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RE: Signatories to the Declaration of Software Freedom

Atul Chitnis [Friday, March 02, 2001 1:45 PM]:
On Fri, 2 Mar 2001, Raju Mathur wrote:

>> I believe that music should be free for all to hear, not only
>> to those who're willing to give their money to robber-baron
>> music companies.

> I do not agree with this. The robber-baron is *not* the author
> (whose decision free/non-free should be).

The robber baron happens to be the copyright owner.  An arist's contract
with the recording company overrides any intellectual property right he
might have had.  The legal verbiage there, (especially the stuff about
distribution rights) takes care of that.

Respecting a license under which something is released is essential.  Also,
by installing and using a software, you are deemed to have accepted the
license under which it is released ... try clicking "disagree" on that
licensing verbiage which pops up in most 'doze installs and see <g>.

> If (for example) Paul McCartney puts out a song and says "this
> is free", there should be nothing in his way to do this, and I
> should be able to download and listen to it for free.

OK, *if* he releases the song as Stephen King released his e-book (and if he
doesn't have some kind of exclusive recording / distribution contract with
an agent and a recording company).

> If on the other hand he says "I want to be paid a dollar for
> this", then this is OK with me as well, because I know that I am
> paying the artist, not a robber baron.

... and the robber baron pays the artist a hefty fee (plus royalties) for
the exclusive rights to market the artist's songs (and the fat profits he
earns from marketing the songs), but that's besides the point :)

Whatever the arguments for and against napster, ripping MP3s from a CD and
sharing them through napster can (and has been) compared to people
distributing cracked / warez versions of non free software (in the free beer

> Stephen King made this concept clear with his recent exploration
> into ebooks, which (while not a raving success) did prove the
> viability of this approach.

If you see, he wrote an entirely new book for this.  If he tried to release,
say, Carrie, It, Pet Semetary etc that way, his publishers would not be very
amused (and neither would their lawyers).

> We cannot *enforce* free'ness (speech, beer). It is a priviledge
> that the actual author bestows on his work, and *that* we should
> honour.

Perfect.  The argument here seems to be among the free source / speech
licenses rather than the paid beer licenses (which all here agree are A Bad
Thing).  One thing the linux / bsd / apache license folks are united on is
that closed source licenses must be avoided if at all possible ...