[cc-licenses] cc-licenses Digest, Vol 33, Issue 1
phnuda at yahoo.com
Fri Dec 2 10:25:05 EST 2005
You say the GPL restricts freedom in order to promote freedom. But is software licensing and intellectual property law really the greatest threat to creativity in the world?
In some peoples opinion the greatest threat to creativity are the rule of violence and barbarism. For example in many countries (China) people have no freedom to create not because of corporations or intellectual property laws, but because of state repression of free speech.
So, by shipping millions of man hours worth of GPL code to the Chinese government, which it then uses to oppress people and destroy their freedom of speech, you aren't protecting the 'freedom to create' at all. The same is true in many countries in which computer technology is increasingly being used by the powerful against the weak. The nature of computers has often been to favor the wicked.
Some say computers are 'inherently good' and allow free information flow. In another breath, these same people will tell you 'technology is neutral, therefore its creators are not responsible for its uses by society'. So which is it? Are computers inherently good or are they neutral?
If they are neutral, then it is we human beings who decide how they are used, and thus our responsibility to push for the proper use of these tools by society, and push against improper use. That is what the GPL does. It pushes against restrictions on 'freedom to create', a certain type of freedom that I claim is under threat not simply from IP lawyers.
And despite the various controveries from extremist groups about various activities and their ethical priority, there are generally accepted standards across the world that have formed the backbone of civilized societies as they progress from backwards and warlike to prosperity. Freedom of speech is one of the first.
You say that my examples don't cover all cases. They can't. Law is an inexact practice. Some people create rules and then other people always try to find ways around those rules. That doesn't mean that the rules are pointless or worthless. It becomes a continous process to update the rules.
As for Mongo and Chaco, there is no evidence either way other than one person's statement. That is not evidence by any scientific standard. Some simple email archives or source code would be sufficient. If the question has truly been examined to an extent worthy of an intellectual and curious race, then these pieces of evidence would not be hard to come by.
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1. Re: human rights license (rob at robmyers.org)
Date: Thu, 01 Dec 2005 11:14:55 +0000
From: rob at robmyers.org
Subject: Re: [cc-licenses] human rights license
To: cc-licenses at lists.ibiblio.org
Cc: cc-community at lists.ibiblio.org
Message-ID: <20051201111455.ag9ioa6qs04wco8s at webmail.robmyers.org>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1; format="flowed"
This really should be on cc-community. I've cross-posted it.
Quoting phyllostachys nuda
> Who decides what is ethical: Anyone can decide a starting set of
> rules. Others will expand the list in the future in various other
> licenses. They can steal ideas from human rights law, such as the
> Geneva Conventions, etc.
But the UN Declaration of Human Rights is itself complex and requires
interpretation. Piecemeal introduction of ideas from it into another ethical
system will not make that system any more rigorous.
As for anyone deciding a starting set of rules, various extremist
groups have a
fairly different idea of what is ethical from you or I. Some of them may write
good code (or, to drag this remotely back on list topic, produce good
illustrations or music). They can deny us use of their work because we
it for ends *they* regard as non-ethical.
Whereas if we make the only freedom the license is concerned with the
create, we are all at least free to create in the pursuit of our own social
> Who would use it: Everyone can decide for themselves to use it or
> not, just like when GPL etc first started out. It doesn't matter if a
> ton of people don't use it.
But it does matter if it is ultimately self-defeating.
> Its not free: Irrelevant. The GPL is not totally 'free',
It protects the freedom it is designed to. Don't confuse liberty with
a free lunch.
> nor are certain versions of Creative Commons. That doesn't make them
> bad licenses.
ND and NC may be regarded as ethical constraints. ND protects the author's
unique voice, NC protects their ability not to starve. Both restrict creative
The GPL (and BY-SA) protect the freedom to create by removing the
freedom to use
the work they cover from people who refuse to protect that freedom.
This is what
I mean by these licenses being reflexive. An "ethical" license removes the
freedom to use work for other reasons. Which is very different and opens a
Pandora's box of possible reasons and motivations which have nothing to
creativity and in fact prevent people from being able to create.
> What exactly would be ethical:
> How about this for starters
> 1. 'this code shall not be used, in whole or in part, in any
> software or hardware system that is used for torturing prisoners or
OK. But your license doesn't cover Guatanamo Bay, where enemy combatants are
being interrogated. Or the use of your work in biological or quantum torture
systems. Or for the torture of civilians attacked in their homes.
> 2. 'this code shall not be used, in whole or in part, in any
> software or hardware guidance system for any missile or artillery
> projectile system whose purpose is the delivery of biological,
> chemical, or nuclear weapons'
What about energy weapons to induce pain? Or nanotechnological weapons?
phosphorous, or napalm, or fuel-air explosive? Or laser blinding weapons?
Or bullets for that matter.
> Mongo and Chaco prove it won't work: This is only one case study and
> it is not convincing. We have the word of a single person as to what
Which part of their description do you have evidence is false?
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