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Re: [Gnu-arch-users] OT: Slavery???

From: Charles Duffy
Subject: Re: [Gnu-arch-users] OT: Slavery???
Date: Mon, 24 Nov 2003 04:36:56 -0600

On Mon, 2003-11-24 at 03:45, Peter Conrad wrote:
> > Your "right to contract" is not some a priori element of nature --
> > some personal liberty granted by a creative force -- which can be
> > modified only by constructing restrictions.
> > All but one of the GPL software freedoms (to run, copy, modify, and
> > distribute -- but not to obtain source), in contrast, _are_ a priori
> > elements of nature.
> Unless the term "element of nature" has some specific meaning in US law
> that I fail to understand, your claims seem totally at will and are
> completely unfounded. What makes running software more natural than
> a mutual agreement between two parties?

As I understand Tom's argument, the line of reasoning goes roughly as

Running a piece of software which one already posesses is something
which can be done without 3rd-party intervention or permission (the
latter absent a state-imposed monopoly such as that provided by

Engaging in a contract _with enforcement by the state_, on the other
hand, requires governmental cooperation; hence, it falls into a
different category. A "contract" without such enforcement, by Tom's
definition, is a "gentleman's agreement" as opposed to a contract

Now, hopefully Tom in correcting how I misunderstand his position will
help to make some portions of it more clear. :)

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