[Linux4christians] Re: Weighing In on the Freespire Debate
cammo at netcall.com.au
Thu May 11 01:10:36 EDT 2006
On Wed, May 10, 2006 at 10:13:04PM -0400, Rachel Ramey wrote:
> <<If I have to choose between the freedom to help my neighbour (just like I
> hope he'd help me) and not helping him, which should I choose? Why should
> the creator of the tools I want to use have any say in it?
> I would gladly take my hammer and help my neighbour build a wall. I would
> probably give him the hammer if he needed it. I would even carve out a new
> handle if the old one broke, basing the design on the original. If the
> original manufacturer who designed it told me I couldn't, I'd laugh at him.
> I often wonder what would happen if copyright was invented in Jesus' day.
> Mark would be a rich man--just look at the way Matthew and Luke ripped off
> his work! And then all those churches copying the gospels and the letters of
> Paul... communist hippies!>>
> Actually, what you're looking at IS *socialism*.
I don't dispute that. The philosophy of the Free Software movement does have a lot in common with small-s socialism, although it certainly fits into a truly capitalist economy as well. The idea is that we simply share what we can with one another.
You don't *have* "freedom
> to help your neighbor" if you are *compelled* to help your neighbor. I
> agree that it is admirable to *choose* to help one's neighbor. In fact, it
> is this doing good to others without compensation that demonstrates God's
> love for us.
But to take your argument to its logical end, the carpenter
> who builds your house should do it for free, the farmer who grows your food
> should just give it to you, Wal-Mart (or fill in whichever store you prefer)
> should provide your clothes free of charge. "The worker is worthy of his
I don't disagree, and I do believe the worker should be able to expect fair compensation. But I'm more concerned with the situation in which a worker wants to help their neighbour but can't, because it would violate copyright law.
>As for copyright, it exists not only to protect the author's right
> to compensation, but also to protect the integrity of the work. I am,
> myself, an author, so I will use one of my books as an example. I believe
> very strongly in the necessity of eating "whole foods" for health. I have
> written a how-to-cook book (a cooking curriculum) which is strongly
> "flavored" with this premise. (No pun intended.) If I did not have the
> exclusive legal right to edit and distribute this book, someone else could
> edit it so that it recommends junk foods - and distribute it like that. At
> that point, the content of the work would be completely *contrary* to my
> intent. I am strongly in favor of being gracious and generous with those
> who ask for permission to use one's work for morally-acceptable purposes in
> keeping with the design of the original work. However, I am also strongly
> in favor of the need for them to ask for that permission, unless the author
> has already blanketly granted it. A creation belongs to its creator. This
> is not a "new" idea; it began in Genesis. :)
Hmm, good point. There are two separate issues here. The compensation one is difficult--if Slashdot can't figure it all out after all these years I doubt this little smoulder fest (the flames haven't started yet ;-) ) will do it! Whilst I have my beliefs about this issue I'm not a programmer and thus I won't push my opinion too much, because it's not my livelihood I'm potentially destroying. I am a software user though, and I know which freedoms I value.
(I also have a concern about the way that some software companies charge far more than what is needed to fairly recompense their labourers. I doubt Bill Gates has done $50,000,000,000 worth of work in his life...!)
The issue of keeping the integrity of a work is closer to home. Whilst I don't write computer programmes or health food books, I do write music. The church I'm ordained in doesn't allow its ministers to take part in other employment, and we are expected to give the copyright of any artistic works we do to the church as well (it sounds bad when I put it that way! In practice, it works well.) I don't have to worry about making any money from what I produce, because the church pays me a fair salary.
I am about to start asking if it would be allowable to distribute my 'secular' work (eg music I've written for the town band) under a suitable Creative Commons licence, because the church simply wouldn't be interested in publishing it. I am happy for people to modify what I've written in any way they choose (musicians do that anyway!), but I am concerned about music being modified and redistributed with my name still on it.
However, experience has taught me that people will come up with amazing ways of rehashing what you have done, especially if you allow them to do it. Granted, there is a risk involved. If someone chooses to use it for an immoral purpose, that's between them and God. If we do our labour for the Lord, though, I think he will bless it, even if it's not the way we expect. Who knows, Rachel, a junk food book with some of your recipes in may be just the thing somebody needs to get off their grease addiction!
> Be blessed!
Already am, but happy for more!
> ~Rachel Ramey<><
> Linux4christians mailing list
> Linux4christians at thelinuxlink.net
Dinner not ready: (A)bort (R)etry (P)izza
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