Richard Stallman at UofR – Liveblog

Richard Stallman

Stallman at UofR
R. Petry gives intro. Mentions good fortune of copyright bills being killed by elections.

Speaking in stereo, has two mics.
Founder of fsf.org
Not speaking about free software. Free as in freedom, and in price. Think of free speech, not free beer.

Digital colonization is to be avoided. Nonfree keeps users divided and helpless to change the programs.
Software: either users control software, or other way around.
Software should not be a yolk. Should not tolerate nonfree
4 Freedomes:
0 run as you wish
1 study source code
2 help others
3 freedom to contribute to your community

Best to do nothing rather than make proprietary software, because you do no harm.

4:17pm
Should these freedoms apply elsewhere?
Hardware? We have freedom 0. 1? Adapt it. Study and change the object. But changing physical objects is limited. 2? No physical copiers yet. 3. Is also not feasible.
Other things? Are we allowed?
Copies of published works. Could be changed in computer. Copyright law becomes important.
Look at history and technology. Changes in tech can effect basic ethical principles.
If we could resurrect the dead, murder wouldn’t be as unethical.
Ancient tech required rewriting. No economy of scale. Lower skill too. No copyright in ancient world. Censorship only.
“Printing press made copying more efficient.”
Time ain’t money if all you’ve got is time.
Copyright began after the printing press. Perpetual monopoly for printer.
If tech stayed the same as early last century, he’d probably not criticize copyright law. Public gave up personal copy rights, to get more writing, while they were not in a position to publish anyway.
Now to enforce copyright the govt comes right into your home and computer.
Sickness in democracy.
Extend duration of copyright push. 1998, USA, 20 years on past works and future works. Doing nothing to encourage past authors to write more, since no time machine to tell them! (It’s a handout to copyright owner’s families or buyers) “Lipservice and bullshit”
“Disney noticed” its copyright on Mickey Mouse was set to expire. Perpetual duration not politically possible, yet, but it’s perpetually extended like tomorrow. Mickey mouse copyright act.
“Total control over published works”
“Digital Restrictions Management” turns your computer into a jailer. Always in proprietary software, attacking freedoms at two levels!
DVDs first widespread DRM use. “In order to make DVD players you must join the conspiracy” and keep the DRM intact. But free alternatives made when DRM was cracked.
AACS broken next.
Key released with two cute puppies. 700,000 webpages hosting it soon. BluRay broken, but key now changed. Too much work to keep up with breaking the lock.

4:45 Gave a spanking to Michael Geist who wants to “surrender” to WIPO treaty. Video sometime later.

Send back discs that are copy controlled.
Won’t accept iPad as a gift. Unless you have means to break the chains. DVDs okay if you can break the code. He doesn’t have DVDs.
“Sony had a really clever scheme”, “somewhat like a virus” install changes in the system. Modify ability to find changes.
“This was a felony”, part of the code was from GNU licensed code! , but it didn’t follow the license. They were commercial copyright infringers, thanks to Sony making it a felony.
Users sued Sony, but govt didn’t charge them with the felonies.
Malignant desire to stop people from sharing. Sony settled, promised not to do other nasty things. PS3 they put rootkit in the hardware instead. Sony is having hackers prosecuted. George Hotz broke PS3.

Apple dropped DRM on music only in ITunes. Video and apps are DRM. ITunes changed to break free software. “You shouldn’t use it”

DRM music streaming is coming. Special player that isn’t free, prevents saving. DRM prevents the user from doing what they naturally want to do.
E-books have DRM.
He didn’t write a foreword for a book because publisher wouldn’t agree to release it without DRM.
Ebooks, are back 10 years after they failed.
Barnes and Noble Schnook, Amazon Swindle.
Don’t identify yourself when buying a book.
Amazon is not trustworthy. “Total contempt for private property”, license to read, can’t share a book you pay for.
All books in machine, can’t lend a whole library.
“Society perverting devices”
Amazon can remotely delete books, Authorized copies! 1984 deleted!
Amazon said they’d never do this again, unless ordered by the state. “Kindle means to start a fire” evidently it’s to burn our books.

10 year limit on copyright proposed. Fiction author said to him anything more than 5 years was intolerable. His publisher prevented him from making more copies of his own book!

Video of his warning not to vote for anyone willing to extend copyright, who has sided with corporations. Odds are they are against you in everything else.

20 years ago he couldn’t have proved free software wouldn’t cause market collapse. Now he can. Wikipedia, text books exist and we thrive.
Essays, modified version is misrepresenting someone.
Sharing is good.
“Extremely harsh penalties proposed” without trial even. Basic norms of the ideals of justice are not observed.
Artists continue to get more or less same inadequate income.
Arts and entertainment. Valid arguments on both sides.
Folk art process. Shakespeare couldn’t have been staged, so wouldn’t have been written. Modifying an existing work could be art.

“Hollywood systematically makes crap.” they’re being pushed by a system. He’s not for censorship, he’s just against crap. They shouldn’t be allowed to conduct a war on sharing. They should make movies about people instead of special effects.

Get money to artists and not executives. Based on popularity, but not linear proportion. Use the cube root instead, shift money from the very popular to the somewhat popular. Use money efficiently to do an adequate job. Fairly popular and good artists get more support.
Measure through some kind of optional poll.
Voluntary payments. Feel good if you give, no punishment if you don’t give. Poor people won’t push it.
Hard to give a dollar to an artist now.
Some musicians have this now.

Now auctioning a Gnu, it went for $200 to R. Cowles! Raised for the FSF.

Questions.
Hold writers of bugs responsible?
A. Market does away with them.

Q. MS gives free updates.
A. But MS is a monopoly, and may not agree to fix a problem you’ve identified.

Q. Patents?
A. Glad terms are not as long as copyright. But not the same subject. He’s against software patents.

Q. Petry
Journals?
A. Pry dead hands off them.

Q. Special devices for medicine?
A. Devices make the money, the software should still be free.
Pacemaker concern.

Doesn’t treat word Pirate as legitimate word. Is against pirates, the navy should catch them.

Q. Jeff
10 years weaken copyleft.
Q. Copyleft
A. He invented copyleft in 1985. copy and distribute with four freedoms perpetually.

I asked:

FSF sued someone only once. Most times violators back down.

He recommends custom software authoring so long as it makes money and isn’t proprietary.

The end

6 responses to “Richard Stallman at UofR – Liveblog

  1. Actually the answer to my question(that 10 year copyright weakens copyleft) was that without an extensive copyright to begin with, there is less perverse incentives to hoard away the source code to begin with. I think he meant that copyleft scales with the sickness of the copyright system, and that if it’s only a reasonable time limit then too will the copyleft will actually be needed. We wouldn’t for example see the excesses we saw with UNIX in the 80’s because if it’s free software there’s no real difference between giving and not giving the source code away on copyright grounds since the program is going to be in everyone’s hands anyway.

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