Third Party Ideas
These articles give other people's philosophical
opinions in support of free software, or related issues, and don't
speak for the GNU project — but we more or less agree with them.
Many of the
Organizations that Work
for Freedom in Computer Development and Electronic Communications
also have philosophical opinions in support of free software, or
Trouble with “Free Riding”, by Timothy B. Lee.
Future of Copyright, an essay by Rasmus Fleischer.
Digital Stockholm Syndrome: reflections over some psychological
responses to market forces, by Pedro Rezende, University of Brasilia.
is a web site about the history and effects of copyright, dedicated
to raise awareness of the harmful consequences of today's copyright
How Vista Lets Microsoft Lock Users In by Cory Doctorow.
Note: We think it is a mistake to use the enemy's favorable-sounding propaganda terms such as
“trusted computing” to describe a malicious plan.
Scott Carpenter's blog with many freedom-related articles.
A couple of lessons on the hazards of proprietary software.
Multiple doctors cut off from records by Dr. Notes
an example of how proprietary software gives the developers unjust power over the users.
- Jimmy Wales explains why
Free Knowledge requires Free Software and Free File Formats in this paper. He also exposes why
Wikipedia needs to be free software.
- Software patents under the
magnifying glass. In this article the author uses arguments
based on lambda calculus to show why software cannot be patented.
- Free gadgets need free
software, an editorial reporting a firmware “upgrade” that
removes the ability to record radio broadcasts.
- Lakhani and Wolf's
paper on the
motivation of free software developers says that a considerable fraction are motivated by the view that software should be free. This was despite the fact that they surveyed the developers on SourceForge, a site that does not support the view that this is an ethical issue.
sends a Dear Darl letter; a group from the free software and
open source community has put together a response to SCO CEO Darl
McBride's Open Letter to the Open Source Community.
Central [Archived Page]. We disagree with one aspect of this article's
conclusion: It's not legitimate for Microsoft to help Disney and the
RIAA impose Digital Restrictions Management on you, any more than it
is legitimate for Disney and the RIAA to try it. The full power of
computing should be available to you, not just to the owners of
- The SCO Sue Me Petition has overwhelmed its inceptor
and the petition is no longer taking votes. The author
of the petition, John Everitt, was expecting only several
responses but instead he had thousands of participants. In the
last available public communication about the petition, he
urged people to help FSF in any
- Senator Alberto Conde's answer to CESSI regarding Bill E-135/02-03 which proposes use of Free Software in the public sector for the province of Buenos Aires. The bill has been submitted by Senator Alberto Conde himself.
- Some economists argue that copyright and patents
promote the progress that they supposedly exist to promote.
This article takes a narrowly economic view of its subject, measuring
social alternatives only by what goods are available for what price,
assuming that you the citizen are a mere consumer and place no value
on your freedom in itself. It also uses the misleading term
property”, which is misleading because it lumps copyrights and
patents together. The article also lumps them together, which it can
get away with because it ignores the (different) social issues that
copyrights and patents raise.
Despite those flaws, it is significant. If one can judge copyright to
be harmful even on narrow economic terms, disregarding the ethical
wrong of stopping people from sharing, it can only be more harmful
once we consider the ethics as well.
- Two articles by Duncan Campbell describe how NSA backdoors were
hidden in proprietary software programs:
“Only NSA can
listen, so that's OK” and “How NSA
access was built into Windows”. Both are clear demonstrations of how
users of proprietary software can often be unaware of what they are
C.P.U.” by Harry Hillman Chartrand is a good summary of the history of
- Malla Pollack's
is Congress Supposed to Promote?” explains how the United States'
government's recent tendencies to provide maximum control to copyright
holders defies the justification for establishment of copyright set out
in the constitution.
- Peruvian Congressman Dr. Edgar David Villanueva Nuñez wrote a
letter to a Microsoft manager after they wrote expressing concern about
the country's pending Free Software in Public Administration bill. It
does an excellent job of allaying concerns about free software often
raised by Microsoft and others. The English translation of the letter is
historian Thomas Macaulay had ideas about copyright in 1841
which still hold true today.
- openrevolt.org was a site devoted to providing information about
the European Copyright Directive and similar legislation. It
concentrated on the two principal problems of the EUCD, which made
it easier for copyright holders to censor webpages on ISPs and gave
legal protection to copy-protection measures.
- Chilling Effects is
a collection point for cease and desist notices concerning online
activity — we invite visitors to enter C&Ds they have
received or sent. The website collects the C&Ds in a searchable
database and hyperlinks them to explanations of the legal
Coding is a Crime, by Shannon Cochran, is a commentary on the indictment
of Jon Johansen on felony charges for helping write DeCSS.
- The Second Enclosure Movement
and the Construction of the Public Domain., by James Boyle.
Property: The Attack on Public Space in Cyberspace, by Howard Besser,
describes how various industries are using their leverage with copyright
to make fewer locations on the Internet less and less public.
Copyright Within the First Amendment Skein,”, by Neil W. Netanel,
argues that the United States court system has been wrong in its dated
assumption that fair use eliminates the conflict between copyright law
and the First Amendment.
- Richard Stallman co-signed
joint statement responding to comments by Craig Mundie of Microsoft
- In Patent Reform
Now!, Don Marti calls for free software supporters to
nominate Richard M. Stallman to US Patent and Trademark Office's
Patent Public Advisory Committee.
- Stop H.R. 3028,
“The Trademark Cyberpiracy Prevention Act of 1999”.
- "The GNU Project FTP Site: A Digital Collection Supporting a Social Movement" [Archived Page]
discriminates against students using GNU/Linux. One part of
their justification is supporting the power of software
owners. [Archived Page]
Them And Weep [Archived Page], by Simson Garfinkel, talks about the
pending bills that would give information owners sweeping new powers,
and restrict the activities of users.
- Applying Copyleft To
Non-Software Information, by Michael Stutz.
the Free World Can Stand Up to Microsoft, by Tom Hull.
Free Music Philosophy, by Ram Samudrala.
- Record companies argue for more copyright power by saying they are
the support of the musicians.
This article shows
how record companies really treat musicians.
primer on the ethics of “Intellectual property”, by Ram Samudrala.
- Is Self-Interest Sufficient to
Organize an Free Economy? by Loyd Fueston.
- People, places, things and ideas by Kragen Sitaker
- The Libertarian Case
Against Intellectual Property Rights by Roderick T. Long
The Free Software Movement does not endorse Libertarianism, and
not agree entirely with that article. But it is useful for
one specific argument that is made in favor of proprietary software.
Free Software and the Death of Copyright
Electronic Community: Representations of Virtual Community in
Contemporary Business Discourse by Chris Werry.
- Does Studying
Economics Inhibit Cooperation? by Frank, Gilovich, and Regan.
Ethical Trading, and Free Software by Danny Yee.
- THE BALLAD OF DENNIS KARJALA:
A political comment in the form of a broadside ballad
by Timothy R. Phillips.
Collaborative ICT Development and Initiatives for Global
Prosperity by Robert J. Chassell
Competitive Advantages of Free Software by Alexandre Oliva.
- Patent grant under the GPL.
Concept of Copyright Fights for Internet Survival by John
Real Purpose of Copyright by John N. Berry III.
- Copyrighting Fire! (Humor) by Ian Clarke.
- The Future Brings “Infirmation Technology” by
- The Free Protocols
Foundation is an independent public forum, dedicated to the
support of patent-free protocols.
- Software Libre and Commercial Viability by Alessandro Rubini
Information liberation by Brian Martin. We urge people to avoid
using the term intellectual
property and to instead speak about copyrights, patents, and/or
- Seat Sale, a
satire about copyright.
- A gallery
of examples demonstrating how outrageous and absurd the Digital
Millennium Copyright Act is.
- A book review of
- Piecepack is a set of
boardgame pieces which everyone is free to use in creating or playing
various types of games.
- Eastern Gianozia has put together a tongue-in-cheek
look at Software Patents and DRM.
- Free Software and Scouting
- Patents Are An Economic Absurdity: This article adopts as a premise the popular view that free trade is desirable. We don't always agree - beyond a certain point, free trade gives businesses too much power, allowing them to intimidate democracy. But that is a different matter.
- In Defense of Napster and Against the Second Homesteading Rule
- Against Intellectual Property, Spring 2001, Journal of Libertarian Studies (PDF)
A Comparative Ethical Assessment of Free Software Licensing Schemes
by Samir Chopra and Scott Dexter
- The SIM.ONE
hardware project has created free (as in freedom)
computer design specifications.
- Not available online, but as early as 1960 Bernard Galler wrote a
letter to the editor of the Communications of the ACM (vol.3, no.4,
pp.A12-A13), saying in part (mentioning price, but clearly implying
(Thanks to Nelson Beebe for the reference.)
… it is clear that what is being
charged for is the development of the program, and
while I am particularly unhappy that it comes from a
university, I believe it is damaging to the whole
profession. There isn't a 704 installation that hasn't
directly benefited from the free exchange of programs
made possible by the distribution facilities of SHARE.
If we start to sell our programs, this will set very
Links to more philosophy articles