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Thursday 25 August 2011

Live blogging stallman

Stallman is speaking in Brum

He says that proprietary softwre is a tool that the owner uses to control the users.

closed source software may contain malicious code used to harm or spy on the user. As does windows and the iphone. (And andriod, which is open source).

Free software develops solutions but proprietary programmes create dependance. Writing free software is a contribution to society. Proprietary software harms society, he says. Good features in a proprietary programme are bait in a trap. The users are suckered in and made less free.

To what extent do the 4 freedoms apply outside of software?

If you buy an object, does it carry restrictions on using it as you wish? (Freedom 0)

Freedom 1 is the freedom to study and change the source code. Do you have that freedom to modify an object? Depends on the object. This point is kind of lame.

Freedom 2 allows people to make copies. Does not apply to physical objects because he has apparently never heard of a 3d priter. Shiny future technology will solve the problems it causes.

Has he heard of the arduino?

Now he's brining up copyright, which is apparently the main topic of his speech.

What should copyright say about what you can do with published works. Copyright developed in responce to technology, however the morals of these laws are not based on technology, however the context can change, thus effecting the utilitarian evaluation of moral choices.

in the ancient world, copies were made by hand and does not scale. There was no copyright, but copying was very difficult. There was censorship, however.

then the printing press came along and mass production copying much more efficient, but did not speed up making one-off copies. It was purely an economy of scale. Printing presses were expensive and required special skills. Copy making was highly centralised. Many copies were still made by hand. Poor people would hand copy thing because they had time but no money.

in 1553, copyright was introduced to england to censor protestant texts. You had to apply to print something and one printet would be granted a monopoly in perpetuity. In 1680, a new system came in where authors were granted a monopoly for 14 years.

The US consitution was going to have copyright in it, but instead it grants congress the power to create laws granting a monopoly for a limitted time, in order to benefit the public. Copyright laws only applied to publishers, not to hand copying. It was solely an industrial regulation. Copyright was arguably beneficial, was easy to enforce.

in the 1800s, printing got a lot cheaper. Paperbacks were invented. Hand copying dropped way off in responce to cheaper media.

the computers came along and made one off copying much much cheaper. This has completely transformed the effect of copyright law. It is no longer an industrial regulation. Copyright law has become difficult to enforce, has become controversial. It is no longer beneficial, he claims.

a proper democracy, he says, would restore a freedom to copy to the public. He says the increase of copyright power is an indictment of a non functional democracy.

retroactively increasing copyright does not encourage the production of new works in the past. Increasing copyright for future works could create an incentive for current artists, except that nobody plans for income 50-70 years after their death.

he claims that the extension of corporate copyright law in the us was done to protect mickey mouse. He says disney purchased the law. Stallman is seriously incensed.

he says film companies want perpetual copyright, which is theoretically allowable in the uk. If disney keeps this up, there will be perpetual copyright in the us, granted 20 years at a time, he claims.

he is encouraging us to fight the copyright extension of audio recordings, saying we must fight every batlle, no matter how minor.

he says publishers want to seize total power over content, making a pay-per-view uiverse via DRM. Our media players, etc will control us, instead of vice versa. He is using dvd region codes as an example. Some smart person wrote free software to let people play dvds. So the us made this illegal with the digital millenium copyright act. The eu also passed a similar law, except in finland. In france, posession of copies can be punished with a prison sentence.

Stallman is so ideologically pure, he doesn't play dvds. And we shouldn't either, he says.

aacs was a new form of encryption, which was sort of broken. Blue ray disks have new encryption every few months. Which is kind of mental. Drm on video is undefeated.

10 years ago, non-compliant cds were for sale.

(stallman is so damn free, he can't do anything....)

apple did drmed music and sony installed a rootkit on its cds, which is highly malicious software, akin to a virus. Seriously a trojan horse, this was extremely illegal. They also plagarised the code in their programme, which is illegal under copyright law.

there is drm in the playstation. Somebody put linux on it, and then sony put out an upgrade that killed linux. People have been arrested for putting free software on playstations!

DRM is mostly dead for music because of some weird contract dispute with apple. He is encouraging everyone to boycott itunes, so we can be free.

spotify is designed to restrict users, because it won't let you save streams. So nobody should use spotify. They don't actually pay labels or artists at any kind of reasonable rate, so um...

books are now facing the pressure of drm, thanks to ebooks. He thinks ebooks are a plot.

in order to be free, he has to say no a lot. The free software foundation is against facebook and are not on it and if i were smart, i wouldn't be either.

he really hates ebook readers! The amazon "swindle!" Kindle users cannot anonymously buy ebooks with cash. Amazon knows what you're reading and keeps a list. This has a large potential for human rights abuses. Ebook ownsers do not actually own their books. They cannot give it away or lend it out. They don't even get to keep a book as long as they want, only as long as amazon lets you. They remotely deleted a bunch of bought and paid for copies of "1984" off of people's kindles.

amazon promised to never do mass censorship again unless ordered to by the state. Which is not actually comforting.

now he syays we have to boycott harry potter. And puppies, i'm sure. And ice cream. "There are loys of other books that are fun to read."

i don't think i could handle this much freedom....

one company by itself could not set up drm. They have to "conspire to restrict the public's access to technology." These conspiracies are trade organisations.

"of course, you should never use a product that conspires to take away you freedom." We must organise against drm. There is a website "defective by design."

i'm not sure that boycotts are actually a useful way to deal with this.

he says copyright should last for 10 years after being published. (I'd make it a bit longer, but maybe i'm brainwashed by publish companies.) He is making a good point about how god-like devotion for composers is used abusively by publishing companies.

publishers sometimes let stuff go out of print but will prevent others from publishing.

those of us who aren't making money are uncorrupted, we still have the purity of the dueling 19th century ideas of the artist, in contrats to being godlike.

what sort of copyrights are there for content? Recipies, software, how to stuff, textbooks, etc is kind 1. He says this kind of works have to be free. "Freedom is having control of your own life."

type 2 is works that state people's views: essays, memoirs, academic works. These should not be allowed to be modified. Modification is distortion. Non-commercial redistribution of unmodified copies must be allowed because sharing is good. He says. Copyright is intolerable because of the "war on sharing." Attacking sharing is attacking society. This is EVIL, he says.

type 3 is works of art and entertainment. Should people be allowed to modiy? Modifying something may destroy its artistic integrity. But most artistic works contain remixed elements from past works. People could wait for the copyright term before allowing remixes. But, people must be free to share.

i don't see a future for for-profit publication if sharing is allowed? I allow my stuff to get shared, but i mean, if i could get lady gaga for free and it was allowed, i wouldn't pay for it

he just said something about remixing, but i was thinking about lady gaga.

peer to peer file sharing will not hurt musicians because record companies have already stolen everything. It is true that corrupt accounting is a problem for musicans on major labels.

he won't do ecommerce....

he says that musicians make money off of concerts, so sharing recorded music actually helps musicians. Ha ha ha ha ha ha, sorry.

he says only record companies lose money with music sharing record companies and they're evil and deserve it. Minor record companies are ok, of course, but let's not talk about them.

could movies still make money under stallman's capitalistic paradise? He says yes, but if we have to stop making movies, well, we'll all be more free.

he says hollywood makes shit movies on purpose, through their system. Censorship is wrong, so we must protect their right to make shit.

how to support the arts: use state funds, he says. We must be efficient in these grants. Only give it to artist, not publishers. Give away money by popularity, using polling, he says. Linear distribution is not a good plan, he says. Take the cube root of popularity he says, getting very detailed. He may think too much, but i can't really argue his point.

artists then have incentive to share.

now he's on with the virtual tip jar, which has never worked in practice, but he wants to have this government regulated? He claims that thw virtual tip jar is working for musicians, but what he's talking about is merch. He says it's not merch. Heh, I wonder if he's considered commissions. I guess all free software could come with a donation button in Stalltopia.

he seems to be taking credit for linux? Oh no wait, torvalis doesn't deserve credit. Jesus!

schools (and unis) should only use free sotware, in order to make them citizens of a free society. Now he's comparing software companies to playground drug dealers!

now he's talking about people learning to code. Only free software properly teaches coding. Closed sources are contrary to the goals of education.

students should be compelled to share their source code.

we should all campaign against MAX/MSP in education, as an ethical issue. Constantly recruit others to the cause!

Antonio is attacking his art funding proposals. Stallman is claiming that crowd funding works, which is complete bullocks. And he doesn't know the term "crowd funding," which does somewhat impunge his credibility on the issue. Then he says that WPA is the way forward, which I don't disagree with. Now he says that you can't say arts funding is too low or too high because it's inagruable, which seems dubious.

i'm pondering irritating him with android questions.

oooh ranting on "open source" in respince to another question, so no point in asking android question.

I really need dinner as his twattishness is starting to annoy me.

i'm not sure a purely software guy is really the best guy to talk about arts copyright. Especially somebody who says all closed source software developers should quit their jobs. If he doesn't want his own tribe to prosper, he's not going to be overly concerned about artists.


Daniel Wolf said...

A good summary of a standard Stallman presentation. He was a great programmer and is on the right track, but his lack of pragmatism and inflexibility get in the way and, as a software guy, he surprisingly doesn't understand that all music, once heard, is open source, and making it has real costs in money and time that he doesn't recognize at all, expecting the "joy" a musician receives from "sharing", alongside that non-existent government support to be compensation enough. Would be. If I disn't have to feed myself, spouse, kids, dog, pay rent, etc..

Charles Céleste Hutchins said...

That is an excellent summary. Also, he does not bother actually collecting data about things like crowd funding or costs, either because he's so utopic, he doesn't care or because he doesn't want to give up the dream in the face of reality.

While I can't go along with his libertarian fantasy, I still have a lot of respect for the good work of the free software foundation, especially in their clashes with the Open Source guys. And, also, he is somebody with a big idea. I don't have a clear vision of what utopia I want and he does. And while his kind of sucks, he has a metric, so he can look at something and ask "does this advance my cause?" Those of us without a metric are stuck being managerial and fighting tiny battles, one at a time. We need a better vision, but at least he's got one.

Anonymous said...

didnt read your whole post (yet (i have chips in the oven (not a metaphor )))
but Supercollider (as an eg) was closed source for ages and it let JMC work on it full time and make it so ace (and frankly i reckon if he was still working on it like that it would be unimaginably wicked)..

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