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Re: [Fsfe-uk] Richard Stallman 1st seminar

From: Simon Waters
Subject: Re: [Fsfe-uk] Richard Stallman 1st seminar
Date: Tue, 03 Dec 2002 10:06:24 +0000

"Rogue M.Vox" wrote:
> I'm particularly interested to have a second listen to RMS arguments in 
> support of music sharing... I was not particularly impressed by that part to 
> be honest. If the FSF has for goal to achieve freedom for the consumers in 
> that area, maybe they should consult some insiders before spreading a 
> message. I could happily demonstrate that a system without record companies 
> applied today would completely kill the average semi-professional musician 
> and as a result not benefit the public at all!

I'm fairly sure it is not a stated FSF goal, which is concerned
with software. But I don't remember RMS making clear who he was
speaking for, I assumed he was speaking for himself. Either way
I think it was intended to widen the debate, and make the
students at the LSE (and others) question the copyright bargain.

I'd like to hear your comments but I'm not sure this is the
forum for music copyright debate, then again it is too quiet in

I suspect we need to distinguish the role of publishers in
making copies of information (hardly difficult these days) for
the other roles a publisher may fulfil - promotion, recording
facilities etc. 

Although in the examples given the promotion was paid for by the
musicians out of royalties, and presumably promoters would still
exist and get paid in whatever structure results. The objection
is that publishers seek (have attained in the US, so American
perspectives may be several months or years ahead of European
experiences) to make it harder to copy, and thus retain their
monopoly on doing something which is essentially trivial. The
death throes of the of the copying industry could put IT back
decades if allowed to have their way.

> I liked his distinction on the type of work and the approach necessary in 
> order to reform copyright in each case though.

For those not attending the suggestion was to classify all
copyrighted works based on their main use as "functional",
"entertainment", and a third category (for which I forget
Richard's terminology) which includes opinion. Different rules
were proposed for each category, the suggestion that functional
be treated as free of copyright (although I assume some new
legislation would apply where the product of functional work
like software was removed from the human readable form in some

Anyway it was good to meet some other GNU project people in
person, virtual interactions aren't quite the same, and don't
tend to involve so much chinese food ;-)


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