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Re: is Debian an anarchist organization/project?

On Wed, Oct 30, 2002 at 04:37:44PM +0100, Thomas Quinot wrote:
 TQ> This is a very common misconception. Free Software is in fact all
 TQ> about asserting and maintaining property rights. The reason why the
 TQ> GPL can exist is because society has established the rules of
 TQ> property and copyright, and allows an individual to determine which
 TQ> rights on his property he is willing to grant to others, and under
 TQ> which conditions.
 TQ> Property is the very fundation that guarantees that GPL'd software
 TQ> remains free. Without property, copyright, and law and a judicial
 TQ> system to enforce them, there is no free software anymore.

That is a very common misconception :)

At the very least, in contradicts with views of GPL inventors, the FSF.

1) The very maxim 'copyleft: all rights reversed' is directed against
the copyright: instead of limiting one's right to copy, it mandates it.

2) As I've already pointed out, GPL destroys notion of intellectual
property to replace it with possession.

3) Free software remains free not with help of property and judicial
system, but in spite of them: GPL is a clever trick that protects free
software from intellectual property by hanging so tightly to the
copyright that it becomes impossible to break GPL without breaking
copyright. But without copyright, GPL is not broken, it is just
unnecessary, which draws me to the next point.

4) It is of no coincidence that there wasn't any precedent yet of GPL
enforcement via court order. It is just not necessary, because the most
valuable thing in free software is not the software itself, but a
community behind it, because software is a service, not a product, and
it loses value without support, and any company considering violating
GPL soon finds that costs of being cut off from community support exceed
profits of having proprietary free software derivative.

5) Finally, the only way for the said company to reap the profits of
proprietary software would be to persecute anyone who attempts to
excercise their right to freely copy, use, and modify their software,
and GPL makes such persecution impossible: as I've already said, it
protects from, not builds upon, intellectual property and copyright.

Dmitry Borodaenko

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