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Re: [Gnugeneration-discuss] What ideas do you have for direct action tec

From: Tekk
Subject: Re: [Gnugeneration-discuss] What ideas do you have for direct action techniques to further free software and free culture?
Date: Mon, 16 Apr 2012 02:27:35 -0400

On Sun, 15 Apr 2012 23:48:07 -0400
Danny Piccirillo <address@hidden> wrote:

> from:
> *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
> relevant):
> *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
> and<>
> 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 <> 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
>    - 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
> stupid.
>    - 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
illegal :)
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
letter thing?

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