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Post by Jenda » Mon Sep 25, 2006 6:19 am

Calum wrote:this is indeed a fascinating debate. i have to agree with everything from void main so far but this doesn't mean i disagree with jenda. Jenda, you seem to be advocating your own ideal, but that's not how things are ever going to be set up. The GPL is supposed to fit in legally with the existing copyright structure, it is not an ideal at all, however i think it is very successful at righting the wrongs of copyright as it were. Anybody that chooses to use a GNU licence, in my opinion, is "buying in" to the ideal (more or less) that you advocate.
Bingo. That is exactly it. God only helps those who helps themselves (In this case, it is the GPL).
In fact, the GPL creates a small subset of 'intelectual property' in which the rules of 'my ideal' (almost) apply.
I advocate free choice and free speech, and this means i think people should have the choice of how to copyright their work, the knock on effects will play themselves out. If two people write an email client, and one is GPL, perhaps that one will become very popular and the other one won't, that's market forces in action. If you accept that our society is mainly capitalistic then you have to allow freedome of choice when it comes to money and copyrights (in my opinion).
And this is where we differ.
The copyright is an artificial construct. It is not natural to be able to prevent others from doing what they wish with material they have in their hands and ownership, be it money, food, wood (material) or paper, ink, a CD (media). The fact that you have the power to prevent a person from creating a plastic disc with engravings just because they are engravings that you created first, thoughbeit in a different form is given artificially by (positive) law, and thus the 'free will' you stand behind is no more than the power to limit the free will of others.
It is for this reason why the copyright is often called a 'negative right'.
now:
He can't really close it up, because that would require copyrights.
you've missed void's point i think. Closed source software doesn't have anything to do with copyright in essence, it just means that the distributor of a software package chooses to distribute only the binaries, not the source. Historically this is the action of someone who copyrights their software for money, this is why the GPL was created, to enable a distributor to share the code without relinquishing control (as per the heinous BSD licence that still haunts a lot of software to this day). You can see however that releasing the binaries is simply a choice of whether or not to upload the source to your distribution server (or include it on the install CDs or whatever) rather than a decision to copyright the software under a particular licence. Nobody can make changes to the code if they cannot get access to the code in the first place.
I know what you mean - but windows source code has leaked and is available (I hear), and yet it is of no use to developers (not only through poor quality.
In any case, availability of source code seems to be an inferior issue - since it only touches a small part of intelectual property.
The exciting thought here is that, maybe, gpl'd music should come with sheets and gpl'd food with recipes :)

The absurdity of what I called overuse of copyright was once nicely described on a story (FOUND IT!!): http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?stor ... 4161112858[/quote]

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Post by Jenda » Mon Sep 25, 2006 6:24 am

Mind you, i just noticed there are edits in the ColdPizza article - so just disregard most of the stuff in italics.

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Post by Void Main » Mon Sep 25, 2006 8:27 am

Jenda wrote:
I am saying that is the wrong thing to do with the way things currently work. By avoiding copyright the proprietary developer wins by default. You are basically putting your code into the public domain where he can use your own code against you by extending it and closing it up, something the GPL license gives protection from.
He can't really close it up, because that would require copyrights.
There are no 'proprietary developers' without copyright, as the law then doesn't allow them to 'own' the code.
I am pretty sure you are wrong on this. Are you saying Microsoft can not use code that is out in the public domain in their own software? I don't believe this to be true. They certainly use BSD code in their own software but BSD code is copyrighted and it does have a license attached to it with certain requirements that need to be fullfilled. That is, MS can use BSD code and change it however they like and not release the source code. However, they do need to make sure a single line of attribution stays with the code. If you do a "strings" on some of the Microsoft TCP/IP related executables you will see this (telnet.exe, ftp.exe, etc). BSD code is not the same as Public Domain code however. If they use public domain code they don't even have to attribute it. They can just use it as part of their own code unlike what you are claiming. Since there is no copyright on that public domain code who would/could sue them? So again, I am pretty sure you are wrong about this and would like to see some evidence to suggest otherwise.
Last edited by Void Main on Mon Sep 25, 2006 8:34 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by ZiaTioN » Mon Sep 25, 2006 8:33 am

I regularly steal copyrighted code and pass it off as my own. Is this wrong?

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Post by Jenda » Mon Sep 25, 2006 8:43 am

I am pretty sure you are wrong on this. Are you saying Micro$oft can not use code that is out in the public domain in their own software? I don't believe this to be true. They certainly use BSD code in their own software but BSD code is copyrighted and it does have a license attached to it with certain requirements that need to be fullfilled. That is, M$ can use BSD code and change it however they like and not release the source code. However, they do need to make sure a single line of attribution stays with the code. If you do a "strings" on some of the Micro$oft TCP/IP related executables you will see this (telnet.exe, ftp.exe, etc). BSD code is not the same as Public Domain code however. If they use public domain code they don't even have to attribute it. They can just use it as part of their own code unlike what you are claiming. Since there is no copyright on that public domain code who would/could sue them? So again, I am pretty sure you are wrong about this and would like to see some evidence to suggest otherwise.
Ms. Understood.
They can use the code in their own works, but they have no way of legally preventing you from using it, even after it has been implemented in their own SW. In fact, the only way they can is by strictly guarding the source code...
... and from that point on, all you need is a law that all SW has to have reviewable code. (reviewable = downloadable, compilable, usable).
It's not that inconcievable.
The EU has a law that _requests_ all ingredients to be listed on food products, why not requesting code?

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Post by Void Main » Mon Sep 25, 2006 8:44 am

Jenda wrote:The absurdity of what I called overuse of copyright was once nicely described on a story (FOUND IT!!): http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?stor ... 4161112858
I think the problem is that you are intermingling copyright, DRM, patents, etc, all into one thing. For instance, the article you link to is about digital rights management which I think everyone who reads my forums is against. Copyright isn't mentioned in the article at all except for the copyright on the article itself attributed to Scott and PJ. :) Now, it is true that DRM can't happen without copyright being it's power but like I said, it's that same power to give us the ability to license our code under the GPL. You can't take the power away from the evil people and only give it to the good people. I'm with you on putting the smack down on DRM though.

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Post by Void Main » Mon Sep 25, 2006 8:48 am

Jenda wrote:
I am pretty sure you are wrong on this. Are you saying Micro$oft can not use code that is out in the public domain in their own software? I don't believe this to be true. They certainly use BSD code in their own software but BSD code is copyrighted and it does have a license attached to it with certain requirements that need to be fullfilled. That is, M$ can use BSD code and change it however they like and not release the source code. However, they do need to make sure a single line of attribution stays with the code. If you do a "strings" on some of the Micro$oft TCP/IP related executables you will see this (telnet.exe, ftp.exe, etc). BSD code is not the same as Public Domain code however. If they use public domain code they don't even have to attribute it. They can just use it as part of their own code unlike what you are claiming. Since there is no copyright on that public domain code who would/could sue them? So again, I am pretty sure you are wrong about this and would like to see some evidence to suggest otherwise.
M$. Understood.
They can use the code in their own works, but they have no way of legally preventing you from using it, even after it has been implemented in their own SW. In fact, the only way they can is by strictly guarding the source code...
Yes, but the point you are missing on this is the exact same point why a lot of us are against BSD code. Not because Microsoft can use the code in their own code and can't prevent me from using it, but that they can change that code to do something slightly different, making an open standard a defacto proprietary one because 98% of the world uses their software and then not give me the slightly modified version of the code preventing me from playing along. They are the 900 ton gorilla and can get away with things like that. They don't have to give me the source code to any of their binaries whether it contains public domain source or not. THAT is why public domain code is bad and THAT is why the proprietary company wins by default. That is why we need copyright to give us the power to put our code under a license like the GPL, to assure others the freedoms we want them to have. Microsoft can not use my GPL licensed code against me and it is only because I have the copyright on that code.

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Post by Jenda » Mon Sep 25, 2006 9:05 am

I agree - the article is more related to DRM. OTOH, DRM is nothing else than copyright enforcement.

As for your remaining point - taken, but would be easily solved by administering that all code must be available.

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Post by Void Main » Mon Sep 25, 2006 11:00 am

Jenda wrote:I agree - the article is more related to DRM. OTOH, DRM is nothing else than copyright enforcement.
I would argue that DRM is not really copyright enforcement at all but more specifically a way of enforcing a "bad license". It's in the license where the copyright holder spells out how they want their work used and DRM is only used on those bad licenses that contain overreaching restrictions. I wouldn't use DRM to prevent someone from violating my wishes as a copyright holder by breaking the rules of the GPL and taking my code and not releasing the changes to someone down the line that they sent binaries to.

I would say you could consider DRM to be "do not copy protection" but that isn't the same thing as "copyright protection". I believe the author should have some rights to what they create and they should be able to have some say in how what they create is used. As I said before, if I don't agree to the license that an author put on their work then I just don't use their work. That's one of many reasons why I don't use Microsoft Software. In fact it's one of the primary reasons.
As for your remaining point - taken, but would be easily solved by administering that all code must be available.
Again, I would agree that this could be a solution but it would be far from "easy". Did you ever try and fight a 900 ton gorilla? :)

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Post by Jenda » Mon Sep 25, 2006 11:08 am

We seem to have reached an agreement afterall :)

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Post by Calum » Tue Sep 26, 2006 3:49 pm

Ziation wrote:I regularly steal copyrighted code and pass it off as my own. Is this wrong?
that's definitely a topic on its own! That sentence makes me think it should end with "Discuss in no more than 6000 words." Who could tackle such a weighty philosophical question? Excellent!
Jenda wrote: M$. Understood.
They can use the code in their own works, but they have no way of legally preventing you from using it, even after it has been implemented in their own SW.
oh! no, actually the BSD licence allows you to use code in your own products, then release the resultant products WITHOUT the source code. If the software had been GPLd in the first place (instead of BSDd) then the redistributor would be obliged to also redistribute the code that they snaffled, as well as any modifications they may have made. This, to me, whether you say it is an artificial right, seems fairer than anybody being able to just pinch your code and get away with it (which is what doing away with copyright would mean).
all you need is a law that all SW has to have reviewable code. (reviewable = downloadable, compilable, usable).
It's not that inconcievable.
well, it seems you've answered my last comment (in part at least), however i have to say that considering you just said this about me:
the 'free will' you stand behind is no more than the power to limit the free will of others
I think it's only appropriate for me to point out that your idea of forcing everybody to release all their software under the GPL (a paraphrase of the legislation that you propose) is at least as totalitarian as anything i said.

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Post by Jenda » Tue Sep 26, 2006 3:57 pm

I think it's only appropriate for me to point out that your idea of forcing everybody to release all their software under the GPL (a paraphrase of the legislation that you propose) is at least as totalitarian as anything i said.
Agreed. We're talking artificial constructs of balance - choosing not _whether_ to limit freedom, but _where_ to limit it for the benefit of all.[/quote]

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Post by Void Main » Tue Sep 26, 2006 4:52 pm

Jenda wrote:
I think it's only appropriate for me to point out that your idea of forcing everybody to release all their software under the GPL (a paraphrase of the legislation that you propose) is at least as totalitarian as anything i said.
Agreed. We're talking artificial constructs of balance - choosing not _whether_ to limit freedom, but _where_ to limit it for the benefit of all.
Exactly, and _where_ to limit it is spelled out in the license. The GPL license obviously limits things at a different point than the MS EULA. However, I believe where to limit should be spelled out in the license, just as it is now. I also believe the holder of the copyright should be able to limit at whatever point they want and it is the copyright that gives us that power. I believe this is where we actually differ. I would like to believe that because of where software placed under the GPL puts the limit that it will indeed win out in the end and put most of the other garbage out to the curb. I may be giving too much credit to the average human but I would like to think they are for more freedom not less and are for good and not greed. Basically I want to see good win out by natural selection rather than it being forced by some law.

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Post by Calum » Wed Sep 27, 2006 11:19 am

i agree with void main again.

what void main proposes is the free will that i still advocate, regardless of certain comments to the contrary. this free will enables the writer, and therefore owner, of a work (book, song, software, painting, whatever) to specify the limits that users of their work can go to but not beyond.

By contrast the idea that the GPL's terms should be enacted into law as a compulaory framework for our new copyright (if you like) is completely against free speech. That would be at least as bad as the software patenting laws which we are in danger of stifling software development to a standstill. If the GPL was made a mandatory requirement for all newly released software, it would force everyone, users and creators, to abide by terms that nobody may agree with "for the good of all", but if nobody agrees that this law is for their own good, then who is it really good for?

i fail to see how i am supporting the freedom to limit others' freedom when, by comparison, your alternative is pure totalitarianism.

And for the record, i really *am* for freedom in every sense. i am against the idea of software patents etc etc, however i think that the price we pay for freedom is responsibility. Anyone who wants freedom must be prepared to THINK before saying and doing anything because they are RESPONSIBLE for what they say and do. In a situation where we are not free, those who impose limits are to blame for the consequences, in a free situation, those of us who take action are directly responsible for the consequences thereof.

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Post by Jenda » Wed Sep 27, 2006 4:32 pm

You still assume the writer owns a work. He owns the paper it's on. But how can he own the _way_ the ink is arranged on the paper?
In fact, it's hardly definable as ownership - that's why we have copyright (you don't own a song, you hold the copyright to it).
You assume the current state is the natural state - but it's not true, really.

The natural state is that one can use information in any way one wants. Now one is limited by the wishes of the person who claims to have created the information. (Much like the natural state of physical ownership is a hunter/gatherer one. What I find is mine...)

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