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Stallman On the UK Digital Economy Bill

CmdrTaco posted more than 4 years ago | from the no-bits-for-you dept.

The Internet 228

superapecommando submitted a blog entry written by Stallman about the UK's bandwidth initiatives. RMS says "When I read about Gordon Brown's plan to give the UK more broadband, I couldn't restrain my laughter. Isn't this the same clown now busy circumventing democracy to take away broadband from Britons who already have it? And what good would broadband do them if they're punished for using it (or even being suspected of using it)? Laying cables would be a waste of resources if people are not allowed to use them. Brown did suggest another possible use for broadband. He said that it would enable MPs to better communicate with their constituents and keep track of what they want."

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228 comments

I'll tell you what the reason is (4, Interesting)

RMH101 (636144) | more than 4 years ago | (#31746956)

...it's so Peter Mandelson can hand a nice, fat-profit-inducing mess over to Murdoch and the big media companies. Crack down on things they see as threatening their revenue stream, and give people a big fat pipe from which to slurp premium content. In return, maybe there'll be some favourable coverage in the media of Labour in the run up to the election on May 6th.

Re:I'll tell you what the reason is (2, Interesting)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#31747030)

Hm, and it might give a nice backbone for massive enlargement of street cameras network?

We need British broadband (2, Interesting)

Philip K Dickhead (906971) | more than 4 years ago | (#31747090)

To enable the surveillance telescreens promised us with such fanfare by Orwell in 1984. Cameras on the street really don't do the job.

Re:I'll tell you what the reason is (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31747054)

or maybe the security cameras need broadband. and the traffic sensors that read the rfid in your tires to track you. When they say it's to keep better track of the voters they're probably telling (part of) the truth.

Re:I'll tell you what the reason is (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31747188)

Labour already have Murdoch sweet press after Blair went down under to use his Bilderberg Group network to have Murdoch change from Tory mouthpieces to lefty mouthpieces. It worked very well. Even rightwing trash rags like the Sun switched overnight, taking their gutter-press readers along with them, and 3 million voters changed "sides".

Re:I'll tell you what the reason is (2, Interesting)

FuckingNickName (1362625) | more than 4 years ago | (#31747436)

Have you ever thought that the "gutter" press simply act as an echo chamber for what their readers are thinking, and that the greatest con is performed by Murdoch on corrupt politicians, who grant him favours for essentially doing nothing at all?

Re:I'll tell you what the reason is (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31747804)

No.

Re:I'll tell you what the reason is (3, Interesting)

FuckingNickName (1362625) | more than 4 years ago | (#31747832)

Then your problem, like Chomsky's, may be that you assume that everyone is stupid and easily influenced except you. Could you be wrong about this?

Re:I'll tell you what the reason is (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31747834)

Yes, I've thought about it and rejected it as unlikely. These people are far too professional to not know better. You're choosing the easy explanation.

Re:I'll tell you what the reason is (3, Insightful)

speculatrix (678524) | more than 4 years ago | (#31747366)

when politicians quit or get thrown out, they like to sign up a few well-paid directorships, so "oiling a few door hinges" beforehand pays dividends in the long run when they come to knock on those doors.

Re:I'll tell you what the reason is (1)

AGMW (594303) | more than 4 years ago | (#31747680)

... "oiling a few door hinges" ...

Well if there's any oiling to be done then Lord Mandlemort/Voldeson is the man for the job!

Re:I'll tell you what the reason is (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31747484)

In return, maybe there'll be some favourable coverage in the media of Labour in the run up to the election on May 6th.

It's not working, Peter.

who cares what he thinks? (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31746966)

Does anyone give a fuck what some dumbass hippy who has some cushy university job and doesn't understand business thinks?

That dumb prick should grow up, shave and geta fucking job like the rest of us. Including those who work to produce content that dumbass hippy thinks should be free.

Get a clue stallman.

Extra, Extra, Stallman's Unhappy! (1, Insightful)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 4 years ago | (#31746970)

Richard Stallman will always find something to complain about if something even hints at the possibility of not completely adhering to his myopic point of views and mentality. This isn't news, it's in my horoscope every day.

Re:Extra, Extra, Stallman's Unhappy! (2, Insightful)

middlemen (765373) | more than 4 years ago | (#31746984)

Richard Stallman will always find something to complain about if something even hints at the possibility of not completely adhering to his myopic point of views and mentality. This isn't news, it's in my horoscope every day.

Look who's talking!

Re:Extra, Extra, Stallman's Unhappy! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31747130)

I actually stopped reading when RMS started calling people clowns and saying that they aren't going to allow people to use their broadband. Name calling? Really? Then following it by saying they won't let people use the broadband while forgetting that they just mean people who violate copyright and get caught several times? Stuff this well balanced belongs on Faux News. Sorry RMS, I didn't finish reading the article because you write like a clown. (couldn't resist...)

Re:Extra, Extra, Stallman's Unhappy! (3, Insightful)

digitig (1056110) | more than 4 years ago | (#31747476)

I actually stopped reading when RMS started calling people clowns and saying that they aren't going to allow people to use their broadband. Name calling? Really? Then following it by saying they won't let people use the broadband while forgetting that they just mean people suspected of violating copyright and get accused several times? Stuff this well balanced belongs on Faux News. Sorry RMS, I didn't finish reading the article because you write like a clown. (couldn't resist...)

Fixed that for ya.

Re:Extra, Extra, Stallman's Unhappy! (1)

kestasjk (933987) | more than 4 years ago | (#31747186)

How is this offtopic?

Better communicate?! (1)

qmaqdk (522323) | more than 4 years ago | (#31747010)

He said that it would enable MPs to better communicate with their constituents and keep track of what they want.

So, how fat a pipe do you need for that? 100 Mb/s? 1 Gb/s?

Re:Better communicate?! (2, Funny)

Thanshin (1188877) | more than 4 years ago | (#31747052)

He said that it would enable MPs to better communicate with their constituents and keep track of what they want.

So, how fat a pipe do you need for that? 100 Mb/s? 1 Gb/s?

The answer to your question is complex and arduous to obtain, as it depends on many factors.

The main variable, would clearly be whether, during the communication itself, the constituents would be female and naked.

Re:Better communicate?! (4, Insightful)

brindleboar (1154019) | more than 4 years ago | (#31747064)

For anything that politicians will actually pay attention to, I should think that a 56Kb dialup would be sufficient.

Re:Better communicate?! (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#31747516)

That's awfully small for millions of cameras across the country.

Re:Better communicate?! (1)

Draek (916851) | more than 4 years ago | (#31747336)

.50 cal?

Re:Better communicate?! (1)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 4 years ago | (#31747470)

Depends... how fat a pipe do you need to upload a pitchfork or a torch ?

Re:Better communicate?! (1)

digitig (1056110) | more than 4 years ago | (#31747494)

He said that it would enable MPs to better communicate with their constituents and keep track of what they want.

So, how fat a pipe do you need for that? 100 Mb/s? 1 Gb/s?

The internet would be no use. You need a gas pipe.

Write to your MP on the Bill (5, Informative)

mdwh2 (535323) | more than 4 years ago | (#31747014)

If you're in the UK, 38 degrees have made it easy to write to your MP [38degrees.org.uk] about this bill.

Over 20,000 people have already done so [bbc.co.uk] .

Uk is not democratic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31747426)

You make the assumption that the politicians will do anything about it. I wrote to my MP a couple of years ago about something related to copyright law, and was basically told "our party takes the opposite view from you".
So much for democracy.

Re:Write to your MP on the Bill (3, Funny)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 4 years ago | (#31747968)

I don't know who 38 degrees are, but MySociety have already received government funding to make it easy to write to all of your elected representatives [writetothem.com] . So far, my MP has failed the Turing Test three times. I am tempted to run a 20-line Prolog program against him at the next election.

Don't compare (1)

AbbeyRoad (198852) | more than 4 years ago | (#31747020)

Don't compare the 0.01 % of clowns that "do nothing but download garbage all day because they are too lazy to walk down the block to the DVD rental" with the 99.99 percent of normal people that use their Internet connection in a moderate and intellegent way.

Re:Don't compare (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 4 years ago | (#31747218)

Yeah I hate those lazy bastards that can't even be bothered to grow their own wheat and make their own bread, they're always taking the lazy way out. And don't even get me started on pre-sliced bread.

I'm really hoping that you were being sarcastic, but it's hard to tell. This isn't about laziness, it's about convenience and efficiency.

Re:Don't compare (0, Troll)

AbbeyRoad (198852) | more than 4 years ago | (#31747726)

no, I'm not being sarcastic

      "This isn't about laziness, it's about convenience and efficiency"

Yeah right! If it is so convenient, then why does only the most minute
fraction of the population (all with the exact same set of personality
characteristics) use it?

Bottom line is - there is a more-or-less one-to-one correlation between
the sets of people who:

    1. outright violate copyright on a grand scale.

    2. are poor earners, social misfits, highly-vocal-complainers-about-
          the-woe-of-the-planets-intellectual-property-legislation, and complain
          endlessly about the-rights-of-poor-me-being-afringed-by-the-evil-gods-
          of-BigCorp, and ALSO feel real pain whenever they pay for a DVD.

Now why on earth would someone feel pain paying for a DVD?

And why on earth would this someone also want to use the jurisprudance
arguments of "rights" and "freedom" to enable him to not have to pay.

Gee I wonder.

-paul

Re:Don't compare (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 4 years ago | (#31748000)

Yeah right! If it is so convenient, then why does only the most minute
fraction of the population (all with the exact same set of personality
characteristics) use it?

1) There's not many legal ways to download movies
2) Most people don't have fast enough connection yet, but they obviously will pretty soon, unless we have World War III.

I did download a couple of movies and received lots of music sent from my friends when I was a student. I buy all my stuff these days, and have even deleted basically all the stuff I was sent and acquired it legally.

I hate having to rip CDs and waste storage space on them. It's pointless. In the same vein I'd be happy to have all my movies on a media server, but I really cba ripping them all right now, and don't even have the tech to rip my blu-rays yet (nor do I want to waste money on a blu-ray drive just for ripping them when I already have a blu-ray player). I pay a flat fee each month to watch as many movies at the cinema as I wish - I'd be very happy to do the same thing with a streaming service for movies. Not everyone who wants convenience is a pirate.

Re:Don't compare (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31747248)

99.99%? In a moderate and intelligent way? Sorry to burst your bubble, but we're not in August 1993 anymore.

Re:Don't compare (1)

mjwalshe (1680392) | more than 4 years ago | (#31747854)

But its always the "loonies" tm Max Mosley who mess it up for the rest of us - its the tragedy of the commons again. The trouble is 99% of Politicians don’t get computers and the other 1% consider them selves an expert because they know where the on switch is for their home PC.

The trouble is that the business case for the average user to have more bandwidth than the average ADSL line just doesn’t exist and what would the average user do with 100Mbs - Those who do need higher bandwidth are actually professionals who should really be paying for their bandwidth and not whining that pensioners and the state should be paying a levy to speed up their BB connections. You cant run a countries telecoms infrastructure for a few edge cases.

BTW BT 20 years ago suggested a fibre to the cab roll out to the then Tory government – but the “free market” zealots wouldn’t let BT have a decent payback for the vast sums they would have invested.

Right things, not always right reasons. (2, Interesting)

headkase (533448) | more than 4 years ago | (#31747038)

Stallman does the right things but the way he relates his thoughts don't really map well onto others. He is too rigid when it comes to Free software, ideally all software should be Free but until the transition is over - say another 20 years - then some mixing is pragmatic for the now to enable functionality: like binary blobs in the Linux kernel. I like a lot of what Stallman has to say but I always translate it into less dogmatic terms and take the hard edges off. Free is the ideal Open is the pragmatic, he kicked off Free and that led to Open and Open is not as dogmatic as Free - things evolve. Open also markets better.

Re:Right things, not always right reasons. (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 4 years ago | (#31747214)

Well put. Everytime RMS talks and rants he seems like he is playing for the people who will give him donations. Just like right wing religious makes some hard line sayings... Not to convince the general public but to keep their hard liners who will pay them the most money. RMS had some good ideas but he is now just hunting for more and new rants to fight after. If a Rant didn't help with donations he will go onto the next one.

Re:Right things, not always right reasons. (5, Insightful)

slim (1652) | more than 4 years ago | (#31747228)

When I was brought up in Wales in the 1980s, I felt that Cymdeithas yr Iaith (the Welsh Language Society) were making unreasonable demands in their campaigning. And I still do to an extent.

But, in the 1960s and earlier, the right for Welsh people to speak and learn in their mother tongue was a serious civil rights issue. By the 1980s things had improved greatly, largely thanks to the activities of Cymdeithas yr Iaith.

I think that by continuing to maintain pressure, perhaps for demands that are a step too far, they prevent the pendulum from swinging back to where it was in the 60s.

I think the same goes for Stallman. Many people benefit from Free Software. Many people would be satisfied for a less pure Free Software world than Stallman demands. But without Stallman's purist stance, the average would shift to a less free position. I wouldn't want that.

Re:Right things, not always right reasons. (2, Insightful)

headkase (533448) | more than 4 years ago | (#31747296)

Very good point. I'd like to also mix in that Open as a model is firmly on its feet now. It would take an act of law saying it is illegal to share your effort with your neighbor to stop it. Stallman was and is needed as you say: today he has more voices harmonizing with his message in different flavors. He's succeeded, they can't all be silenced now.

Re:Right things, not always right reasons. (1, Insightful)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 4 years ago | (#31747374)

The problem is, Stallman isn't talking here about sharing *your* effort, hes talking about sharing *other peoples* effort, regardless of their wishes.

Re:Right things, not always right reasons. (2, Insightful)

headkase (533448) | more than 4 years ago | (#31747438)

And perhaps he's right: maybe we should be basing our economies off of real things instead of building a house of cards to come crashing down at some future date. "Intellectual Property" could be just another bubble when China decides to collect on its trade surplus in real things.

Re:Right things, not always right reasons. (2, Insightful)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 4 years ago | (#31747532)

So my time is worthless if its spent creating something on a computer or with a microphone, as opposed to a hammer?

Re:Right things, not always right reasons. (2, Interesting)

headkase (533448) | more than 4 years ago | (#31747602)

Only in relation to what others are doing. If everyone is cooperating in a communal manner then yes. Real goods on the other hand behave better with money because scarcity applies to them - that makes them must more resilient to being Free.

Re:Right things, not always right reasons. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31747606)

Pretty much, yes. Who are you to say any different?

Re:Right things, not always right reasons. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31747580)

No he isn't. He has nothing against proprietary systems when they're used in-house, he's against that code being distributed without the receiver being able to study and change it. Any professional developer with real work experience is likely to have hit the situation where they're using something from a supplier that has issues or bugs, and it can't be fixed locally, and the supplier, despite having a commercial support license, won't fit it or will only give you a work-around. Even the might IBM does this. Now factor in smaller suppliers that collapse, you now have dead software in your company that cannot be updated. Sometimes a small system can be replaced, but when the package costs a few hundred grand and has business rules rules linked to parliamentary legislature, you get into very unpleasant situations. You need to think beyond the toy PC applications, and consider what happens in small businesses that are at the mercy of suppliers.

Re:Right things, not always right reasons. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31747640)

Great analogy, because the "right" to have Welsh spoken in Welsh schools was always an emotive non-issue which only seriously affected the *very* small minority of Welsh people who don't (as opposed to won't) speak any English.

Just as the right to pirate music is a non-issue affecting a somewhat larger class of people who don't want to pay for music, but only seriously affects those who literally cannot afford to (and hence don't even own an iPod).

This has nothing to do with Free Software. Stallman's movement relies completely on copyright being observed. Yet here he is condoning piracy ("sharing is good"). Well if "sharing is good", why can't I use GPL code in my closed-source project? Stallman only wants to "share" on his own terms - same as everyone else.

The man is a charlatan and a hypocrit.

Post Scarcity (2, Insightful)

headkase (533448) | more than 4 years ago | (#31747758)

I disagree. I believe he happened to hook onto what Information technology allows: the eradication of scarcity. Free and Open software is only possible because of information networks that make the cost of its distribution trivial. Open Source and the "Stone-Soup" parable it encapsulates is something to be studied and lessons drawn from for the inevitable period when we turn all our manufacturing over to machines and the scarcity of human labor no longer applies. What are we going to do then? I would hope that post-scarcity lessons from information networks translate well over to post-scarcity in goods and services. Otherwise we're in for a rocky ride, well that probably anyway.

How does pragmatism get to the endpoint? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31747252)

How does pragmatism get to the endpoint? If you pragmatically go with mixing, then there's no need from those who want propriatory to go any further. So how do you get to the state you SAY (not believe) you want: all software should be Free?

Re:How does pragmatism get to the endpoint? (1)

headkase (533448) | more than 4 years ago | (#31747396)

I think it boils down to network effects. As more proprietary vendors open their code - especially in drivers - it will just make sense for others to do so as well feeding back on itself. I don't think closed software is ever going to go away but I do believe we will see an inversion where it becomes that most software is open and some is closed versus todays most closed and some open. For what is in use.

Re:Right things, not always right reasons. (0, Flamebait)

bmo (77928) | more than 4 years ago | (#31747894)

>pragmatic

No. RMS would not be RMS if he was pragmatic. He also wouldn't have created the GPL if he was pragmatic.

I used to be in the same camp as you, as a KDE user. I have seen the wisdom of his thinking now that KDE is now freer than GNOME and that GNOME has embraced Miguel's Trojan horse called mono.

Fuck pragmatism.

--
BMO

Re:Right things, not always right reasons. (2, Funny)

headkase (533448) | more than 4 years ago | (#31747944)

I'm Gnome so maybe I'm just not enlightened yet ;)

On Stallman (3, Insightful)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 4 years ago | (#31747040)

"Sharing is good" - I love how Stallman is once again so open with other peoples creations as well as his own. If you want to share, why not simply stick to sharing those things you are allowed to? But oh no, that's not good enough - the 'people' must be allowed to share *everything*.

My 1992 proposal for a special tax to be distributed to artists, with the money partly shifted from the most popular ones towards those not quite so successful, is still applicable.

Yup, I have just read that and its a pile of crap - the whole idea seems to be to reward those who are successful less and less, and reward those who are failing more. Why are those who are popular less deserving of those who are not? This isn't some politically correct playschool, where everyone holds hands to cross the line together at sports day rather than crown a sole winner - no, this is real life.

Now, I am against this Bill (and have written, faxed and phoned by MP - she will be calling for more discussion and consultation), but Stallman and his stance isn't the answer.

Re:On Stallman (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31747148)

(...) why not simply stick to sharing those things you are allowed to? But oh no, that's not good enough - the 'people' must be allowed to share *everything*.

(Sith) Lord Mandelson, is that you? Please enlighten us what we are allowed and not allowed to share! Ask mr. Geffen to fête you again if you're unsure.

Re:On Stallman (5, Insightful)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 4 years ago | (#31747240)

(...) why not simply stick to sharing those things you are allowed to? But oh no, that's not good enough - the 'people' must be allowed to share *everything*.

(Sith) Lord Mandelson, is that you? Please enlighten us what we are allowed and not allowed to share!

Its called copyright, and you are more than welcome to create something of your own and grant permission to others to distribute it - why this overwhelming sense of entitlement about needing to be able to distribute other peoples works against their will?

I see my other post is marked as a troll - interesting how dissenting viewpoints and opinions simply aren't allowed here any more.

The argument against copyright is a fair one - but it almost completely seems to orientate around other peoples copyrighted works, and being able to distribute those works freely. Its certainly has a sense of 'I want what they are selling, but I don't want to pay them what they are asking for it, they should take what I am willing to offer and nothing else, but in any case I should still be entitled to their work' and I don't like that one little bit.

Re:On Stallman (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31747382)

I have a much simpler argument: If a law is impossible or almost-impossible to enforce, there is something wrong with that law. You can't stop copying now without placing unacceptable restrictions on technology, so the only remaining option is to find a way to live with it.

Re:On Stallman (4, Insightful)

slim (1652) | more than 4 years ago | (#31747740)

I have a much simpler argument: If a law is impossible or almost-impossible to enforce, there is something wrong with that law.

So in a hypothetical past where forensics are worthless and it's easy to get someone alone and slit their throat without getting caught, that there should not be a law against murder?

I think a much stronger argument is that when a huge segment of the population performs some act routinely without any sense of guilt, that's evidence that society as a whole doesn't consider it wrong. In a secular society, what can define right and wrong, except the consensus of the people? If the consensus is that something is not wrong, why is there a law against it?

Re:On Stallman (2, Insightful)

redhog (15207) | more than 4 years ago | (#31747452)

By using the phrase "other peoples" you define the ownership, and any observations about people not respecting said ownership is therefor a tautology.

To apreciate the arguments of both sides, please consider a clean slate - that is, a world without any laws but the ones of physics.

Anything on top of that is a social construct, which might or might not be useful.

To examplify your fallacy: consider the opposite argument "Nothing is new under the sun, all creative work naturally includes inspiration and parts from previous works. Locking new works under a monopoly to reproduce is theft from the collective".

Now, I don't expect you to accept that argument, certainly not, but from a pure logical point of view it is as true as yours. They just happen to be incompatible. So, to derive any kind of objective truth in this matter, the source of the argument must come from outside the domains of these two statements.

Re:On Stallman (1)

Viol8 (599362) | more than 4 years ago | (#31747568)

"I see my other post is marked as a troll - interesting how dissenting viewpoints and opinions simply aren't allowed here any more."

You go against the left leaning teenage group-think at your peril.

Re:On Stallman (2, Insightful)

kestasjk (933987) | more than 4 years ago | (#31747294)

Welcome to slashdot, where if you disagree with the majority you are modded troll.

I've watched Stallman's talks and while he has some good thoughts he has some completely absurd ones, and his government allocation for artists idea is one of them.
He proposed giving artists an income according to the cube root of their popularity, so smaller artists are better supported and larger ones much less supported. Do people really think this is a realistic idea? How could it be implemented? If it's done by taxes how do you stop artists going overseas? Do people really want such strict government control on art of all things? How popular would you have to be to get the minimum artists income subsidized by the highest earners?

Can't we agree/disagree with ideas rather than agree/disagree with people? Just because he made some software you use and like is absolutely no reason to give his political views any more weight than someone ranting on a street corner.

Re:On Stallman (1, Insightful)

selven (1556643) | more than 4 years ago | (#31747304)

"Sharing is good" - I love how Stallman is once again so open with other peoples creations as well as his own. If you want to share, why not simply stick to sharing those things you are allowed to? But oh no, that's not good enough - the 'people' must be allowed to share *everything*

Stallman doesn't recognize the idea that other people's (digital) creations belong to their creators. They belong to the people.

Yup, I have just read that and its a pile of crap - the whole idea seems to be to reward those who are successful less and less, and reward those who are failing more. Why are those who are popular less deserving of those who are not?

So you would prefer the current system, where 0.1% of the artists are driving around in million dollar cars to their fifty million dollar mansions and getting one or two DUIs on the way while the other 99.9% are barely making a living and thus have to get a day job and only have 3-5 hours every day to actually be creating stuff? Less social inequality is good.

Re:On Stallman (1)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 4 years ago | (#31747448)

Yup, I have just read that and its a pile of crap - the whole idea seems to be to reward those who are successful less and less, and reward those who are failing more. Why are those who are popular less deserving of those who are not?

So you would prefer the current system, where 0.1% of the artists are driving around in million dollar cars to their fifty million dollar mansions and getting one or two DUIs on the way while the other 99.9% are barely making a living and thus have to get a day job and only have 3-5 hours every day to actually be creating stuff? Less social inequality is good.

How is that any different to any other profession? Why are artists entitled to unequal and enforced support from their industry, and welders or seamstresses are not? What makes an unsuccessful artist more worthy than an unsuccessful teacher?

Re:On Stallman (1)

slim (1652) | more than 4 years ago | (#31747802)

How is that any different to any other profession? Why are artists entitled to unequal and enforced support from their industry, and welders or seamstresses are not? What makes an unsuccessful artist more worthy than an unsuccessful teacher?

Just to add to the confusion, how do you define success?

A highly successful teacher (the children they teach grow up to be valuable members of society) might be poorly rewarded financially. A poor teacher might get a great salary (by gaming the system, for example).

An artist might be highly successful at what they set out to do. They might even by acclaimed by the critics, yet not earn very much in the marketplace.

It doesn't answer your question. But it adds nuance to it (and makes it harder to answer).

Re:On Stallman (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#31747778)

I do prefer something where artists have to earn their living comparably to the rest of population, yes. As was the case almost always and, as you noticed, is the case for vast majority of artists today.

That includes a system where ridiculous rewards and excesses of the few are restrained too, of course.

Re:On Stallman (0)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 4 years ago | (#31747558)

My 1992 proposal for a special tax to be distributed to artists, with the money partly shifted from the most popular ones towards those not quite so successful, is still applicable.

Yup, I have just read that and its a pile of crap - the whole idea seems to be to reward those who are successful less and less, and reward those who are failing more. Why are those who are popular less deserving of those who are not? This isn't some politically correct playschool, where everyone holds hands to cross the line together at sports day rather than crown a sole winner - no, this is real life.

I don't really know how I feel about this issue, but it is one of the most pressing that we face as a result of our technological prowess. As time passes, less and less work is needed from man, at least in the so-called first world. But as we are not being paid more and more for less and less work, and as the cost of living is actually rising at this time, people have to work more jobs with all the overhead that implies, leaving less time for creativity. If we value creativity in our society then it makes sense to spend some of our money (money, after all, being a sort of shorthand for time and effort) on producing additional creativity. As many artists are never appreciated until after their deaths, supporting unsuccessful artists is a sort of hedge fund of greatness; if you support enough of them, statistically you'll get some gems out of it.

I don't know who wrote this jam, but John F. Kennedy perhaps said it best at Amherst College on October 26, 1963:

If art is to nourish the roots of our culture, society must set the artist free to follow his vision wherever it takes him. We must never forget that art is not a form of propaganda; it is a form of truth. And as Mr. MacLeish once remarked of poets, there is nothing worse for our trade than to be in style. In free society art is not a weapon and it does not belong to the spheres of polemic and ideology. Artists are not engineers of the soul. It may be different elsewhere. But democratic society--in it, the highest duty of the writer, the composer, the artist is to remain true to himself and to let the chips fall where they may. In serving his vision of the truth, the artist best serves his nation. And the nation which disdains the mission of art invites the fate of Robert Frost's hired man, the fate of having "nothing to look backward to with pride, and nothing to look forward to with hope."

Stallman is a communist , this isn't news (1, Insightful)

Viol8 (599362) | more than 4 years ago | (#31747618)

"the whole idea seems to be to reward those who are successful less and less, and reward those who are failing more. "

One of the main tenets of communism is that everyone is equal no matter what their actual abilities. Unfortunately
denying reality didn't work for a lot of nations but you still get plenty of tax payer funded examples of this
species of thinker in the academic world where they're sheltered from the nasty facts of reality outside the thick
walls of their ivory towers.

(I'll get modded down for this by some standard issue right-on teenage group-thinker but c'est la vie)

Re:Stallman is a communist , this isn't news (1)

slim (1652) | more than 4 years ago | (#31747900)

I don't believe RMS is a communist.

His belief in free software is pragmatic. He wanted to hack a printer driver to make it email him when his job had printed. He was shocked when he was told that the source code wasn't his to mess with. His message is, don't buy software that doesn't come with source you can modify.

I do believe he undervalues programmers' skill, including his own. I don't think he realises how few people could create GCC, glibc etc. Partly, he gives it to the community because it came relatively easy to him. When programmers say "I should get big bucks for my creations", RMS, I believe, just doesn't consider their creation to be such an great achievement.

(Or perhaps he values programmers' skill correctly. There are a lot of programmers out there. We're not all irreplaceable.)

Re:Stallman is a communist , this isn't news (1)

Viol8 (599362) | more than 4 years ago | (#31748038)

"His belief in free software is pragmatic."

Theres a big difference between "I want a driver , I'll write one myself" to "software should be given away free no matter now much work went into it". If someone wants to spend time writing their own code and give it away thats their democratic choice. But they should NOT stand on some dubious moral high ground and dictate to everyone else that they should do the same.

Re:Stallman is a communist , this isn't news (2, Insightful)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#31747908)

And can you point out any place where some people actually honestly tried to implement communism on a national level? (as contrasted with small, informal communities or modern-day communes, which can and do work sensibly)

Look, "communism" was just a dream, a different kind of religion if you will, that some people tried to sold here and there at few point in time; without actually any intent of implementing it (apparently it was partially succesfull, seems you bought it). Similar to, say, "Land of Opportunity".

(btw, I take it you are againt socialist funding of highways (hence few industries getting unfair advantage), airports (again) or military?)

Re:Stallman is a communist , this isn't news (1)

Viol8 (599362) | more than 4 years ago | (#31748008)

"And can you point out any place where some people actually honestly tried to implement communism on a national level?"

Is this a trick question? The bolsheviks were true communists and they've been followed by Mao, kim Jong Il and various other tin pot african, asian and south/central american dictatorships.

"Look, "communism" was just a dream,"

It may just be a dream but some people want to make it a reality.

"I take it you are againt socialist funding of highways"

Why would I be? Taxation to fund necessary structures both real and social to keep society ticking along is as old as civilisation. Thats completely different to treating people as identical jelly mold robots.

ohh (1)

NEDHead (1651195) | more than 4 years ago | (#31747048)

"better communicate with their constituents and keep track of what they want." and what they are doing...

Re:ohh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31747376)

Next up, free webcam-equipped laptops.

Let RMS dogfood his economic model (0, Troll)

wombatmobile (623057) | more than 4 years ago | (#31747058)

Instead of a weekly paycheck, RMS should work for free and accept donations. There should be a button on every article he writes to donate a dollar to the author. In a couple of years, if RMS is convinced of the viability of his model, and his children have grown up healthy and strong, I'll give it a try too. Until then, I'm not convinced that RMS's world is anything more than an untested speculative fantasy.

Re:Let RMS dogfood his economic model (1)

shentino (1139071) | more than 4 years ago | (#31747286)

People should pay for stuff if they want it.

OTOH, DRM that denies you the freedom to make your own copies and keep them to yourself is out of line.

Especially when the RIAA says that you should just suck it up when the auth servers go down. That right there proves they don't give a shit about anything but their bottom line,a nd that they have no qualms about cheating...or extorting settlements out of people.

RMS dogfoods his economic model (1)

maroberts (15852) | more than 4 years ago | (#31747306)

Instead of a weekly paycheck, RMS should work for free and accept donations......

most of the stuff he has produced is available free, and if you want to donate, the Free Software Foundation will happily accept any donation you care to give. I presume his income from the Free Software Foundation, plus any other speaking engagements, ensures that he is not sleeping on your street corner. I also think the $240k he received in prize money in 2000, plus the $830k he received in 2001 help a little :-)

Re:Let RMS dogfood his economic model (5, Informative)

selven (1556643) | more than 4 years ago | (#31747356)

That's a pretty incorrect understanding of RMS's economic model. He never advocated a pure donation economy and has clarified multiple times that there is nothing wrong with making a profitable business around open source software. If you want to try relying on the viability of his model, go work for Red Hat for a few years.

Re:Let RMS dogfood his economic model (1)

wombatmobile (623057) | more than 4 years ago | (#31747810)

That's a pretty incorrect understanding of RMS's economic model.

Did you RTFA? In it, Stallman says:

My 1992 proposal for a special tax to be distributed to artists, with the money partly shifted from the most popular ones towards those not quite so successful, is still applicable. Meanwhile, many artists support themselves already with voluntary payments by their fans. If we make it easier to send these payments, with a send-one-dollar or send-one-pound button on every player, this method would work even better.

Re:Let RMS dogfood his economic model (1)

Omnifarious (11933) | more than 4 years ago | (#31747360)

Well, I believe he has done this, and it's worked for him. Oops.

Re:Let RMS dogfood his economic model (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31747738)

So, MIT doesn't pay him?

Re:Let RMS dogfood his economic model (1)

maroberts (15852) | more than 4 years ago | (#31747882)

No, it doesn't. AFAIK, he quit MIT in 1984, so you're a bit out of date.

I don't need broadband to tell my MP what I want (3, Funny)

obnoxio (160712) | more than 4 years ago | (#31747078)

"He said that it would enable MPs to better communicate with their constituents and keep track of what they want."

I want them all to fuck off and die.

Painfully, if possible.

Keep track? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31747082)

"He [Brown] said that it would enable MPs to better communicate with their constituents and keep track of what they want."

Oh, wait. I get it. Two-way TV in every home like in '1984'?

Re:Keep track? (1)

headkase (533448) | more than 4 years ago | (#31747166)

With the British Panopticon [wikipedia.org] experiment of CCTV everywhere... Well... Not so far fetched as I would have thought 10 years ago.

Competition and Access (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31747120)

This topic is just another pro-Conservative Party whine. The Digital Economy bill is very good in a lot of ways but would certainly benefit from being balanced with reform of competition law and increased access. At the time of writing Labour have proposed that Trading Standards look into reforming competition law, and Labour is aiming for universal access to broadband. In contrast, the Conservative party only this week opposed a bill to combat corporate corruption and will give a free ride to ISP's by allowing them to cherry pick investment which only favours the slice of the population living in high density urban areas. Conservative opposition to a growth led recovery and forcing victims of the recession onto workfare will rip what internet access and work opportunities people do have.

Re:Competition and Access (1)

Spad (470073) | more than 4 years ago | (#31747776)

Great straw man there, but the Conservatives *support* the punishment measures of the digital economy bill; of the "big 3", so far only the Liberal Democrats have come out against the bill.

Like A Pervert in a Candy Store (2, Insightful)

b4upoo (166390) | more than 4 years ago | (#31747178)

Governmental types simply can not stand the idea of free and open communications. I have always maintained that there would be a point where all governments would seek to stifle the net. I am not an anarchist but I do believe that even when one is lucky enough to have a good government that that same government will seek to expand and control more territory as well as to have more and more control over all people within its domain.
                    If I were to predict a tipping point where the iron hand becomes really visible it would be when we have easy, ultra secure, encryption. At that point the assumption will be that every communication just might be terrorist or treasonous in nature.

Re: Like A Pervert in a Candy Store (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31747780)

Don't get fooled into thinking the underlying goal with this (or any expansion of government) is control. Control is only a stepping stone to what government really wants: more money. How do I know that government's ultimate goal is profit, like any other business? Because year after year, government costs more, spends more, and borrows more. The natural trend of government is to expand in both revenue and power over the people -- over the entire lifetime of the government -- and a quick reality check tells me this isn't because "the people" asked for it.

So let's call a spade a spade: The reason government expands is because the bigger government gets, the more lucrative government is for the people who make their fortunes in the business of government.

Of course (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 4 years ago | (#31747182)

It can also be used to add LOTS more monitoring. With narrow pipes, it is easy for all to see the monitoring. With fat pipes, it will be become difficult for the regular ppl to know.

I laugh too (1)

petes_PoV (912422) | more than 4 years ago | (#31747298)

when I hear Stallman wittering on about politics in a country he has no clue about

Re:I laugh too (1)

redhog (15207) | more than 4 years ago | (#31747742)

Sorry, but he seems to have this time.

He generally seems to have a clue about random stuff. Like he has actually read, and commented on, the political platform of the Swedish political party Piratpartiet. I have, as a direct concequence of his comments, made a motion about sourcecode escrow for our annual meeting this month.

American vs English (1)

jandersen (462034) | more than 4 years ago | (#31747344)

Isn't this the same clown now busy circumventing democracy to take away broadband from Britons who already have it? And what good would broadband do them if they're punished for using it (or even being suspected of using it?

Ah, I see what the problem is; the right honourable mr Stallman is American and therefore speaks about politics the American way. This is what I believe he meant to say:

"Mr Speaker, does the Prime Minister really think that ..." and so on ...

Apart from that - it is all very well to bash Gordon Brown; the problem is that there are no real alternatives - the Tories are going to do exactly the same, the LibDems sound very nice and sensible but won't come anywhere near government, and most of the rest are the likes of BNP and UKIP, who to be honest tend to crumble if exposed to sunlight; that leaves Plaid Cymru, I suppose, or Sinn Fein. But which one to choose, that's the question, always.

Re:American vs English (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31747614)

the problem is that there are no real alternatives [...] the LibDems sound very nice and sensible but won't come anywhere near government

Unless we hang the parliament. That should give time to build up enough public opposition to the bill that one of the other parties will jump on the bandwagon with the Lib Dems and block it. This strategy worked well with ID cards, which were initially popular with the British public but are now opposed by the Tories as well as the Lib Dems.

Re:American vs English (1)

Spad (470073) | more than 4 years ago | (#31747806)

I'm not convinced that they were ever popular with the public, there were just a lot of government-comissioned polls asking questions like "Do you want terrorists, paedophiles and rapists to be allowed to live in your neighbourhood or do you support ID cards?" that were used to *claim* widespread public support.

Why the linkage? Access !=censorship (1)

Bearhouse (1034238) | more than 4 years ago | (#31747348)

Give me access to broadband, and then I'll worry about censorship, packet-sniffing/filtering and denial of service for abusive torrenting.
Granted, there are very worrying trends worldwide about monitoring and controlling people's internet access, and the UK Gov. has a poor record on respect for human rights.
But if I cannot even get onto the damn internet, then the point is moot.

UK (1)

mfh (56) | more than 4 years ago | (#31747378)

It was reported today that the United Kingdom will now be referred to as the Yuletide United Kingdom, or YUK for short.

Tiscali blocking emails linking TFA (2, Interesting)

ikoleverhate (607286) | more than 4 years ago | (#31747418)

So I sent a link to article to my mum and girlfriend, both of who are with the ISP Tiscali. It came back with "Unnacceptable Mail Content". Tinfoil hat engaged, I sent a few more variations to see exactly what they're blocking. As far as I can tell, it's any link to a guardian.co.uk url. Interesting, given there's an election coming up... Try it for yourself if you know anyone on tiscali - send a mail with a guardian.co.uk URL in the body.

Re:Tiscali blocking emails linking TFA (1)

Spad (470073) | more than 4 years ago | (#31747830)

Re:Tiscali blocking emails linking TFA (1)

ikoleverhate (607286) | more than 4 years ago | (#31748004)

aha, thanks!

Re:Tiscali blocking emails linking TFA (1)

sa1lnr (669048) | more than 4 years ago | (#31748058)

And wouldn't be "Talk Talk" (Carphone Warehouse) that are actually blocking them?

e4? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31747648)

To predict *BSD's a relatively Guys are usually rivalry. While is ingesting survival prospects 0n baby...3on't ultimately, we standpoint, I don't

How this will be translated (1)

houghi (78078) | more than 4 years ago | (#31747748)

The way this will be seen and abused by others will be a bit like the following:
Stallman is somebody who is for Open Source. Stallman also said that downloads are mainly illegal. Ergo: Open Source is illegal.

And this means that not only must the governement outlaw Open Source. Also there must be greater punishment to the people who do this and give the money to those who are affected.

So in the end everybody will be happy. Well, at least the music companies. As a middle way, why not tax the extra broadband directly and give that money to the music and movie industry who still are recovering from VHS and cassettes.

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