[cc-licenses] parallel distribution, closed technologies and freedom

Benj. Mako Hill mako at atdot.cc
Mon Dec 4 14:27:01 EST 2006

<quote who="Alek Tarkowski" date="Mon, Dec 04, 2006 at 11:56:05AM +0100">
> I don't think it makes sense to ask people for comments on your wiki
> if you don't plan to respond to them and prefer to talk on the
> mailing list. So I'm reposting my comment here:

I have responded to several other comments on that wiki page. I
thought my response to another comment had also answered your
question. I apologize if you feel that it did not.
> I have a rather "theoretical" comment regarding your position
> paper. You write:
> "PlayStations <http://wiki.mako.cc/PlayStations>, like cell phones
> and many other consumer technologies, are inherently and
> intentionally [...]  less empowering than other technologies. It is
> silly to consider banning the distribution of CC-licensed works to
> devices that are unable to take full advantage of the freedoms to
> modify and redistribute under CC licenses"
> I find this confusing in light of your freedom-based critique of
> some of the CC licenses. It seems that while you are against legal
> limitations to user freedom, you support technical limitiations to
> user freedom.

I don't *support* technological limitations. In fact, you can see
that I've spent a lot of time working on projects like OLPC
specifically because I think they help address important imbalances
in access to more flexible and empowering information technologies:


> Shouldn't a freedom-based position be critical also of technologies
> that make content un-free?

In fact, I am extremely critical of technologies that make content
non-free. I have been at least as active in opposing DRM as any of the
opponents of parallel distribution through Defective by Design,
through iRony, a RockBox installer I wrote, and through organized
anti-DRM install parties.  It's unfair to conflate advocacy of
parallel distribution with support for DRM. I will support DRM only in
situations where users have a non-DRMed version and where I feel that
the important negative effects of DRM are totally mitigated.

I think that the benefits and freedoms that parallel distribution
gives users (e.g., the ability to copy, redistribute, remix the
parallel copy on any non-DRM platform) outweighs the benefits to the
institution of DRM introduced by the ability of the same work play on
a device like a PlayStation. Others have disagreed with me.


Benjamin Mako Hill
mako at atdot.cc

Creativity can be a social contribution, but only in so
far as society is free to use the results. --RMS

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