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Re: [Gnugeneration-discuss] What ideas do you have for direct action tec
Re: [Gnugeneration-discuss] What ideas do you have for direct action techniques to further free software and free culture?
Mon, 16 Apr 2012 02:27:35 -0400
On Sun, 15 Apr 2012 23:48:07 -0400
Danny Piccirillo <address@hidden> wrote:
> *tl;dr: What kind of direct action protests can we do to fight
> non-free software and cultural works?*
> (Don't take this too seriously, and just skip to the end to get the
> the crux of the issue)
> There is a debate within the free culture and free software
> communities (presented within the scope of software, where it is most
> *Permissive vs Copyleft*
> Permissive licensing is mostly hands off, and allows for proprietary
> software to be made from free software. The argument here is that free
> software should be made by choice, or at least that the law shouldn't
> be relied upon to keep software free.
> Copyleft protects free software by preventing it from being
> appropriated to restrict users' freedom. One of the greatest
> opponents to free software is Apple, and they probably wouldn't be
> around (at least not as they are today) without taking free code
> (from BSD) and making it non-free. The argument here is clear:
> copyright can be a tool to protect free software.
> *Industry forces*
> This section isn't very articulate, sorry. Probably unnecessary as
> well, skip if it if you're busy and you can come back to it later.
> So long as we live in a capitalist society (disregarding any
> judgement of it), money drives business and production. There is no
> reason that giving things away for free is *good* for a business. It
> might not be bad, and it may be made to work for many businesses, but
> is it really the case that a particular business is better off
> financially by making all the software they produce free? It may be
> better that the industry/economy/world as whole would be better off,
> but businesses tend to do what's best for them, and best for them in
> the short term (hence privatizing everything, stocking up on IP, all
> sorts of stupid wasted energy that genuinely keeps the particular
> business in its position but holds everyone back collectively).
> Free software, IMHO, is produced in "enlightened self-interest", but
> if the open source (business friendly, better software, better
> development, etc) view is wrong, and free software isn't inherently
> better for business, then copyright is an excellent tool to protect
> free software (through copyleft licensing).
> *Direct action*
> What if we throw this framework out the window? Many grassroots social
> movements have depended on civil disobedience. Free software has no
> real form of protest. We, as users, can beg developers and companies
> to play nice and free their code (which makes no sense for businesses
> who make a killing off of proprietary software business models), and
> we can boycott, refuse to use proprietary software (as I think we
> should), but this is an extremely slow and painful way to get
> everyone using free software, truly impractical to expect from people.
> We can work within this scope of trying to fix laws and prevent worse
> laws from being enacted, but this is also slow and odds are not
> tilted in our favor. We can keep *making* free software, since we
> need that, but that's just enough to keep the dream alive. What can
> we do that truly disrupts the non-free media industry?
> *Traditional tactics*:
> Just to bang out a few of the worst...
> - Murder (just using Wikipedia's list of tactics): Certainly
> disruptive. Could yield results. In cases where software freedom is a
> matter of life
> death (life and death is a bizarre construction, because everything
> impacts human lives to varying degrees, and sometimes the most
> indirect causes have the most profound impacts), this could be an
> attempt to save more lives than cost. On the other hand, it could
> just be murder.
> - Assault: Scare tactic similar to murder.
> - Property destruction: If so much can be destroyed that it is no
> longer profitable <http://redd.it/mijlo> to make non-free works, then
> this could be an effective tactic, even if it is marked as terrorism.
> On the other hand, it would take a shit-ton of destruction and the
> type of people willing to do that for...software.
> - Sabotage: Usually requires insiders. Very risky. Similar effect
> on perceived legitimacy.
> Okay, so even when applied tactically (cutting off power or internet
> connection rather than burning down a building) we're probably all in
> agreement that those aren't good/feasible/sensible tactics. Let's
> move on...
> - Sit ins, human barricades, etc: Could disrupt a business but in
> the unbelievable event that people would actually participate in such
> an event, large market forces will dismiss the demand for free code
> as communist, etc.
> - Disruptive pranks: Make a mess or padlock gates to keep people
> from working might have some impact, but again, this is probably
> - Strikes, workplace occupations: Yeah, programmers are going to
> demand their employers make code free and destroy the stable business
> model that results in a paycheck?
> These traditional tactics tend to be successful for issues more in the
> public eye. Are there no tactics that are particularly good at
> disrupting the business of proprietary software and non-free works?
> Does it really just boil down to educating users, begging non-free
> producers, and cheerleading for free ones? Are any of these tactics
> actually useful (or would they be, if we did a better job of
> educating people on free culture issues)?
> *So, what ideas do you have for direct action techniques specifically
> to further free software and free culture?*
> Here are some:
> - Piracy: but it doesn't make proprietary software free.
> - Leak source code: Illegal to use, any software which does will
> likely have a tough time getting mass-adoption, but still awesome for
> reverse engineering formats and protocols.
> - Hacktivism: These are cool, but usually not very democratic.
> Either a capable person/group to deface a web page, or masses of
> people would be required to DDoS one. Still, how cool would it be to
> have the Sony website showing some images about DRM and suing hackers?
> - Email bombing: Maybe, difficult to get mass participation.
> - Your idea here!
side note, though ianal: every one of the "here are some" listings are
Basically to get it out more new tactics would need to be made.
"Piracy" does not help because it just gives them ammunition for even
more crippling legislature.
Leaking I have no positive/negative aside from the stated
hacktivism: media portrays you as evil, most people think you are.
large amount of the rest criticize for your "juvenile" methods, again
email bombing: see hacktivism, depending on the method. are you walking
w/ bots or a form of massed, but individual sending of some protest