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Re: [address@hidden: Re: Free Software Logo -> Where does FSF go?]

From: Richard Stallman
Subject: Re: [address@hidden: Re: Free Software Logo -> Where does FSF go?]
Date: Sun, 01 Nov 2020 00:17:39 -0400

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  > > > I believed that the ethical spirit that originated GNU and GPL
  > > > (copyleft), and that is the basis of the FSF, was exactly that of
  > > > opposing trademarks, copyrights and patents.  
  > > 
  > > That is my perception too.

That's not how it was, or is.  Copyright, patents and trademarks are
separate, unrelated issues.  I formed my views about them separately,
and reached a different conclusion about each one.

I started out with the idea that software should be free.  Later I
concluded that other kinds of works for practical use should also be
free (especially educational works).  Also, I concluded that
noncommercial sharing should be legal for all works.

But I have never been in favor of abolishing copyright.  If you read you will see
where I stand.

In 1983 I was not aware of software patents, which had been authorized
in a limited way just a year before and hardly had any effect on
anyone yet.  When I learned how harmful they were, I called for their
abolution.  Nowadays I advocate eliminating the patent system
entirely.  See

I am not opposed to trademarks.  There are a few details in trademark
law which favor large companies, and those should be changed.
However, by and large trademarks are good for society.

It is a mistake to lump those three laws (and other laws) together.  The term
"intellectual property" encourages trying to generalize about tham,
and that is one of the reasons we should refuse to accept it.

Dr Richard Stallman
Chief GNUisance of the GNU Project (
Founder, Free Software Foundation (
Internet Hall-of-Famer (

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