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Re: FSF : lackeys of their corporate masters

From: Bernd Jendrissek
Subject: Re: FSF : lackeys of their corporate masters
Date: Fri, 7 May 2004 09:56:31 +0000 (UTC)
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Michael Elizabeth Chastain <> wrote:
>I hate to spend much energy on this discussion,

Naughty naughty naughty!  Get back to testing GDB right now!  :)

>but CheapBytes does not quite sell exact reproductions of Red Hat
>Linux.  According to, they sell "Pink Tie Linux".
>And the reason that they sell "Pink Tie Linux" instead of "Red Hat
>Linux" is that Red Hat threatened to sue them.  And the leverage that
>Red Hat uses is that some elements of Red Hat Linux, such as the name
>"Red Hat" and some of the artwork, are *not* licensed under the GPL.

This also show why "intellectual property" is, as the FSF scriptures
say, overly broad.  I see absolutely no reason why trademarks should not
be legally enforced mini-monopolies.  Isn't that their entire purpose -
to allow people to make money selling a *brand*?

>I agree with Stefaan.  I think that morally, the author of a work of
>software has the right to choose their own license;

But only within the framework of what the law allows.  And the FSF has
not just market-related goals (more Free Software), but *political* ones
as well: changing copyright law to *dis*allow the contracting away of
certain freedoms.  It wants those rights to be *inalienable*.

>and that economically, the original creator of a work bears expenses
>that they have to recover from the sale of copies -- and any cloners
>are getting a free ride on those expenses.

Yes, and yes.  But nobody has a right to make a profit; they do
(should), however, have the right to *try* to make a profit.

Selling a brand would be one way to still "recover" sunk development
costs, by (legally!) exploiting a mini-monopoly (exclusive use of a

>I think it should be the original author's choice whether to allow that
>free ride or not.

What if the law makes the right to freeride an inalienable one?  I'm not
sure I have much of a problem with that; us humans are fairly good at
adapting to change.  We'll also change to plug the free-rider holes.

>I also note that it's FSF policy to use to the GPL to restrict the ways
>in which other people can copy the FSF's copyrighted works.

Yes, they're effectively making certain freedoms inalienable, like they
would like copyright *law* to do.  They're effectively running their own
little copyright jurisdiction, where the GPL is as much a patch to the
law as it is a licence.

>The FSF could use less restrictive licenses such as BSD or even place
>their work into the public domain, but the FSF chooses not to do that.
>The FSF's rationale for having a license at all (as opposed to public
>domain) is that the use of the GPL will encourage the production of
>more software by people who like to see a world of Free Software.

I thought the rationale was to be able to enforce users' freedoms?
That's why they insist on copyright assignments, after all.

>I think this is entirely parallel to the choice of proprietary licenses
>by people who think that their proprietary license will encourage
>payment of $$$ to recoup their development expenses and earn a profit.

Parallel in more ways than one!

Us in the GPL crowd want to disallow proprietary licenses.
Those in the proprietary crowd want to disallow the GPL.

- -- (f1084a555d2098411cff4cefd41d2e2a1c85d18c)
bernd's stupid blog:
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