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Stallman Crashes Talk, Fights 'War On Sharing'

kdawson posted more than 3 years ago | from the no-problem dept.

Australia 309

schliz writes "Free software activist Richard Stallman has called for the end of the 'war on sharing' at the World Computer Congress in Brisbane, Australia. He criticized surveillance, censorship, restrictive data formats, and software-as-a-service in a keynote presentation, and asserted that digital society had to be 'free' in order to be a benefit, and not an attack. Earlier in the conference, Stallman had briefly interrupted a European Patent Office presentation with a placard that said: 'Don't get caught in software patent thickets.' He told journalists that the Patent Office was 'here to campaign in favor of software patents in Australia,' arguing that 'there's no problem that requires a solution with anything like software patents.'"

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Note to Richard (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33674558)

Emacs needs to be brought into the 21st century. Please. I used to use it a lot.

Re:Note to Richard (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33674616)

As someone who was suffering with 21st century tools until I found Emacs, I do wonder which parts you would change. I use Emacs 7-10 hours every working day. The latest version (23) does have antialiased fonts, so what are the other hangups you speak of? And it's worth using for org-mode alone.

Re:Note to Richard (2, Interesting)

sourcerror (1718066) | more than 3 years ago | (#33674846)

Try Jedit. It was built with the same philosophy.
The thing I like the most about it, is that I didn't had to learn a new language to script it (like elisp), it can be scripted with beanshell, which is pretty much like java, you just don't have to declare the type of everything (but it accepts vanilla Java too).
It can record macros in Beanshell while clicking around, you can assign them to custom buttons, to custom hotkeys, it has a nice plugin api as well (but you can do everything in beanshell macro too, but plugins make them faster and easier to manage).
It has syntax support for a lot languges. (For some it has function list and additional goodies too. But syntax files are dead-easy to write.)
It has a nice XML plugin too, which will offer auto-complete according to DTD.

I think it has everything that emacs has*, but uses the usual user interface coventions (ctrl-insert, ctrl-shift etc. )

* I guess emacs has some esoteric plugins that Jedit not; I'm speaking here about the core application

He's LOSING it man !! (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33674562)

The guy is bonkers !!

Re:He's LOSING it man !! (5, Insightful)

airfoobar (1853132) | more than 3 years ago | (#33674712)

Bonkers are the people who see what's going on around them, and say and do nothing.

Re:He's LOSING it man !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33674826)

You mean like the bugs crawling in my arm? Should I alarm all those who are unfortunately around me? Or maybe just hold up a crudely scrawled sign with the words, "I got bugs in me arm, I do! Aye, yer best cut of all arms!".

Calling RMS bonkers is like calling Bin Laden "Armed and dangerous". Not quite the right level.

No, not like the bugs on your arm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33675278)

No, not like the bugs on your arm because those bugs don't exist.

I don't care what anyone says (5, Insightful)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 3 years ago | (#33674602)

I'd prefer Stallman's outspoken extremism vs the quiet extremism that corporations would place us under if no one spoke up.

Re:I don't care what anyone says (1, Flamebait)

Megaweapon (25185) | more than 3 years ago | (#33674672)

I'd prefer Stallman's outspoken extremism vs the quiet extremism that corporations would place us under if no one spoke up.

Right, because a patent troll interrupting a FSF convention would be viewed as just as legitimate.

Re:I don't care what anyone says (5, Insightful)

airfoobar (1853132) | more than 3 years ago | (#33674782)

There's a difference. Patent advocates are in the business of conspiring against the public to line their own pockets. The FSF represents public interests and has nothing to hide. Crashing the patent troll party makes a much more powerful statement, imo.

Re:I don't care what anyone says (3, Insightful)

Reality Master 101 (179095) | more than 3 years ago | (#33674924)

There's a difference. Patent advocates are in the business of conspiring against the public to line their own pockets. The FSF represents public interests and has nothing to hide.

Not saying I'm for or against software patents, but you do realize that "patent advocates" are citizens of the public, too, right? And that owners of corporations are citizens? They have exactly as much right as the FSF to argue what the interests of the public are.

Re:I don't care what anyone says (5, Insightful)

u17 (1730558) | more than 3 years ago | (#33675108)

Patent advocates represent their corporations, because it is the corporations that own the patents, not the advocates themselves. Corporations are legal persons but are not citizens. There is no equivalence there.

Re:I don't care what anyone says (3, Insightful)

Reality Master 101 (179095) | more than 3 years ago | (#33675540)

Citizens own corporations. The corporation's interest is their interest.

Re:I don't care what anyone says (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33675158)

Lucky though they have far more money so that means their opinions are more important right?

Re:I don't care what anyone says (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33675228)

There's a difference. Patent advocates are in the business of conspiring against the public to line their own pockets. The FSF represents public interests and has nothing to hide.

Not saying I'm for or against software patents, but you do realize that "patent advocates" are citizens of the public, too, right? And that owners of corporations are citizens? They have exactly as much right as the FSF to argue what the interests of the public are.

and corporations are high paying citizens

Re:I don't care what anyone says (2, Insightful)

airfoobar (1853132) | more than 3 years ago | (#33675290)

Is a patent advocate advocating patents as a member of the public (i.e., thinking about the common good), or in a different capacity (e.g., patent lawyer, businessman, or someone else with vested interests who would benefit personally from patents)? In this instance, I believe patent advocates are only looking out for themselves, and are working against the interests of the public -- so it's fair and prudent to set them apart. As for the FSF (and EFF etc), I don't see them trying to profit from their activism at the expense of the greater good.

Re:I don't care what anyone says (5, Insightful)

oiron (697563) | more than 3 years ago | (#33675306)

As long as those "citizens" have only as much right to put forth their views as Stallman, and not, say, a couple of dozen legislators in their pockets, I might just agree there.

Considering, however, that they tend to spam the entire argument, and then use undue influence to enact measures that are only in their own selfish interests, and detrimental to the general common good, I give them much less benefit of the doubt.

Re:I don't care what anyone says (2, Informative)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | more than 3 years ago | (#33675768)

"They have exactly as much right as the FSF to argue what the interests of the public are."

I don't think anybody would argue that point, but you seem to be ignoring the fact that they are not arguing for public interest. That is merely the lie that they are telling, while they argue what is in the best interest of a select few rich people.

Re:I don't care what anyone says (1)

Idiomatick (976696) | more than 3 years ago | (#33675770)

Racist murderers are citizens too. Doesn't make em right and doesn't make their view legitimate. No one is arguing against patent advocates right to free speech. Rather their ability to buy laws.

Re:I don't care what anyone says (4, Funny)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 3 years ago | (#33675412)

A patent troll trying to interrupt an FSF convention would be going into the lion's den.

I don't think anyone from the FSF would object.

Re:I don't care what anyone says (1)

LaminatorX (410794) | more than 3 years ago | (#33675424)

There is no equivalence there. Stallman's cause is just. Theirs is greed.

Re:I don't care what anyone says (1)

tophermeyer (1573841) | more than 3 years ago | (#33675588)

There is no equivalence there. Stallman's cause is just. Theirs is greed.

While I agree with you, it is just a matter of perspective. There is nothing inherently good about information being "free" aside from the benefits that people will receive from the information. Some people have an interest in keeping information closed.

Hopefully when more people think like us than think like them we can get our way. Not that our way is somehow the "right" way, just that it works for us.

Re:I don't care what anyone says (1)

Steauengeglase (512315) | more than 3 years ago | (#33675478)

I'd suggest going to a F/OSS event in an area with a depressed economy. Someone could shout out that and criticism of patents is an offense again America and Jesus and you won't hear a word. They just want a job from the well connected guy at the podium.

Re:I don't care what anyone says (1)

DavoMan (759653) | more than 3 years ago | (#33675512)

stallman just has balls. he has the balls to do this, although i really wish he had more people with him and more effective signs. like LEDs and such. I would happily stand there with stallman if I was aware of this crap going on.

Re:I don't care what anyone says (-1, Troll)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 3 years ago | (#33675564)

He doesn't have balls. The only reason that no one throws him out is they don't want to have his stench and fleas to get stuck on them.

Re:I don't care what anyone says (2, Interesting)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | more than 3 years ago | (#33675746)

"Right, because a patent troll interrupting a FSF convention would be viewed as just as legitimate."

I agree that it would not be taken as the same and acceptable, but that is because most people don't think that what is good for the rape survivor is good for the rapist. You are basically asserting there is something wrong with finding it OK for a rape survivor to speak out about rape while simultaneously not finding it OK for a rapist to show up and speak about the wonderful benefits of raping people. Yes, my example is extreme, but it seems some people can't see a difference unless it is painted with a very large paintbrush dipped in fluorescent paint.

Re:I don't care what anyone says (1)

Jawnn (445279) | more than 3 years ago | (#33675796)

I'd prefer Stallman's outspoken extremism vs the quiet extremism that corporations would place us under if no one spoke up.

Right, because a patent troll interrupting a FSF convention would be viewed as just as legitimate.

By what possible contortion of reality would that be true? Your premise seems to be be that Stallman's rationale is possessed of equal merit to that of the patent troll, a premise that is rather far from "given".

Re:I don't care what anyone says (4, Insightful)

koterica (981373) | more than 3 years ago | (#33674734)

I always prefer the extremists on my side to the extremists on the other side too.

Re:I don't care what anyone says (3, Funny)

Happy Nuclear Death (911893) | more than 3 years ago | (#33675022)

I always prefer the extremists on my side to the extremists on the other side too.

To borrow a turn of phrase, the important thing is that you've found a way to feel superior to both.

Re:I don't care what anyone says (5, Insightful)

mapkinase (958129) | more than 3 years ago | (#33675054)

The notion of "extremism" is based on the notion that majority always represent somewhat "middle", "balanced" or "common-sensical" or "best" or etc. position, while in fact majority always represents just the most marketed, the most advertised, the most imposed position. That is for situations when wide public is involved.

Re:I don't care what anyone says (1)

blahplusplus (757119) | more than 3 years ago | (#33675716)

This is probably one of the best comments I have ever read on slashdot, thank you for your contribution!

Indeed (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33675848)

For example, in my mind, a government that locks non-violent human beings in cages for engaging in recreational drug use is incredibly extremist. The reason the majority doesn't see it that way is because they've spent their entire lives knowing nothing but the status quo, and therefore can't imagine it being any different.

Re:I don't care what anyone says (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33675074)

If there were no extremists on your side, then by definition you would be the extremist and people would label you as such. Say what you will about liberal extremists, conservative extremists, environmental extremists, animal rights extremists and so on and so fourth. The fact is that without these people you and me would be labeled and written off as extremists.

I'm a big fan of extremism, as long as nobody gets injured or killed and no property gets destroyed.

Re:I don't care what anyone says (4, Insightful)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 3 years ago | (#33675148)

Well, I think that all extremists should be killed to ensure that the debate remains moderate! Oh, wait ...

It's also worth mentioning that if you immediately dismiss all extremists, you limit the debate to those ideas which the powers that be have deemed "mainstream" and acceptable. Extremists are the ones that change what is considered mainstream.

Re:I don't care what anyone says (4, Insightful)

CODiNE (27417) | more than 3 years ago | (#33675536)

So THAT'S why moderate muslims don't denounce the crazies. I get it now thanks.

Re:I don't care what anyone says (3, Insightful)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 3 years ago | (#33675752)

I don't know... I have many arguments to oppose to extremists (on my side or against my side) but I don't like to call RMS an extremist because his views and positions are coherent, rational and come with arguments. He is uncompromising, that's sure, but does that make one an extremist ?

Uncompromising, sure. Idealist, hell yes, but extremist ? How so ? Does he advocate violence ? Does he say we must break laws ? Come one... I like RMS in that he doesn't care about what is reasonable, what is consensual, he cares about his point and defends it.

Re:I don't care what anyone says (3, Insightful)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 3 years ago | (#33674760)

I don't think anyone has any issues with Stallman sharing his own work voluntarily - I think some people draw the line at stunts like this where he calls for universal adherence to his third and fourth 'freedoms' (to distribute the software; and to modify and distribute modified copies of the code).

Your post assumes that only the black and white extremes exist - nothing could be further from the truth, luckily. There is a whole world in between the two.

Re:I don't care what anyone says (5, Insightful)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 3 years ago | (#33675464)

What some people would like to characterize here as "extremism" is merely a slightly older form of the status quo.

If RMS could be declared an "extremist" at all in this situation is merely a reflection that most people are entirely ignorant and apathetic on this subject.

This is one argument where RMS is not an extremist at all.

Re:I don't care what anyone says (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33675606)

> I'd prefer Stallman's outspoken extremism vs the quiet extremism that corporations would place us under if no one spoke up.

So do I, but...

"He criticized surveillance, censorship, restrictive data formats, and software-as-a-service..."

Ummm, so if I create a web application and offer it as a paid service ("software-as-a-service"), somehow I've run afoul of Mr Stallman's utopian vision of freedom? Sorry, but this is how I make my living. I create a web service, offer it to people that want to use it, and they pay a fee yearly to do so. How is this "wrong" in his world view? Should I not be permitted to do this as per his notion of right and wrong, or have I misunderstood his position?

A bit of irony (4, Funny)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 3 years ago | (#33674666)

Amazingly enough, the article describing Stallman's well-reasoned arguments for the need for free software, free sharing of information, and non-proprietary formats is helpfully on a page written in ASP.

Re:A bit of irony (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33674764)

There are FOSS implementations of both classic ASP and ASP.NET.

They're probably using the proprietary Microsoft ones, though :(

Re:A bit of irony (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33674962)

Yes, why would anyone in their right mind use the shitty FOSS clone?

Re:A bit of irony (1)

oiron (697563) | more than 3 years ago | (#33675230)

Yes, better to use Django or PHP instead of either the shitty original or the shittier clone, I guess...

Re:A bit of irony (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33675312)

Better to just not use PHP, period. The language is plain awful. I'd actually rather use ASP over PHP in that case.

Go Stallman (2, Insightful)

hellraizer (1689320) | more than 3 years ago | (#33674674)

Nice work ... there should me more people like him :)

Re:Go Stallman (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33674762)

True, and as an Australian I'm glad that SOMETHING vaguely positive has happened in the IT world down here...

Vote 1 Australia as the new Digital Rights battlefront!

Re:Go Stallman (5, Informative)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 3 years ago | (#33674944)

Predicted politician response in the coming days: (5, Funny)

Even on Slashdot FOE (1870208) | more than 3 years ago | (#33674690)

Look at these people, like Richard Stallman, who want our economy to die! We must have software patents! And an ACTA equivalent, and a DMCA equivalent, and secret police, and blah blah blah.

Re:Predicted politician response in the coming day (4, Funny)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | more than 3 years ago | (#33674744)

Ugh. People like you make me sick! The DMCA protects authors and their intellectual property that is in an infinite supply, and the ACTA, if it passes (hopefully it will), will accomplish this goal further and eliminate those evil pirates who dare steal profit that only exists in the future of an alternate dimension where the artist made more money!

Well (3, Interesting)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | more than 3 years ago | (#33674708)

Censorship, DRM, and surveillance are all very dangerous and annoying things that only hurt the average person. It's hardly going to affect the pirates and will likely only affect 'normal' people, robbing them of some of their rights in the process. These corporations must be stopped, that much is clear.

that must have been just like (3, Funny)

FudRucker (866063) | more than 3 years ago | (#33674720)

when jesus overturned the money-changer's tables. Jesus? is that you? [stallman.org]

Re:that must have been just like (1)

jmac_the_man (1612215) | more than 3 years ago | (#33675082)

What? Because of the beard?

Worse Than Software Patents (4, Informative)

TheEyes (1686556) | more than 3 years ago | (#33674756)

Even worse than software patents, there is a new UN resolution going around [npr.org] that would give world governments more control over the internet. This is even worse, IMO, than software patents, which "only" threaten to drive software innovation to a virtual standstill: allowing governments to control the flow of information on the Internet could well destroy it, and the newfound freedom of expression and access to information we are currently taking for granted.

There are so many new threats to freedom on so many new fronts it's hard to even define what they all are, let alone what can be done about them.

Re:Worse Than Software Patents (2, Funny)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | more than 3 years ago | (#33674786)

What are you hiding? If you're not a dirty criminal, what have you got to lose? The government is nice enough to provide all kinds of other things for you, and can be trusted. Stop acting like a conspiracy theorist.

Re:Worse Than Software Patents (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33674850)

Now THAT was some SERIOUSLY thick sarcasm. :) (I assume as a slashdot reader, you can't honestly believe what you just wrote...)

Re:Worse Than Software Patents (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33675184)

I love NPR and everything, but it struck me as a more complex issue than the way they presented it. Remember that the issue at hand is what is an act of war; i.e., what action reaches the threshold of making retaliation legal under international law.

I don't actually think that China, Russia, and Iran are actually concerned with the freedom of the world's people, but to play the devil's advocate: If China was to throw just a couple million dollars at a modern online marketing campaign (forum posts, concern trolling, general astroturf stuff that we've become accustomed to), would you (as an USian, I'm assuming) consider it an act of war if the aim of the campaign was to politically destabilize the USA?

Seems to me that such an action could cause some serious problems for a country. And it's dirt cheap to do. Imho, the world should wake up to the new reality of sociology as applied science. It raises some questions that don't have simple answers.

Re:Worse Than Software Patents (2, Insightful)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 3 years ago | (#33675584)

I think the Internet's fate is sealed, in it's current form. It was always under the control of a single government, so it's only a matter of time. We need to go to darknets or replace the infrastructure with something community-run - probably a bit of both.

I wrote about this before:

http://search.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1634334&cid=32019410 [slashdot.org]

Re:Worse Than Software Patents (2, Informative)

magus_melchior (262681) | more than 3 years ago | (#33675600)

If that's this morning's Morning Edition report on "cyber" security (may that buzzword burn in hell), we need to change the framing of the information security debate in eastern Europe and the Middle East, because those countries view information and ideology, not technology, as the weapons. They want to stop countries from expressing philosophical opinions, which is useless for anything except for suppressing dissidents!

GNU/Stallman (5, Interesting)

dandart (1274360) | more than 3 years ago | (#33674830)

Shouting, running, making a fool out of himself. I think if only he would do the sort of things he does without calling a ruckus, then people might take him more seriously.

I admire the sort of things he's doing, but the way he does them is troublesome. He shouldn't for example be blocking access to an Apple store despite their terribly non-free products. Nobody likes an asshole and would tend to ignore it. Now, if he were to stand outside, offering leaflets on why Apple is wrong, but disguising it as something like "Bad Computer Practises", or "Why Software Freedom is Important" instead of "Apple is crap! Don't buy from them!" which no one will pay attention to, I think he'd get a lot further.

Good luck, rms.

Re:GNU/Stallman (2, Insightful)

martas (1439879) | more than 3 years ago | (#33674916)

"The bitch of it is that you probably did the right thing. But you did it in the wrong way. In the inconvenient way. Now you have to pay the penalty for that. I know it stinks, but that's the way it is."
President Susanna Luchenko to Sheridan, Rising Star, Babylon 5

Re:GNU/Stallman (5, Insightful)

melikamp (631205) | more than 3 years ago | (#33675028)

Shouting, running, making a fool out of himself. I think if only he would do the sort of things he does without calling a ruckus, then people might take him more seriously.

May be he doesn't care about being taken seriously. May be he just wants people to be serious about defending their own right to free expression. And I am sorry for people who are turned away from his lucid arguments because they think that non-violent protests against economic oppression and political censorship are "extremism": can people be any more docile?

Re:GNU/Stallman (1)

MORB (793798) | more than 3 years ago | (#33675226)

Shouting, running, making a fool out of himself.

I thought Steve Ballmer had patended that.

Re:GNU/Stallman (2, Insightful)

jDeepbeep (913892) | more than 3 years ago | (#33675370)

I think Ballmer only has the patent on using a chair as a projectile whilst making a point. Making a fool of oneself has too much prior art behind it.

Re:GNU/Stallman (3, Insightful)

jDeepbeep (913892) | more than 3 years ago | (#33675330)

In other words, if he would just keep his mouth shut, not make anyone uncomfortable, and not live out his philosophy, he would be acceptable to you. Get back to us when you've done even _an eighth_ of what RMS has done for software freedoms that all of us benefit directly from.

stallman rocks (4, Interesting)

Jeek Elemental (976426) | more than 3 years ago | (#33674834)

He secured his place in history a long time ago and is STILL at it, and most impressive, still relevant.

Re:stallman rocks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33675058)

Relevant? lol.

Re:stallman rocks (1)

u17 (1730558) | more than 3 years ago | (#33675200)

That he has so many outspoken opponents, only confirms it.

the printing press (4, Insightful)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 3 years ago | (#33674880)

bought about the creation of the middle class, modern democracy, and the death of the feudal system and the aristocracy

it took awhile. the feudal system and the aristocracy in their time were just no brainer common sense, and the idea of challenging them was either something to be laughed at or you must be crazy to believe they could ever end or to doubt their validity

the internet means the death of the entire concept of intellectual property

it will take awhile. in our time some people just take the idea of intellectual property as just no brainer common sense, and the idea of challenging it is either something to be laughed at or you must be crazy to believe it could ever end or to doubt its validity

in today's age, stallman is but a distant voice in the wilderness, but he's actually 100% correct, just way ahead of his time, too far ahead, to gain any traction

the simple truth is that intellectual property is a completely flawed concept. it made sense before the internet when media had to be physically printed and physically distributed. much as the feudal system made sense when only a few could afford book knowledge

all that intellectual property has going for it now is legal and cultural inertia. it is of course completely philosophically untenable when media can be shared at zero cost at great distances with millions instantaneously. it will take time, but intellectual property is going down the tubes. the intartubes

let us work hard to hasten its demise

Re:the printing press (0)

AnonymousClown (1788472) | more than 3 years ago | (#33675262)

the simple truth is that intellectual property is a completely flawed concept. it made sense before the internet when media had to be physically printed and physically distributed. much as the feudal system made sense when only a few could afford book knowledge

all that intellectual property has going for it now is legal and cultural inertia. it is of course completely philosophically untenable when media can be shared at zero cost at great distances with millions instantaneously. it will take time, but intellectual property is going down the tubes. the intartubes

let us work hard to hasten its demise

Oh God no! .Intellectual Property is more than books or music or software.

And even then, if someone spends the time and money to develop something, I think they should get a temporary monopoly on whatever they invented. The thought of spending a lot of money and time inventing something only to have someone else just come by and copy it and profit from it - without any discipline or investment of their own - would enable people to leach without recourse. You can only create so much for the "greater good" before you have to pay your bills. And what's wrong with someone inventing something or writing something and getting rich off of their idea?

Look at any country with weak IP laws and innovation is stagnate or non-existent in those countries - most of the countries in Africa for example. Or if we look at China, we'll see folks very reluctant to expose their new technology in that country -there's a reason why only commodity technology is manufactured over there.

No, we need IP laws and the lack of them will bring innovation to a standstill.

clarification (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 3 years ago | (#33675310)

apologies: i meant intellectual property in regards to only one kind of intellectual property: media

anything that is consumed as electronic bits: books, music, movies, should be completely devoid of any intellectual property conventions

but information that is not consumed electronically, that is, information that describes the creation of real world technologies: yes, that should continue to enjoy intellectual property law protections, because it concerns real world effort and expense

Re:clarification (1)

tophermeyer (1573841) | more than 3 years ago | (#33675674)

apologies: i meant intellectual property in regards to only one kind of intellectual property: media

anything that is consumed as electronic bits: books, music, movies, should be completely devoid of any intellectual property conventions

But that system will never work. Anyone that produces those kinds of media will never put it into electronic formats if they will lose their ability to make money of off it. Your system would encourage content producers to limit themselves to archaic copy-protected distribution models, and potentially large segments of society will never be able to see the cultural benefit of their work.

Some level of reasonable IP protection has to be in place to allow content producers the ability to generate content. We need to come to some agreement about what level of protection is reasonable, but some protection is absolutely necessary.

bullshit (2, Interesting)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 3 years ago | (#33675822)

because what you are saying is completely unenforceable

the future is the death of content producers. and by that i mean old school distributors. artists will produce directly, with financial outlays coming from passion. if it ignites in popularity, ancillary revenues: personalized content, concert gigs, cinema houses: these will provide a return on investment. and this does not mean we are forced to watch amateur youtube videos in the future. one of the most most expensive, and most profitable movie, ever made, avatar, made it all in cinema houses. this is a non-internet, controlled environment where you have to buy a ticket. this is never going away because no one enjoys watching movies by yourself in your basement. nothing is threatened except the dvd market. and why do we need constraints on our freedoms for the sake of propping up a dying media format and a dying business model?

there is no guarantee that an investment in the production of movies, music, or books will result in a financial return. nor should there ever be. most artists were starving, are starving, and will forever more starve. they make art out of passion, and that's all you ever need, and that's all that ever matters, and that's much more powerful than intellectual property law

Re:the printing press (2, Interesting)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | more than 3 years ago | (#33675328)

"The thought of spending a lot of money and time inventing something only to have someone else just come by and copy it and profit from it"

What harm have the pirates done? Have they taken profit that only exists in the future of an alternate dimension where the artist made more money?

"No, we need IP laws and the lack of them will bring innovation to a standstill."

We don't need illogical laws, we need an end to our capitalistic society (that will be far in the future, if it happens at all).

Re:the printing press (5, Insightful)

airfoobar (1853132) | more than 3 years ago | (#33675416)

Are you seriously arguing that African countries are the way they are because they have no IP laws?? As for China, I think they are innovating just fine, and in a few years they might give us a run for our money.

Re:the printing press (2, Insightful)

Steauengeglase (512315) | more than 3 years ago | (#33675576)

To paraphrase Stallman, there is no such thing as Intellectual Property. There are patents, copyrights and trademarks. Anything else is someone trying to get over on you.

Re:the printing press (5, Informative)

gerddie (173963) | more than 3 years ago | (#33675720)

No, we need IP laws and the lack of them will bring innovation to a standstill.

You have it all wrong: for example James Watt [mises.org] brought the development of the steam machine to a standstill using his patents, and only after these patents expired, innovation could continue:

Once Watt's patents were secured and production started, a substantial portion of his energy was devoted to fending off rival inventors. In 1782, Watt secured an additional patent, made "necessary in consequence of ... having been so unfairly anticipated, by [Matthew] Wasborough in the crank motion"... . More dramatically, in the 1790s, when the superior Hornblower engine was put into production, Boulton and Watt went after him with the full force of the legal system.

...

After the expiration of Watt's patents, not only was there an explosion in the production and efficiency of engines, but steam power came into its own as the driving force of the Industrial Revolution. Over a thirty year period steam engines were modified and improved as crucial innovations such as the steam train, the steamboat and the steam jenny came into wide usage. The key innovation was the high-pressure steam engine — development of which had been blocked by Watt's strategic use of his patent. Many new improvements to the steam engine, such as those of William Bull, Richard Trevithick, and Arthur Woolf, became available by 1804: although developed earlier these innovations were kept idle until the Boulton and Watt patent expired. None of these innovators wished to incur the same fate as Jonathan Hornblower.

Devil's Advocate (3, Interesting)

archer, the (887288) | more than 3 years ago | (#33675294)

Company X spends $1B developing a new idea, be it a physical widget or an algorithm. Said company sells widgets or software licenses at $A to recoup the invested money (first) and then to make a profit. Company Y sees the widget or software and can cheaply reverse engineer it, skipping 70% of the development costs. Company Y can sell their product at 0.4*$A and still make profit. Company X only gets $0.2B revenue for the item, and is out $0.8B.

How would we prevent this situation without IP? If the above happens, no one will want to invest in research, because they'd lose money, even if they "invented" the next IPod.

Maybe if all research funding came from the public, then all development successes (and failures) would be public knowledge.

Re:Devil's Advocate (1)

airfoobar (1853132) | more than 3 years ago | (#33675580)

How much time, effort and money does it take to design the iPod, and set up the facilities to manufacture it in large quanities? How much time, effort and money does it take to replicate the design and set up the facilities to manufacture it in large quantities?

Not surprisingly, the answers to both questions are very similar -- it takes a lot of time, effort and money even if you are simply copying somebody else's product. By the time a second company can produce "iPots", Apple would have had ample time to recoup its investment and make a profit. Once the iPot comes out, Apple will be forced to innovate again in order to remain competitive -- all patents do is prevent this competition, which is bad for the consumer.

Notice that this system avoids the "obvious patent" problem. Things that are obvious will take no time for others to replicate, but significant contributions take longer, so competition remains healthy. Should a patent be granted on something obvious (pretty much most software patents today), then competition is severely stifled for 20 years!

Re:the printing press (4, Informative)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 3 years ago | (#33675624)

bought about the creation of the middle class, modern democracy, and the death of the feudal system and the aristocracy

Completely incorrect and bass-ackwards. Wikipedia on the printing press [wikipedia.org] : "The rapid economic and socio-cultural development of late medieval society in Europe created favorable intellectual and technological conditions for Gutenberg's invention", not the other way around as you state. Gutenberg invented the press in 1439, nearly three hundred years before the industrial revolution. [wikipedia.org]

Too bad your misunderstanding of history detracts so badly from the better points in your comment.

Good for him. (4, Insightful)

mrthoughtful (466814) | more than 3 years ago | (#33674900)

I recall when I went through a rather lengthy discussion with the UK government about software patents, and the state of the law. It became very clear that regarding patent law, the UK government and the UK patent office is very heavily influenced by advisors who are, almost to a man, commercial patent lawyers. The remaining industry spokesmen are from big business.

It doesn't take a huge amount of understanding or research to see that SME innovation has more or less been destroyed by the existing patent processes. Entry into big success is done through innovation still - but not so much via the patent route. I would contend that companies like Facebook was successful, NOT because of whatever patents they may have held, (or bought), but because they were able to identify a market demand and react to it faster or more successfully than existing big industry was able.

Proving once and for all (1)

MoriT (1747802) | more than 3 years ago | (#33674910)

Not everyone is less rude in real life than they are on the internet.

Getting the Message Across (1)

doomicon (5310) | more than 3 years ago | (#33674934)

I just don't think he can effectively get his message across to Corporate/IT decision makers/leaders. Nor is the average computer user able to really recieve it. What do they "benefit" from his ideals.

For example, this quote in reference to 'Software as a Service'

"You absolutely can't study it, and you absolutely can't change it, and you're even further away from having control over your computing."

Corporations, don't particularly care about studying, and the idea of not having control over their computing will sound like a good idea.

Average User, doesn't want to study, change, and how much 'control' do they really want to have.

While I tend to "mostly" agree with him, I just don't think 99% of audience particularly understands or cares. Maybe if he had a better way of explaining benefits to his ideals that would appeal to a larger audience. Unfortunately, he tends to be at the other end of the spectrum (GNU-Linux).

Free software is good for the economy (4, Insightful)

bouldin (828821) | more than 3 years ago | (#33675492)

I would tell the corporate world that free software is good for the economy, and good for their business.

There are plenty of vendors out there who have built products on top of Linux, Apache, etc.

If Linux, Apache, etc. were not available for free, these vendors either would not have been able to launch their products, or would have paid huge licensing fees for crap like the Microsoft web server, driving up their prices.

If it weren't for these kinds of public software projects, everything would be more expensive, from consumer electronics to enterprise appliances.

Please stop abusing the term "sharing." (4, Insightful)

Damon Tog (245418) | more than 3 years ago | (#33674950)

Copying other people's stuff and giving it away isn't "sharing."

If you want to share, create your own work and give it away for free.

In the past (and present) this is precisely what Richard Stallman did with GNU. He wanted software to be free. Instead of bootlegging copies of Windows (or MS-DOS) he created his OWN stuff and gave it away for free. Now Linux is a force to be reckoned with. If he had simply pirated other peoples' work, this innovation would have never happened.

Re:Please stop abusing the term "sharing." (0)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | more than 3 years ago | (#33674988)

"Copying other people's stuff and giving it away isn't "sharing.""

Then what is it? It's certainly not stealing, as nothing is being taken from anyone.

Re:Please stop abusing the term "sharing." (1)

archer, the (887288) | more than 3 years ago | (#33675388)

It's certainly not stealing, as nothing is being taken from anyone.

Isn't revenue being "stolen", in a similar way to shoplifting? If the first purchased copy of Windows 7 was shared, and then everyone who wanted W7 copied the shared version, Microsoft would get no revenue after that first purchase.

I do agree that not all sharing correlates to lost sales: there are people who can't afford W7 and would have no choice but to live without it if the shared version wasn't available.

Re:Please stop abusing the term "sharing." (1)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | more than 3 years ago | (#33675470)

"Isn't revenue being "stolen", in a similar way to shoplifting?"

Can't say I didn't see the "potential profit" argument coming. No, you can't steal profit that only exists in the future of an alternate dimension where the artist(s) made more money.

Now, let's say that someone buys media from an artist, doesn't like it, and tells all of their friends who were originally going to buy it as well not to buy it. The friends then decide not to buy it because their friend told them not to. In this case, potential profit was lost to the business. This means that the person who told his friends not to buy the product and his friends have deprived potential profit from the business.

This is hardly different than piracy, as in both cases, nothing was really taken (except "potential profit").

Re:Please stop abusing the term "sharing." (3, Insightful)

Mad Leper (670146) | more than 3 years ago | (#33675488)

Copying someone else's work and distributing it without permission or license for free, thus depriving the creator of income counts as theft in my book.

This is not what the FOSS movement is about and it's a shame that so many pirates hide behind the skirts of the Open Source movement to justify their actions. Even worse that so many FOSS supporters turn a blind eye to the practice rather than deal with it directly.

Re:Please stop abusing the term "sharing." (1)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | more than 3 years ago | (#33675566)

"thus depriving the creator of income counts as theft in my book"

What income are they depriving the creator of? Is it potential profit? If it is, refer to my comment above yours.

Re:Please stop abusing the term "sharing." (5, Insightful)

JustinOpinion (1246824) | more than 3 years ago | (#33675712)

This is getting tangential, but... As I've argued before [slashdot.org] , when a debate starts focusing on terminology, both parties need to step back ask why people are worried so much about the terminology. Typically it is because words have added emotional baggage or implications, that either side wants to subtly slip into the debate without actively addressing the point.

In this case, one side really wants to use the word "stealing" to be used, because of the emotional baggage of associated with it (it's wrong, it's bad, no one honest would do it, ...). The other side wants to use the word "sharing" similarly (it's good, everyone is taught to share, no one is harmed, ...).

But in an intellectually honest debate, both sides would willingly back off from contentious terminology, and use neutral terms and focus on the particulars. Regardless of whether distributing digital copies is "sharing" or "stealing" (or both, or neither), we should debate whether said distribution is a net gain for society. We should debate whether said distribution violates a party's basic rights. And then from those points, we should debate what law would be both fair and socially-helpful.

I fully acknowledge that words have meaning, and we should try to be precise with language. But this is exactly why an honest debate should not invoke terms with an intent to capitalize on ambiguity. My main point is not to let debate get derailed by terminology concerns. Focus on the nature and consequences of the activity being debated, rather than ambiguous labels or partial analogies.

In the case of copyright, it becomes very difficult to argue for the social necessity, and intrinsic justness, of very long-term and rigidly-enforced copyright when you can no longer draw a false analogy to stealing of physical property. Conversely, it becomes difficult to argue that copyright infringement is completely without harm once you remove the sharing rhetoric and focus on the incentive/social-contract aspect of copyright law. In other words, I believe a socially-constructive compromise is more likely to arise from that kind of honest debate (yes, I know how unrealistic it is to expect that kind of debate to actually happen).

Re:Please stop abusing the term "sharing." (-1, Troll)

Digital Vomit (891734) | more than 3 years ago | (#33675016)

Copying other people's stuff and giving it away isn't "sharing."

I don't even know where to begin explaining how stupid that sentence is.

Re:Please stop abusing the term "sharing." (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33675268)

Why? Sharing implies that you split something rather than duplicate it!

Re:Please stop abusing the term "sharing." (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33675170)

"Please stop abusing the term "sharing"

You're not suggesting we call it "GNU/sharing" I hope?

Re:Please stop abusing the term "sharing." (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 3 years ago | (#33675686)

If you give me an apple and I give half to a different friend, it's still sharing. If I have something and give it to you it's sharing no matter where or how I got the item.

Re:Please stop abusing the term "sharing." (2, Insightful)

djmurdoch (306849) | more than 3 years ago | (#33675830)

I assume you're describing copying without permission, i.e. copyright infringement. Copying and giving away with permission is definitely sharing.

But I'm curious about who you think is suggesting that people should infringe copyright?

Or are you talking about Stallman's anti-software-patent position? Newly imposing software patents is the "theft"; it takes stuff that should be in the public domain, and gives the patent holder a monopoly on it.

Re:Please stop abusing the term "sharing." (1)

m50d (797211) | more than 3 years ago | (#33675854)

Copying other people's stuff and giving it away isn't "sharing."

No. But copying and giving away your own stuff (whether you bought it or made it yourself) is.

And the problem? (4, Insightful)

Steauengeglase (512315) | more than 3 years ago | (#33675042)

Given the number of corporate shills who show up at F/OSS conventions peddling things like, "'you people' need to get over software patents" or "sometimes you just can't just hand the source over to the client, its just good for business" or "I'm not calling you people communist -or even traitors, but you have to wonder about someone who doesn't genuinely care about the shareholder's position", I have no problem with Stallman shitting in their yard. Good for him.

Crashes? (3, Insightful)

swm (171547) | more than 3 years ago | (#33675254)

The headline says "crashes".
The article says "interrupted", but gives no details.
The article has two pictures (#18 and #19).
#19 looks like Stallman posing after the event for the benefit of the camera.
#18 is probably the interruption.
All you can see from the picture is that Stallman (and friend) stood at the front of a conference room holding poster-board signs.
It looks like Stallman has a sheaf of papers in his hand, so maybe he said something.

After reading the first three words of the title.. (2, Funny)

zrbyte (1666979) | more than 3 years ago | (#33675556)

Was I the only one who hoped that his katana [xkcd.com] would be involved?
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