "somebody did this" or "somebody saw this" and we don't know who. You couldn't rely on it that way, but when their authors' names are on it, and their reputations are behind the honesty of it and the validity of it, then it's good for something.

Now. Publishing a modified version of these works is not socially useful, that is just misrepresenting somebody. There is no particular reason why we want that to be allowed. And that means we would have a compromise copyright system, where everyone is free to redistribute exact copies of the work non-commercially, but anything else requires permission, just as now. So it will still be a copyright system, and it will cover commercial use, and it will cover modification, but non-commercial redistribution of the exact copies, that freedom we would all have.


And that, I believe, is the minimum freedom that we must have for all kinds of works. To take away this freedom is what makes copyright into tyranny. To take away this freedom, the freedom to share, is what requires dracony /?/ and punishments and outrageous means of enforcement. By winning back this freedom, by making these works shareable, we can turn copyright back into an industrial regulation as it ought to be. So, that's what I recommend for these works.

[править] Artistic and entertainment works


What about the third category, artistic and entertainment works? For that category it was hard for me to decide about modification, because there are various arguments on both sides. There is the argument that work can have an artistic integrity and modified versions could destroy that integrity, and I think this is sometimes true, although, most authors don't have as much integrity as they pretend to, and you can see that by the way they allow Hollywood to butcher those works in exchange for money. But there are some who won't, there are some who won't let Hollywood to butcher it, and they will say: "You have to make it faithfully, you have to do it right". Okay, those authors may have integrity, but on the other side modifying art could produce good contributions, interesting contributions to art.


Consider the folk process, where a series of people can transform a work and produce something very rich and beautiful. But if we want to consider only named authors, consider Shakespeare. Some of Shakespeare's plays used stories that were copied from other works published a few decades before. If today's copyright law had been in effect then, those plays of Shakespeare would not have been allowed and probably they wouldn't have been written. And surely, not published or performed. So, if Shakespeare had complained about this, which he probably wouldn't have, but if he had, then the copyright holders, who might have been perhaps the children of the authors, people not particularly artistic themselves, they might have said: "How dare you propose to make a cheap rip-off of my father's work? [light laughter] It has to be a cheap rip-off, because you want to copy from it, so why don't you go away and think of something else?"

We, listening to this, since we would never have seen that play of Shakespeare which would never had written it, we wouldn't know that it wasn't true. Since we have seen these plays we can say they're great works of literature, but if we hadn't seen them, we wouldn't know that. So we could easily been mislead by these arguments made by the copyright holders.


For many years I wasn't sure what to do about these two valid arguments and then I realized that while modifying art work could be useful, it's not urgent. If you are using a functional work to do a job today and it's not quite right, you have to be free to change it today. And you should be free to publish your modified version today, so tomorrow other people can get the benefit. But with the work of art, we can wait, so if copyright last for ten years, makes, for ten years we can have a compromise copyright system where people are free to non-commercially redistribute exact copies, and that's all. And then after ten years it will go into the public domain and then you could publish your modified version. So that's what I propose for art.

And that's how I propose to change copyright law, that's what I think the right solution is today. In particular this means legalizing the peer-to-peer sharing. [applause]

[править] Proposed ways to support artists


But some people say: If we share things peer-to-peer, that's taking money out of mouths of that starving musicians [laughter], that's bullshit, the starving musicians get nothing from the present system, they can't lose what they can't get. The record companies treat musicians very badly. When I buy a commercial CD, which I do, I feel ashamed that I'm not supporting the musicians. [light laughter, applause], because unless I'm buying it from the musicians, I know that musicians are probably going to get nothing, zero.


You might wonder about this: isn't that part of the price is for musicians? Well, yes, theoretically, but the production and publicity expenses are treated as an advance to the musicians, which means that when you buy the CD that share that is for the musicians comes from one account of the record company to another, and the musicians never get it, and very few records actually sell so many copies that they finish repaying the so-called advance and start actually giving the musicians money, some records can go gold and still not reach this point. The exception of course is for the long-established superstars, because they finish they first record contract, which usually covers five or seven records and then they can negotiate a new contract and since they're superstars, they can now get a decent contract, that doesn't exploit them.


So, If you're buying their records, they actually get some, then, of course, they're rich anyway, so it's not crucial. So, really the musicians don't stand to lose anything, except for superstars, who are already rich, they don't stand to lose anything from peer-to-peer sharing.

Now. This does not mean that musicians don't get any benefit from their record contracts, because the publicity does have an effect, that more people go to their concerts, they have more concerts, and they make some money that way, and then at the concerts they can sell things including records, and they do make money from that, so they do benefit, but there's more than one way to give musicians publicity. In fact, this method of publicity is based on commercial planning, it's hype. It's the hype musical complex. And it distorts music, so I'd rather give musicians publicity in the way I do it, which is, by saying to people: hey, listen to that music, isn't that wonderful?..


How about e-mailing a copy of somebody's song to your friend, that's a great way to give musicians publicity, I'd rather see musicians get publicity this way. It not only means that we can get rid of this nasty record companies and have them stop them interfering with us enjoying the music, but it also healthier for music to have music publicity and popularity not be controlled by money.


So, a site /?/ from a superstar musicians will not be any worse if we will legalize the peer-to-peer sharing. But we might do a better job than the current system of supporting musicians. I would like to, and I have two proposals that have to do that.

[править] Taxes and cube root of popularity


One method uses tax. You tax blank discs, or internet connectivity, or whatever, something that vaguely relates to enjoying music and then you distribute that money entirely to the musicians, composers and song-writers, based on their popularity, but not in linear proportion. And the reason is this: a superstar could be a thousand times as popular as somebody else, as a successful musician, and fairly popular. If you distribute the money in linear proportion [shows it by hand as a straight line], a few superstars will take almost all the money, leaving very little for all the other musicians, which means the system will work very inefficiently at supporting the activity of music, so, what I propose is take the cube root of the popularity of each artist, or maybe the fourth root, well, you could adjust this, the point is you have a mathematical formula, and it looks like this [shows it by hand as a typical root curve], so if the superstar is a thousand times as popular, if we use the cube root, well, the superstar will get ten much as money. Instead of the thousand times. Well, this way a few superstars, although each on get more than the usual amount, it still ends up to a small fraction of the money, meaning most of the money can go to supporting lots of other musicians who are fairly popular but not superstars. And the result is a system that works efficiently to support the musicians who really need it. And still gives you to whatever extent such an incentive does any good, because it could do harm instead. /?/ External incentives can kill creativity, they can be quite harmful, but nonetheless, the superstars could still expect to get more, now, if you get more popular you do get more, but it's on a sliding scale, so a thousand times a popularity doesn't give you a thousand times as much money, only ten times as much, and the result is paying less than we do now to the copyright system, we can support musicians a lot better.

[править] Voluntary payments


But, some people don't like taxes. I don't mind taxes, I believe in a wealthier state and the wealthier state means to collect taxes. But, some people don't like taxes, so I have another approach to suggest. And that is voluntary payments. Imagine that every player has a button you can push, that would send one dollar to the artists, whether the e-book reader, or television set, or music box, whatever, push the button and send the dollar. Lots of people will do this, because.. first of all, the dollar is not that much money. Well, they are poor people in the world, they can't afford to send the dollar, and that's okay, they shouldn't. We don't need to squeeze money out of them to support the arts. They are plenty people in the world for whom one dollar is not that much, who can push the button and who wouldn't mind, they wouldn't notice the money, if the push it once a week, they won't mind. And they will do. And I expect we can convince a lot of people even to push it once a day. And if we are not satisfied with how much money people are sending to the musicians or whoever in this way, we can have a friendly, warm, loving publicity campaign: "Have you sent a dollar to the people who made this song or a movie this week? (or wrote a book?) If not -- why not? Didn't you enjoy it? Send them a little bit, it's so easy, you'll never miss the money." And this would be instead of these cruel, fictitious /?/ PR propaganda campaigns saying that sharing is theft.


Society is based on the spirit of good will, and the practice of sharing with and cooperating with other people in your community, to attack this is to attack society. Today's copyright law is an attack on society and it is intolerable. But once we get rid of it, we'll have a system that treats us ethically, and if we wish to increase our support for those who write, we have easy ways to do it.


So, at this point I will answer questions.

(Where is the box, is it here now? So I've got some... [to person X:] Did you get the box? [X: I've sent somebody to retrieve it] He obviously didn't return, there must be a monster in that office that ate him up or something like that. [laughter, X leaves the room]. So be careful, bring someone else with you! [light laughter] Splitting up is the recipe for getting eaten.)

[править] Questions


Anyway, questions.

[править] What countries are democratic?


[Q: What countries are democratic in your sense?]

I'm not sure that they are any [laughter, applause]. New Zealand seems better than most. Certainly not the US, Bush stole the election twice and Congress just sells laws to.. ([discovers some cloth in the box just brought:] uh-oh, what's this? [laughter] Ah.) And certainly not the European Union, which keeps on adopting laws more and more nasty for the sake of publishers. Certainly not Russia, I read that in the election for Parliament the vote counts are too round, apparently somebody chose what the vote counts would be and he picked round fractions like ten percent and twenty percent, I'm sure next time they would make that mistake. [laughter, applause] But you see, democracy doesn't just mean that people vote. It means that those who are especially powerful are not allowed to have political power in proportion to their own personal influence and wealth. If you let rich people deploy their influence to make people vote for what they want, that is not democracy.

[править] Becoming member of the Congress


[Q: Richard, Lawrence Lessig tried... well, not tried, but he thought about becoming member of the Congress..]

I don't know about that.

[the same listener: Yes. What do you think about becoming member of Congress?]

You mean for Lawrence Lessig?

[the same listener: Maybe for you.]

For Lawrence Lessig I think he's honest so I guess he would be better than most of the people in Congress now. As for me, I don't think people would vote for me. [laughter] For one thing: I'm an atheist. And in the US an atheist can't get elected docash /?/. A lot of people believe that atheists are evil. [light laughter] They believe that to be an atheist is to have no ethics. And then, well, I see plenty of people who claims to be religious and in the name of their religion they do horrible things. Bush says that god told him to launch his war of conquest to Iraq [laughter, applause]. But then what would you expect from a god like that?

[править] RFID chips


[Q: So, Richard, (can I ask you a question) in the beginning of your conversation you touched theme of hardware. There is a sort of restriction of human rights, it's the RFID chips, so what's your opinion on this and will you start a company like "Stop DRM" (apparently listener mispronounced 'company' for 'campaign', which has lead to a confusion. --Pavel)]

I don't mind starting a companies, I don't mind what I will do with one, I'm so busy doing what I'm already doing, I don't see I can start anything new. But I am worried about RFIDs, well, there are some uses for RFIDs that I think are okay, when a shipment from the manufacturer to a store has an RFID on it for the sake of making sure that things don't get stolen, I see no harm in that.


It's when they start putting RFIDs into the things we carry, then it becomes dangerous. Now, I have a card that I've used to pay for subway in Boston, and it has an RFID in it, the only reason I had it is because they give you discount if you use that. But I've made sure they don't know who has it and I always kept it an aluminium foil except when I actually go into the subway and then I put it right back in, so it can't be tracked anywhere else, and third, after every couple of months I get a new one and I give away the old one to somebody else and so by trying to get people going swapping them around so that they are not good for surveillance. We have to resist these things. RFIDs in passports, are very... a nasty and stupid idea. And I worry also about RFIDs in credit cards, I don't know, it's sometimes hard to tell.


[the same listener: Implantation to...?]

Well, that's obviously nasty, but it doesn't have to go that far to be nasty. For instance, in the US a lot of people have an RFID in their cars and they use this to pay toll on the highways and bridges, and of course, this means that system keeps track of everywhere they go. So, people shouldn't use that. Well, those systems could be built a way that is anonymous way, you can make anonymous payment system, the technology is not the hard part, but our government wants to spy on people and has no respect for human rights.


[Q: Usually they mention terrorists...]

Oh, yes, they always say they are protecting us from terrorists unless they say they're protecting us from child pornographers they are some kind of deem /?/ that they are protecting us from, but that's absurd because the big danger is them. [laughter]

[править] The era of "software as a service"


[Q: How do you see a future of free software in the era of "software as a service"?]

Well, I don't like that term, "software as a service", I think it's misleading and I do not use it. It's a confusing way to refer to two different practices, which we need to distinguish. One of them is sites that send a program to you browser to run on your machine. What I think, if I'm going to run that program, I want to get in in the usual way, I want to have it installed on my machine, and I want it to be free software,and I want to be able to change my copy of it. So I consider those things totally unacceptable. But the other thing, that this confused with, is using a server to do computation. And that may be okay or may be unacceptable depending on details of what the computation is.


Is it your computation that you do on your data or it is some other kind of thing? Well, on most sites are some other kind of thing. Let's suppose it's a search engine. Well, that's looking thought the company's data. You say: please look through your data for me. Okay. It's not your data, it's their data. Or suppose you're buying something, then you make a deal with the owner of the site. That's not doing your computation with your data, it's not something you can do on your own computer.

On the other hand, look at Google Docs, basically, it's a spreadsheet and a word processor, and it's sends a large program to run in your browser and that's not good because that program is not free. But okay, suppose they make that program free, it'll still be a problem, and that is you are using their server to do your computing with your data. And you should have control of that. But if you do it on somebody else's server you don't have control. And note that it doesn't matter whether the software on the server is free. Suppose... You know, a lot of software running on that server is free software, and the rest is is probably custom software, Google is the only user, only Google has it, Google will never release it in any fashion, I would expect. Well, that's okay as far as it goes, but the point is you don't control what it does on their server. But suppose that they release all the source code for that custom software. You sill wouldn't control what it does on their server, it will all be free software, but if you run in on their server, you don't control them. If were free software, you could install it on your computer and then you would control. So the point is for doing you own computing on your data, if you want to have control, you have to do it on your computer with your copy of the program, and it has to be free software. So, some kinds of web servers are okay, some cause a problem. This is a different kind of issue, its structure is different, from the issue of free versus proprietary software, we have to think about it differently.

[править] Standartization committees


[Q: What is your opinion about activity of various standardization committees, especially those which pretend to regulate programming languages?]

Well, standards are useful, it is a way of achieving compatibility, for instance it's useful that there is a C standard, and that C compilers will interpret a lot of things the same way.

[the same listener: But maybe... my question is about different thing. What about the case when they actually change languages, like C99?]

It's useful, you know, people came up with ways to improve C, some of the changes in C99 came from me [laughter, applause], I implemented extensions in GCC and some of them people liked and then they were put in the C spec.. Great!

[править] Licenses for scientific articles


[Q: What do you think about licenses for scientific jobs, for example articles, what exact types of license for example....]

Well, first of all, scientific articles, papers are in second category, they're works of testimony.

[the same listener: And what exact type of licenses...]

Okay, let me answer please, let me answer, I'm trying to answer you, okay? [light laughter] So, I believe we should all have the freedom to at least the freedom to non-commercially redistribute the exact copies of them. So, that's what I recommend, release them under the license that permits that. Now, you could permit commercial exact copying too, that, you know, there is no reason not, if you want to. So, for instance, there are two Creative Commons licenses that would do this, and there is no-derivs-no-commercial license and there is no-derivs license, and I think they both are fine.

Now, the journal publishers try to prevent this. So right now science is faced with the obstruction of the publishers of scientific journals who are trying to interfere with the dissemination of scientific knowledge for the sake of their own profits. We have to defeat them, we have to perhaps get rid of them.

Now, they way I suggest for this is that universities should sign contracts with all their faculty and staff and students where the university reserves in advance the right of second publication on the university's website of the final version of any article that they publish, after it has been published by somebody else. So they have to look for publication in the same way they do now, and once that's done, the university can put a copy on its website under one of those CC licenses, and this way everything becomes available. The nice thing about this is that it doesn't matter, what the author signed with the journal publisher, because they can't take away the rights that the university already has. Of course, even better would be to simply put this into a law, or, for instance, funding agencies that fund research could make this a requirement, and one already has, I believe, it's called "The Welcome Trust" which funds biological research, or medical research, and they make it a requirement: if you get their fund, you have to agree to one way or another, I don't know exactly, but the theme is this, but one way or another they require the authors to publish their articles in a ways that are open to the public and allow redistribution. So, we're starting to do this, if enough funding sources do this, we will win the fight.

([somebody says through mic: Пожалуйста, берите микрофон, чтобы в запись попало.] What? [laughter] [I just get to make a microphone to them...] I don't understand..)

[править] Cooperating with occupation government


[Q: How do you understand, is it permittable for us cooperate with occupation government. I meant that a government are now neutral support of free software in some of bits /?/ aspects, but they do not agree with idea as it all.]

We should cooperate them when they propose to do something that advances our freedom.

[the same listener: But, if there is no absolute agreement, can we sacrifice anything?]

I don't understand, it's too general, I'm sorry, I don't know to think about such a general question.

[the same listener: Okay, for example, we propose some new amendments /?/ to the copyright law...]

Sorry, new what?

[the same listener: Amendments.] Okay. [the same listener: And we cannot get the whole thing, and the final effect of the copyright law, remains that.]

Well, if it is a step in the right direction, we can support it, but we have to be clear and say: "it's only part, it only corrects a part of the problem".

[the same listener: I see, thank you.]

So, we have to advocate what is needed to really solve the problem, but if we win only part of that it's still a victory, a partial victory.

[править] Ten years expiry for the GNU GPL


[Q: If copyright goes out of effect in ten years, then GNU GPL software will not be GNU GPL software in ten years?]

That's right, it would not be GPL in ten years anymore. Well, what I propose for works in the first category, functional practical works, that they should all be free.

(Did you want to ask a question? I want the guy who is standing against a wall in a brownish coat...)

[править] How many people will push buttons


[Q: Mr. Stallman, you said us about the way to support musicians and writers by pressing button and sending them money. But do you really believe that lots of people will push these buttons...]

Oh, sure, we know it, for instance, a few months ago Radiohead released record and said: pay as much as you like and they didn't say what have they got, but there are estimates that they got millions of dollars. And the same record was being distributed in the same time through BitTorrent, so I think it's now proved, that it's not only possible to support musicians this way, but that they can even get rich.

[another listener: I can actually add a more recent example, just two days ago Nine Inch Nails released their latest album under the Creative Commons Share-alike license.. ]

Wow! [light laughter]

[..and they published first nine tracks of that album of thirty six tracks at the website for free, that instantly got into the Pirate Bay torrent and then you can buy for five dollars all the tracks in the FLAC or MP3 format without DRM, or you can pay ten or seventy of three hundred dollars for different packages.]

Oh, good!

[Three hundred dollars package is already sold out. (RMS and some listeners laugh) That was 4500 packages]

What this shows: a lot of people like giving money to the musicians whose work they love. [laughter, applause]

You know, anybody who bought a three hundred dollar package, he was not trying to save money, he was expressing his love. And the thing is art can do that, art makes people.. arouses people's intense feelings. When people love works of art, they want to support the artists, and in the past it has been too hard. You know, there were many times when I would happily sent some money to some musicians, but how in the world would I do that? It was too much work. If I all I had to do is push a button, suppose I could send ten dollars by pushing this button ten times... Well, that's so easy! Of course, I would do it.

[Q: If they are not popular?]


Well, If they are not popular, they would not get so much money, obviously, but...

[the same listener: If they are unknown?]

But what happens to unknown musicians today? For the most part, they don't get anything! Now. For the most part, unknown musicians are totally exploited by their record companies and they don't get any money if you buy their CDs, so when people who think that we would lose something important if we get rid of the present system, of even partly get rid of the present system, which is what I'm proposing, after all, they're taking for granted something that isn't true. The publishers, they always say: "we are doing this to support the musicians", it's easy to make a mistake of believing that the current system does support the artists. And the fact is that it almost always does not. They are rare exceptions, they are not zero, but they are rare, who make it big and get rich, and then they are all the others, who have some success, but the current system doesn't support them. You know, it supports the superstars.

[the same listener: Oh, I can see.]

[править] Existing licenses for scientific works


[Q: Which of existing licenses do you mean as the best approximation to your second case...]

Second case?...

[second case, scientific and other testimony...]

Oh, what I have said, there is Creative Commons, that is CC-no-derivs-no-commercial license...

[the same listener: Aha.]

...that permits non-commercial redistribution of exact copies, and it is least permissive Creative Commons license, and its okay for these works but, of course, if you choose to permit more, that's okay too. So, any Creative Commons license is okay for these two categories [points by hand to second and third category as he had drawn them in the air around himself previously]

[the same listener: Are you sure that these licenses are appropriate now to use it to publish student and scientific works of some university?]

Yes. [A silent pause. Laughter, applause]

I usually permit commercial redistribution as well, when I publish something, my essays, they permit distribution of exact copies and they don't limit this to non-commercial.

[править] Promoting free software to business


[Q: What ways do you see in promoting the free software to business? Because, it's also... it's rather.. it gets population /?/...]

I'm not an expert on that, I don't focus on business, I focus on teaching people about the human rights that they should have as software users, you see, part of the reason that business has so much power is that many people focus on... many people fond /fan? phone?/ on business, they say: Oh, how can I convince the business to do this, to accept this idea, but if you focus on convincing business that means you're accepting the values of business. Well, I don't accept those values and that's my most important point. So, I don't want to give these speeches as if I was talking to business. My main point is about the rest of life, about the values that business ignores.

[the same listener: But not every business is evil?]

I don't say they're all evil, what I'm saying is that I don't want to... You see, business is one narrow area of life. If you focus on business, in effect you strengthen that narrow area of life as if it were everything and ignoring everything outside that, and that is harmful. So, I'm not saying businesses should never exist, I'm not a communist, [laughter, growing applause] but I do say, that what I care about is our values.

[править] Implementing the button, online payments


[Q: You've got the musicians. How do you practically see, how could it be done, that button implemented?]

I'm not an expert, but I know that technology exists, the technology for instance, for digital cash has been developed, it's not a technical problem, it's the social problem, how would you get this to put it to effect, that's our problem, but designing the algorithms is not the problem. I'm not an expert in this area, I just know that the methods exist.

[the same listener: I meant to say that some people /...?/ seeing danger in online money transfers just the same as in RFID, it is being used just too much.]

Sorry, see danger in what?

[the same listener: in online payments. Tracking and so on...]

Online payments. Well, I see danger in it too, because right now e-commerce requires a credit card, it's not anonymous, so I don't do it. I don't buy things with credit card, I buy things with cash, in a store, a physical store, because I don't want to be recorded for where I was, what I bought, I see that that is dangerous, I agree, well, maybe we agree, if you are saying the same thing, then we agree.

[the same listener: Yep. That was just concern.. my concern, and practicatorent.. /?/]

I have to leave, I have to stop in two minutes. I have to get out of your... [RMS peers at previously mentioned mountain. laughter] by eight.

[points to another person who wants to ask]


[Q: What whould you say to such and example /?/. If I buy table I don't have to give the manufacturer any information about me, if I buy copyrighted software, I should give give a lot of information..]

Well, actually, that's not necessarily true. You might be able to go to a store and buy a copy, and probably you can buy a copy like a book in a store and you can pay cash and they will not know who you are. But I agree, anonymity is important right and in general, non-free software tramples your rights in a lot of ways, that's what I say: don't use non-free software, protect your freedom.

[the same listener: Thank you]

[править] Private software, military technologies


[Q: All software should be free, but do you understand that always will be some fields where software can't be free, such as military technologies?]

Well, that's different. You see, software for military use is not available to the public at all. That's different from proprietary software. Microsoft doesn't say: "You can't have Windows, it's a secret", they say: "Sure, you can have it, but you don't control it, we control you." [laughter] I'm not against private software, that you develop and use, your company might use it internally, and not release it to the public, that I don't criticize. What I do criticize is when they offer it to you but in a way that tramples your freedom. [Applause]


(So, now I will end the question period. I should point that there are stickers here, please take the stickers, and I'm sure that some of you will be able to make use of that, if these are /uneral?/, please take it to one organization or another will be able to take these, so...)

Richard Stallman

Лекции, прочитанные в рамках приезда в Моску в марте 2008 года
Free software: ethics and practice | Copyright vs Community in the Age of Computer Networks

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