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www/philosophy pirate-party.html

From: Rob Myers
Subject: www/philosophy pirate-party.html
Date: Thu, 23 Jul 2009 16:54:34 +0000

CVSROOT:        /web/www
Module name:    www
Changes by:     Rob Myers <robmyers>    09/07/23 16:54:34

Added files:
        philosophy     : pirate-party.html 

Log message:
        Add Pirate Party article. #465615


Index: pirate-party.html
RCS file: pirate-party.html
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+<!--#include virtual="/server/header.html" -->
+<title>How the Swedish Pirate Party Platform Backfires on Free Software</title>
+<!--#include virtual="/server/banner.html" -->
+<h2>How the Swedish Pirate Party Platform Backfires on Free Software</h2>
+<p>by <a href="http://www.stallman.org/";>Richard Stallman</a></p>
+<p>The bullying of the copyright industry in Sweden inspired the launch
+of the first political party whose platform is to reduce copyright
+restrictions: the Pirate Party. Its platform includes the prohibition
+of Digital Restrictions Management, legalization of noncommercial
+sharing of published works, and shortening of copyright for commercial
+use to a five-year period. Five years after publication, any
+published work would go into the public domain.</p>
+<p>I support these changes, in general; but the specific combination
+chosen by the Swedish Pirate Party backfires ironically in the special
+case of free software. I'm sure that they did not intend to hurt
+free software, but that's what would happen.</p>
+<p>The GNU General Public License and other copyleft licenses use
+copyright law to defend freedom for every user. The GPL permits
+everyone to publish modified works, but only under the same license.
+Redistribution of the unmodified work must also preserve the license.
+And all redistributors must give users access to the software's source
+<p>How would the Swedish Pirate Party's platform affect copylefted free
+software? After five years, its source code would go into the public
+domain, and proprietary software developers would be able to include
+it in their programs. But what about the reverse case?</p>
+<p>Proprietary software is restricted by EULAs, not just by copyright,
+and the users don't have the source code. Even if copyright permits
+noncommercial sharing, the EULA may forbid it. In addition, the
+users, not having the source code, do not control what the program
+does when they run it. To run such a program is to surrender your
+freedom and give the developer control over you.</p>
+<p>So what would be the effect of terminating this program's copyright
+after 5 years? This would not require the developer to release source
+code, and presumably most will never do so. Users, still denied the
+source code, would still be unable to use the program in freedom.
+The program could even have a "time bomb" in it to make it stop
+working after 5 years, in which case the "public domain" copies would
+not run at all.</p>
+<p>Thus, the Pirate Party's proposal would give proprietary software
+developers the use of GPL-covered source code after 5 years, but it
+would not give free software developers the use of proprietary source
+code, not after 5 years or even 50 years. The Free World would get
+the bad, but not the good. The difference between source code and
+object code and the practice of using EULAs would give proprietary
+software an effective exception from the general rule of 5-year
+copyright -- one that free software does not share.</p>
+<p>We also use copyright to partially deflect the danger of software
+patents. We cannot make our programs safe from them -- no program is
+ever safe from software patents in a country which allows them -- but
+at least we prevent them from being used to make the program
+effectively non-free. The Swedish Pirate Party proposes to abolish
+software patents, and if that is done, this issue would go away. But
+until that is achieved, we must not lose our only defense for
+protection from patents.</p>
+<p>Once the Swedish Pirate Party had announced its platform, free
+software developers noticed this effect and began proposing a special
+rule for free software: to make copyright last longer for free
+software, so that it can continue to be copylefted. This explicit
+exception for free software would counterbalance the effective
+exception for proprietary software. Even ten years ought to be
+enough, I think. However, the proposal met with resistance from the
+Pirate Party's leaders, who objected to the idea of a longer copyright
+for a special case.</p>
+<p>I could support a law that would make GPL-covered software's source
+code available in the public domain after 5 years, provided it has the
+same effect on proprietary software's source code. After all,
+copyleft is a means to an end (users' freedom), not an end in itself.
+And I'd rather not be an advocate for a stronger copyright.</p>
+<p>So I proposed that the Pirate Party platform require proprietary
+software's source code to be put in escrow when the binaries are
+released. The escrowed source code would then be released in the
+public domain after 5 years. Rather than making free software an
+official exception to the 5-year copyright rule, this would eliminate
+proprietary software's unofficial exception. Either way, the result
+is fair.</p>
+<p>A Pirate Party supporter proposed a more general variant of the first
+suggestion: a general scheme to make copyright last longer as the
+public is granted more freedoms in using the work. The advantage of
+this is that free software becomes part of a general pattern of
+varying copyright term, rather than a lone exception.</p>
+<p>I'd prefer the escrow solution, but any of these methods would avoid a
+prejudicial effect specifically against free software. There may be
+other solutions that would also do the job. One way or another, the
+Pirate Party of Sweden should avoid placing a handicap on a movement
+to defend the public from marauding giants.</p>
+<!--#include virtual="/server/footer.html" -->
+<div id="footer">
+Please send FSF &amp; GNU inquiries to 
+<a href="mailto:address@hidden";>&lt;address@hidden&gt;</a>.
+There are also <a href="/contact/">other ways to contact</a>
+the FSF.
+<br />
+Please send broken links and other corrections or suggestions to
+<a href="mailto:address@hidden";>&lt;address@hidden&gt;</a>.
+Please see the 
+<a href="/server/standards/README.translations.html">Translations
+README</a> for information on coordinating and submitting
+translations of this article.
+<p>Copyright &copy; 2009 Richard Stallman</p>
+<p>This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-No
+Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. To view a copy of this
+visit <a 
+or send a letter to Creative Commons, 171 Second Street, Suite 300,
+San Francisco, California, 94105, USA.</p>
+<!-- timestamp start -->
+$Date: 2009/07/23 16:54:27 $
+<!-- timestamp end -->
+<div id="translations">
+<h4>Translations of this page</h4>
+<!-- Please keep this list alphabetical by language code. -->
+<!-- Comment what the language is for each type, i.e. de is German. -->
+<!-- Write the language name in its own language (Deutsch) in the text. -->
+<!-- If you add a new language here, please -->
+<!-- advise address@hidden and add it to -->
+<!--  - /home/www/html/server/standards/README.translations.html -->
+<!--  - one of the lists under the section "Translations Underway" -->
+<!--  - if there is a translation team, you also have to add an alias -->
+<!--  to mail.gnu.org:/com/mailer/aliases -->
+<!-- Please also check you have the language code right; see: -->
+<!-- http://www.loc.gov/standards/iso639-2/php/code_list.php -->
+<!-- If the 2-letter ISO 639-1 code is not available, -->
+<!-- use the 3-letter ISO 639-2. -->
+<!-- Please use W3C normative character entities. -->
+<ul class="translations-list">
+<!-- English -->
+<li><a href="/philosophy/pirate-party.html">English</a>&nbsp;[en]</li>

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