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RMS says Creative Commons Unacceptable 647

Posted by Zonk
from the baby-with-the-bathwater dept.
Mr A Coward writes "Richard Stallman has stated in an interview that he no longer supports Creative Commons licenses. In the interview carried on LinuxP2P.com, and which is largely about the P2P and DRM issues, Stallman ends by saying: 'I no longer endorse Creative Commons. I cannot endorse Creative Commons as a whole, because some of its licenses are unacceptable.' He suggests instead using the GPL for creative works." The crux of his argument is that, since he disagrees with some of the CC licenses, and people tend to lump them all together, he feels compelled to reject them all. What's your take? Are some Creative Commons licenses worth using, even if others aren't?
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RMS says Creative Commons Unacceptable

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  • What bunk! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Mrs. Grundy (680212) on Tuesday February 07, 2006 @01:21PM (#14661327) Homepage
    I'm sure this won't make me a lot of new friends on /. but there is some serious bunk here and the creative commons complaints is the least of it. Mr. Stallman seems to be metaphor-challenged. While he minces words about the difference between intellectual property and copyright in one sentence, in another he says:

    RMS: People have a right to share copies of published works; P2P programs are simply a means to do it more usefully, and that is a good thing.

    If we are going to mince words maybe we should start with an honest appraisal of the difference between sharing (as in borrowing a book) and copying. All of us who make a living being creative understand the shortcomings of current copyright legislation and know that we need people to think about creative work in new ways if we are going to take IP law into the 21st century; we know tilting in favor of multi-national corporations at the expense of individuals is a mistake, but we are not going to get anywhere with the type of lazy thinking which asserts things like, "If copyright law forbids people from sharing, copyright law is wrong." I'll take Lawrence Lessig's [lessig.org] ideas over Mr. Stallman's any day.

    • Re:What bunk! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Omnifarious (11933) * <eric-slash@omnif ... s.org minus city> on Tuesday February 07, 2006 @01:32PM (#14661455) Homepage Journal

      So, please explain to me how you can have a sane system of laws that restrict things like sharing over P2p and don't restrict things like letting a friend read a book. In a digital world, I do not believe this is possible.

      So, I would say that in the final analysis Lessig's ideas reduce to Stallman's. They are just more palatable to you because they seem to say something different, and you hold out some forlorn hope that there is a reasonable way to restrict digital copies.

      • Re:What bunk! (Score:4, Insightful)

        by FortKnox (169099) * on Tuesday February 07, 2006 @01:34PM (#14661486) Homepage Journal
        So, please explain to me how you can have a sane system of laws that restrict things like sharing over P2p and don't restrict things like letting a friend read a book. In a digital world, I do not believe this is possible.

        'sharing over P2P' doesn't make sense. When it is over, you have a copy, and I have a copy. You are not 'sharing' your copy, you are creating and giving me a copy.
        This isn't rocket science, people!
        • Re:What bunk! (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Omnifarious (11933) *

          Uh, huh. So, you have to copy a program from disk into memory in order for it to run. Is that illegal? How about if you have a huge cluster?

          Also, tell me how you restrict making a copy without breaking into people's computers or putting police chips in everything? Which is worse, a world in which people can freely copy stuff, or a world in which every single move you make with anything digital is carefully monitored so you can't? There isn't much of an in-between here you know. I you don't have the c

        • Re:What bunk! (Score:3, Interesting)

          by baadger (764884)
          So I suppose to port the idea of lending or sharing a book or movie to a friend you would have to have it so your copy is disabled for a period of time whilst their copy in unlocked. Sort of like giving your friends access to a user/pass restricted website which is restricted to the visitors IP address for a fixed period of time after you login.

          If such a DRM scheme was possible without tamper we would indeed have the perfect 'sharing' mechanism.
      • So, please explain to me how you can have a sane system of laws that restrict things like sharing over P2p and don't restrict things like letting a friend read a book. In a digital world, I do not believe this is possible.

        I suspect that the answer to your question is quite apparent to you, but you're really looking to generate a theoretical debate about what form "information" must take to be considered infringing. We don't live in a digital world, we live in a practical world - think practically.

        -h-
        • Re:What bunk! (Score:5, Insightful)

          by IgnoramusMaximus (692000) on Tuesday February 07, 2006 @01:55PM (#14661731)
          We don't live in a digital world, we live in a practical world - think practically.

          In both cases the thing being "shared" is information. The difference is that in the case of the book, the information is coupled with a physical object and thus causes the confusion in the form of some people's physical-world-coupled simian brains being unable to realize what it is they are sharing. Any "practical" measures to restrict sharing of information (which is what this is all about) will and must lead to totalitarian measures in regards to digital communication equipment i.e. computers and internet. It is not only "practical" but the only way.

    • Re:What bunk! (Score:3, Insightful)

      by HardCase (14757)
      I'll be your buddy.

      RMS has made a cottage industry out of passing his opinions off as fact. He believes that copyright laws are unethical, therefore it is a fact that copyright laws are unethical.

      Now maybe in a reality-free zone where everybody works for the common good and nobody takes more than his* fair share, that would be a reasonable thing to pass off as a fact. But Stallman's "facts" are impractial in the real world.

      The guy is an idealogue. More power to him for practicing what he preaches, but hi
      • you, too (Score:5, Insightful)

        by idlake (850372) on Tuesday February 07, 2006 @01:54PM (#14661727)
        Now maybe in a reality-free zone where everybody works for the common good and nobody takes more than his* fair share, that would be a reasonable thing to pass off as a fact. But Stallman's "facts" are impractial in the real world.

        Human beings have produced great art, science, and engineering for millennia in the absence of copyright protection. The assertion that copyrights and patents have any social or economic merit at all is at best unproven.

        So, the ideologues trying to push unproven ideas on the rest of us are people like you, people who make strained arguments that somehow society needs to bear the costs and complexities of IP law.

        Go prove your case before you whine about Stallman.
        • Re:you, too (Score:5, Insightful)

          by sammy baby (14909) on Tuesday February 07, 2006 @02:17PM (#14662010) Journal
          Human beings have produced great art, science, and engineering for millennia in the absence of copyright protection.

          And you can see the result! People trading copies of the Sistine Chapel all over the streets of Milan! Bootleg recordings of the Brandenburg Concertos leaked far and wide before Bach's official release date!

          (The reason we didn't need COPYRIGHT LAW for so long was that it was so damn hard to COPY THINGS. Duh.)
      • Re:What bunk! (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Valdrax (32670) on Tuesday February 07, 2006 @02:01PM (#14661797)
        The guy is an idealogue. More power to him for practicing what he preaches, but his "my way or the highway" philosophy really marginalizes any arguments that he presents.

        Exactly. One of my major reasons for disliking RMS is that he has a very black-and-white "you're all with us or you're all against us" philosophy. Since he has problems with a few of the Creative Commons compatible licenses, they must all be rejected in his mindset. It's just so him. Of course, he naturally suggests that the GPL be used instead because it's his solution and thus it's correct for everything.

        This is the same sort of uncompromising attitude that fuels religious conflicts everywhere. "If you're not just like me, then you're evil." RMS is a dogmatist. It doesn't matter if you think he's right in his stance, his arrogant, dismissive attitude is inexcusable.
      • Re:What bunk! (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Richard W.M. Jones (591125) <rich@anne[ ].org ['xia' in gap]> on Tuesday February 07, 2006 @02:27PM (#14662141) Homepage

        But Stallman's "facts" are impractial in the real world.

        Last time I checked, copyright goes completely against the laws of physics. It's a human construct designed to make bits uncopyable. In the words of Bruce Schneier [businessweek.com], it's akin to trying to make water not wet.

        Now maybe in a reality-free zone where everybody works for the common good and nobody takes more than his* fair share, that would be a reasonable thing to pass off as a fact.

        Well, no. What you do, as with free software, is accept -- indeed welcome -- the fact that bits can be copied. You then charge people for your time. Sure - you won't be the next Microsoft doing this. But the good old capitalist economy will be better off if the Microsoft tax on basic business goes away. There's no communism here. This is the free market at work. Without artificial monopolies.

        Rich.

    • It's not lazy thinking. It's what he believes, and he is up front and honest about it.
    • Re:What bunk! (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Tuesday February 07, 2006 @01:59PM (#14661783)
      we are not going to get anywhere with the type of lazy thinking which asserts things like, "If copyright law forbids people from sharing, copyright law is wrong." I'll take Lawrence Lessig's ideas over Mr. Stallman's any day.

      One thing Stallman is not is a lazy thinker. In fact, I charge you with being a lazy thinker. You who are too lazy to see your way past the status quo. Who, in endorsing Lessig over Stallman seem to think a simple modification of the principles of copyright are enough to reconcile the creator's need for compensation with the internet's inherent zero-marginal cost nature.

      You are wrong and Stallman is right. Jack Valenti unknowingly said it best -- "You can't compete with free." What Valenti did not understand, you do not understand and Stallman does understand is that basic axiom - if you can't beat them, join them.

      One such method of "joining them" is a modern version of comissioned art. The internet makes it easy to share copies with a billion of your best friends, it also has the potential to easily aggregate funding from a billion "patrons."

      Take the defunct TV show "Farscape" as an example. Production costs per episode were on the order of $2-3M each. If the production company is able to guarantee $3.3M in revenue per episode that means a ROI of at least 10% which is decent in the TV world were 90% of the shows aren't profitable until they reach syndication.

      So, how could the production company have earned that kind of revenue? Without copyright. Yep, you read that right. Here's the details:

      As a SWAG, lets say there was a fanbase of 10M worldwide. If just one third could be convinced to pony up $1 per episode - that's $3.3M right there. By using the internet and some sort of paypal like system (pay attention to what google is doing in this area, they seem to be thinking right along these lines) they could collect that $1 per episode and put it into an escrow account. When the balance reaches $3.3M production begins. When the episode is completed, it is released to the public domain and the money is released to the production company.

      Such a system benefits all parties - the production company is guaranteed a profit before they invest a single dime, something completely unheard of in the world of entertainment business. In return for that guarantee, the end result is made freely available to one and all so that the people who funded the creation can share it with anyone they want without legal or moral issues. Ultimately the free distribution of previous episodes acts as advertising for future episodes.

      Furthermore it is 100% free-market, no government intervention required, no dollars wasted on the FBI tracking down pirates because piracy is meaningless in such a system. And if the show sucks? People are only out a buck, not a big a loss and the chances of the next episode being funded goes down - it is survival of the fittest with no middlemen like advertisers and "programming execs" to muddle up the difference between good shows and crappy shows.

      So - that's one idea demonstrating why copyright is indeed obsolete. How about you come up with one yourself instead of hiding behind the status quo?
      • Re:What bunk! (Score:5, Interesting)

        by SydShamino (547793) on Tuesday February 07, 2006 @02:30PM (#14662179)
        As a SWAG, lets say there was a fanbase of 10M worldwide. If just one third could be convinced to pony up $1 per episode - that's $3.3M right there. By using the internet and some sort of paypal like system (pay attention to what google is doing in this area, they seem to be thinking right along these lines) they could collect that $1 per episode and put it into an escrow account. When the balance reaches $3.3M production begins. When the episode is completed, it is released to the public domain and the money is released to the production company.

        Public domain means no copyright, which means all things are possible - even derivative works. If the development company does this for even one episode, then someone else - Spielberg, Warner, Fox, etc. - can take the Farscape line and produce their own episodes, or their own feature films.

        Sure, to the public that paid for this one episode, that might be a benefit. But, for the production company, they have just lost all control over the future of one of their creative products, in return for a measly $300k.

        I don't think any television or movie production company would go for such a deal. Now, if you allowed them to release under a creative commons license, such as one that allowed for free distribution but restricted derivative works, for-pay distribution, and public performances, then I bet you might find a company willing to take a shot at it. (And I'd be one person donating $1. Heck, make it $2 - I pay that for shows on iTunes anyway.)
        • by FhnuZoag (875558) on Tuesday February 07, 2006 @03:13PM (#14662683)
          Has there actually been cases of brands being stolen in this way? Everyone seems to talk about it as though it were inevitable, but it seems plausible that even if copyright laws allowed a rival company to steal it's franchise, actual fans would always prefer the original makers, and view the copy as an entirely separate work. While they can steal ideas, they can't steal people. A rival company may try to do the Simpsons without Groening, but it will flop, over and over.

          I posit that such a nightmare scenario is entirely illusionary, especially for franchises that are worth protecting.
  • by ummit (248909) <scs@eskimo.com> on Tuesday February 07, 2006 @01:21PM (#14661329) Homepage
    If it's true (as RMS says in the interview) that the various Creative Commons licenses are "more different than similar", and if they differ on issues you care about, then yes, I would have to agree with Stallman that they need to be discussed separately, that you can't make a blanket statement saying either "I support CC licenses" or "I reject CC licenses". If some Creative Commons licenses are worth using and others aren't, it would be best to stop talking about them collectively as "Creative Commons licenses" and instead discuss them under their own names.
    • by Otter (3800) on Tuesday February 07, 2006 @01:43PM (#14661598) Journal
      To my astonishment, I somewhat agree with Stallman. There are multiple Creative Commons licenses, they're fairly different and people use the term "Creative Commons" to refer only to the most permissive ones. (Look through the stories here, and see how often things are described as "under a Creative Commons license", as though that's meaningful.)

      It seems to me that this issue isn't really Creative Commons' fault and could be best handled by enforcing clarity. Stallman, who loves to enforce similar "clarity" about existing words which he has personally redefined to mean only what he says they do, certainly ought to get that. I imagine his hostility is really because their range of licenses includes things that are too restrictive for his taste.

      • by halr9000 (465474) on Tuesday February 07, 2006 @02:58PM (#14662526) Homepage
        Well RMS is certainly free (as in speech) not to use them. That CC has multiple, more flexible licensing than say, GPL, is not our problem, its his. I'm a believer that the owner of the thing can do with the thing as they please, and if they want to restrict its license, it is within their right. Accordingly, the OSS crowed will tend to avoid the thing, and if the owner doesn't like it, they can choose to change the license to something the community likes better--if they so choose, or they can tell the community to screw off. Business decisions are not necessarily controlled by geek perception.

        I'm a big fan of CC. I personally like the CC-BY license and use it for my own creations.
  • by toupsie (88295) on Tuesday February 07, 2006 @01:22PM (#14661335) Homepage
    Call it the GNU\Creative Commons License. Problem solved.
  • "As for the music factories--a.k.a. the major record companies--what they want is power. They will never accept P2P sharing as long as it remains a way to escape from their power. For their abuses against the people, they deserve to be abolished, and that should be everyone's goal. "

    Hee-hee, he's so cute when he's going all nazi. Don't use the words "producers," "content," or "intellectual property." MP3s are evil. CDs with DRM aren't really CDs, they're "fake CDs" and they're "the face of the enemy." I swear, if he doesn't stop gritting his teeth at the universe he's gonna wear them down to the nub...

    • I swear, if he doesn't stop gritting his teeth at the universe he's gonna wear them down to the nub...

      RMS has long since lost his teeth... now he has a bloody mash of gums that have become infected by a strain of parasite-induced dementia, which causes him to label any form of content control as fundamentally oppressive to the human rights of freedom.

      I recently overheard him stating that once his crusade against DRM is victorious, he's gonna bear his fleet of space warships against ARM (analog rights man

  • Is RMS relevant? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by zerocool^ (112121) on Tuesday February 07, 2006 @01:25PM (#14661369) Homepage Journal

    I think it's time we just start ignoring RMS. Once the national media noticed him about 5-6 years ago, his ego has tipped the scales. He's so far off the deep end that I for one don't want to be associated with his ideas.

    It's like we're all saying "Open source is a good thing", and he's now picking up that banner, saying "Unless it's completely open and completely free in every possible sense of the word, it's wrong". That's not what I'm saying. I'm saying "Open source is a good thing".

    • by morcego (260031) *
      Answer: No.

      I think it's time we just start ignoring RMS.

      Long past, if you ask me.

      RMS has outlived his usefulness to the FOSS movement. He is, I might add, an obstacle, which can very easily make people move AWAY from FOSS.

      RMS, we are all greateful for what you have done in the past, but please shut up.
    • All he's saying is that software should have freedom. What kind of freedoms does your 'Open Source' statement afford us? If I can only see the code, then it's worthless. If I can't run the program, modify it, and redistribute it, with or without my changes, then what's the point?

      Please give an example of your 'Open Source' license.
      • by gnuLNX (410742) on Tuesday February 07, 2006 @02:12PM (#14661948) Journal
        "If I can't run the program, modify it, and redistribute it, with or without my changes, then what's the point?"

        Take a good look at the second word in that sentence. I. Why should you have the right to redistribute a work that someone else made? Here's an answer for you. You don't have, and shouldn't have unless the author explicitly gives you that right. You disagree. Fine I have every right to take your car out tonight. I mean who do you think you are locking your car up. Just because you worked hard to paint it, pay for it, or whatever, sure as hell deosn't give you the right to lock me out of it.

        See this is the problem. OSS kicks ass. It kicks ass because we GIVE each other the right to use, modify, and redistribute the code. There is no God given right that allows you to lay claim to the works of others...nor should there be. If they give you that right cool, but remember they are not evil because they choose not to.
        • by d34thm0nk3y (653414) on Tuesday February 07, 2006 @02:49PM (#14662414)
          There is no God given right that allows you to lay claim to the works of others...nor should there be.

          Conversely, there is no god given right to protect your works either. Copyright is an entirely legal (and fairly recent) construct.
          • Conversely, there is no god given right to protect your works either. Copyright is an entirely legal (and fairly recent) construct.

            While that is true, methods besides copyright have been around for as long as humans. Its just that in todays society its frawned upon to just whack people over the head with a club if they take your shit.
    • by azagthoth (189620)
      It's like we're all saying "Open source is a good thing", and he's now picking up that banner, saying "Unless it's completely open and completely free in every possible sense of the word, it's wrong" That's the same thing he's been saying since the beginning. Remember that the OSS movement came from his FSF. I'm not saying he's right, only that your statement is not based on facts.
    • by Medievalist (16032) on Tuesday February 07, 2006 @01:47PM (#14661637)
      I think it's time we just start ignoring RMS.
      Uh... OK, you first.

  • I sort of agree (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Omnifarious (11933) * <eric-slash@omnif ... s.org minus city> on Tuesday February 07, 2006 @01:25PM (#14661370) Homepage Journal

    IMHO, if you're going to have some sort of umbrella for licenses to be put under, it should mean something. Near as I can tell, Creative Commons has no real criteria for deciding whether or not a license is acceptable.

    If I read that a license is OSI approved, I know exactly what that means, and what sorts of things I can expect to be able to do and what I can expect to not be able to do.

    If I hear that a license is a creative commons license, it tells me nothing. For all I know, it might be "You're allowed to distribute this only if you feel strongly that you have green skin.". They have license that discriminate based on what country you're a citizen of, so I don't see why they won't pick other weird things in the future.

    If they want to be taken seriously, they will publish clear criteria for the acceptability of a license.

    • by argoff (142580) on Tuesday February 07, 2006 @03:05PM (#14662592)
      In a way, history is repeating itself.

      During the 1850's there were all these groups that wanted to work out a friendly solution so that the slave states could get along with the free states. Rules to be nicer to slaves, shorter slave terms, more clearly defined boundaries, and so on and so on. Well they didn't get it, it was an all or nothing game. The very nature of the beast was coercive and restrictive in a way that could not survive the industrial revolution.

      Well today, there are people who want a "compromise" with the copyright system. A shorter term here, a nicer enforcement there, more controll to the original author here, and so on and so on. What these people don't understand that the very nature of beast centers arround coercing how people can use and manipulate information at their disposal - the anti thesis of the information age. The only kind of copyright that can survive the information age, is one that can not be enforced.

      Instead of crying about that, or clinging to old ways, what people need to do is learn how to make money from content services and not from content controll.
      • So we've got one guy making wild pronouncements and attacking anyone who disagrees with him, and another trying to use the legal system to slowly, and subtly, change a perceived wrong. I guess that means RMS is John Brown and Lessig is Lincoln. And we all know how they both ended up.

        (For those who don't know, Brown was a abolitionist terrorist who tried to start a slave uprising in the south just prior to the Civil War. He and most of his followers were executed for their actions during the raid on the armory at Harper's Ferry. Lincoln, of course, was the 16th US President, and is now so well respected his image is engraved upon Mt Rushmore and the five dollar bill, and he has his own memorial in Washington, DC.)
      • and I can't type very well right now. I'll do my best, anyway. The Disney chain boss has left for five minutes, so I may have time to bang out a quick response.

        Instead of crying about that, or clinging to old ways, what people need to do is learn how to make money from content services and not from content controll.

        Nice idea. Let me know when your company goes public. In the mean time, ponder the notion that it takes a long time for human systems to change, and that usually an awful lot of experimenta

  • News Flash! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Bacon Bits (926911) on Tuesday February 07, 2006 @01:25PM (#14661371)
    RMS thinks his license is better than everyone else's.

    In other news, water is still wet, Microsoft is still a monopoly, and people dislike paying taxes.

  • My take? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by heinousjay (683506) on Tuesday February 07, 2006 @01:25PM (#14661373) Journal
    I stopped listening to him sometime around the GNU/Linux debacle. He doesn't really provide much value to anyone who doesn't want to be hard left.

    Don't get me wrong, the man did some great things in bringing forth the Free Software movement, but now it seems like his goal is to destroy everything that doesn't fit his ideals, and that's just as dangerous as what he opposes.
    • I have to totally agree. I think that the zealousness of RMS is turning off a lot of people that could be an asset to the OS cause. I, for one, am getting sick of his "my way or the highway" attitude. He is not the only one with an opinion.
    • Re:My take? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by sydb (176695)
      Hard left? Your view of politics is very simplistic. What's leftist about the abolition of laws which restrict the operation of the free market?
  • by 0racle (667029) on Tuesday February 07, 2006 @01:25PM (#14661375)
    He suggests instead using the GPL for creative works.

    You mean he's pushing his own ideas as better then someone elses? I'm shocked, SHOCKED!
  • Stallman slipping? (Score:3, Informative)

    by tbo (35008) on Tuesday February 07, 2006 @01:26PM (#14661383) Journal
    Several years ago, I heard Stallman speak at a lecture at my university. He was clearly very smart, and very driven by ideological goals. On top of all that, there was also a hint of that indefinable quality shared by most crazy people. Something about him was not quite right--I got a sense that his grasp on reality was slipping a bit. Maybe this is necessary for a person to make the kind of sacrifices he has, but it's a dangerous balance.

    From reading the recent draft of the GPL v3 [slashdot.org], and the article attached to this story, I get a sense that he's slipped further. For instance, when he spoke at my university, he recognized that the best way to achieve your goals is to have limited, realistic goals, and focus on those. When people asked him about copyright on music or movies, he diplomatically dodged the question and said it was a separate issue from his Free Software philosophy, and he didn't want to address it. In the interview linked in TFA, he outright attacks copyright for these things. The GPL v3's attack on DRM is similar. Stallman has sacrificed the clarity and readibility of the GPL v2 in order to attack patents and DRM.

    Now, maybe you agree with Stallman about copyright for music, etc. Even so, you should recognize that that puts you farther outside the mainstream, and it's much harder to change the mainstream when you're 1,000 miles away. If a bunch of Americans write letters to Congress demanding that copyright be abolished*, they will be ignored. If they ask that copyright law take a step back towards the original constitutional idea of limited (in time and power) protection to promote progress in science and the useful arts, that may actually get somewhere. It is vitally important that we sound reasonable.

    Stallman has lost his sense of perspective and his grasp on reality. I think it's possible that he is now harmful to the Free Software movement, and the community needs to think about how to deal with this problem. If the community asked him to step down, would he?

    * I know Stallman didn't outright call for the abolition of copyright. Still, the changes he wants (the freedom for anyone to distribute any published work) amount to nearly the same thing.
    • by jandrese (485) *
      Stallman came out to speak at MITRE [mitre.org] a couple of years back. It was right after the paper MITRE published that basically said "yeah, you can use open source software on government probjects, the risks are managable and the cost savings can be great".

      So he's in a room with a bunch of mostly older computer engineers in the goverment sector. The first part of his speech goes alright, but then he starts driving off into crazytown. By the end of the speech, he's put on a robe and halo(!!!) and is talking abo
    • by sydb (176695)
      If the community asked him to step down, would he?

      Community: "Please Mr Stallman, stop being yourself."

      In other words, step down from what? He does what he does because he is on a mission. People on a mission follow the mission, not the "community".
    • by casio282 (468834)
      > * I know Stallman didn't outright call for the abolition of copyright. Still, the changes he wants (the freedom for anyone to distribute any published work) amount to nearly the same thing.

      The power of the GPL is completely predicated on the power of copyright. Without copyright, there can be no GPL. RMS's goal isn't to achieve "the freedom for anyone to distribute any published work," but rather to achieve a world in which published works are themselves free -- free to be built upon and creatively r

    • by McGiraf (196030) on Tuesday February 07, 2006 @01:48PM (#14661659) Homepage
      No, Stallman is not slipping, reality is.
    • Several years ago, I heard Stallman speak at a lecture at my university. He was clearly very smart, and very driven by ideological goals.

      Yea, and if you think about it, the only reason why he is like that is that Xerox refused to give the poor guy the sources for the driver of their laser printer when he wanted to fix a bug.

      If Microsoft had known what would happen as a result, they might have acquired Xerox and given give him the source code, and RMS [ed.ac.uk] would have gone back to his cubicle.

      Then we woul

    • by syousef (465911)
      Stallman's problems are many, but that he's not mainstream isn't the main problem. (That he comes across as a nutter however is a problem, and is probably due to a lack of social skills common to many a "geek"). I think we should be calling for a total abolition of copyright, but here's why...

      We should be finding ways to allow people MORE freedom (while still compensating software creators, artists and the like). Stallman's taken a draconian approach that actually means that there are less places you can us
  • Stallman's an idiot (Score:2, Interesting)

    by brownja (184673)
    If ever there was a case of
    "the perfect being the enemy of the good"
    He embodies it.
  • by jayhawk88 (160512) <jayhawk88@gmail.com> on Tuesday February 07, 2006 @01:26PM (#14661389)
    Someone forgot to give Stallman his medication this week. Who's turn is it?
  • by PCM2 (4486) on Tuesday February 07, 2006 @01:27PM (#14661394) Homepage
    What Stallman is saying sounds, as usual, intellectually consistent. Because some licenses that are called Creative Commons licenses include restrictions that Stallman does not support, Stallman will not endorse the Creative Commons brand. In other words, he will not automatically give you a pat on the back just because you use a Creative Commons license; he wants to know what the terms of the license are first.

    Sounds fine to me. I've never been a big supporter of Creative Commons for much the same reason. All Creative Commons seems to be, to me, is a collection of license that someone has paid a lawyer to draft up and then donated that work to the public. You can pick and choose between the licenses and their clauses. It's a generous donation and it's very handy.

    Then again, I've never seen how Creative Commons amounts to the "social movement" that people make it out to be. Stallman, whether you agree with him or not, seems devoutly intent on shaking up the foundations of the modern concept of intellectual property. By comparison, Creative Commons licenses seem like little more than tools for helping people navigate the status quo.
    • Completely. You've got the point.

      CC as a brand includes some very non-free licenses toward what you can and cannot do with Creative Content. If you have a piece of content that is CC-BY-SA (Attribution/ShareAlike) licensed, you have a freedom that is truly free, maybe add an NC if you'd like to know who's doing what commercially with your content... but anything beyond that isn't really free.

      I can see a reason for putting ND on some content, such as a speech, but it's still non-free. RMS wouldn't support no
    • by Valdrax (32670) on Tuesday February 07, 2006 @02:09PM (#14661918)
      In other words, he will not automatically give you a pat on the back just because you use a Creative Commons license; he wants to know what the terms of the license are first.

      No. Reread the article. If you use a Creative Commons license that might meet his standards, he still won't endorse it because the Creative Common "brand" allows licenses that he doesn't like. Instead, he thinks you should use his particular license (the GPL) for everything.

      I'd respect him more (or have less disrespect for him) if he'd criticise the particular licenses he didn't like and give some praise for the ones he did like, but instead he says effectively, "Forget it. It's not worth the trouble. Use my license instead." Instead he takes the ideological "with us or against us" stance.
    • by yoz (3735) *
      Then again, I've never seen how Creative Commons amounts to the "social movement" that people make it out to be.

      The fact that you've heard of CC at all shows that it's having some effect as a movement.

      What the CC movement is ultimately about is showing people that there's more to protecting your work than simply slapping a big © symbol on it. What if you demand attribution, but don't care about duplication? Copyright is not a binary thing. CC firstly educates that there are different options for differ
  • Ok, first off, I'll acknoledge that we owe Mr. Stallman a great debt for his early advocacy of Free Software, the GNU Tools, FSF, GPL, etc. However, at this point he reminds me of an ostrich burying his head in the sand.

    Seriously, folks. Why do we keep listening to him if it's obvious all he has to say is the same thing he's been saying for 20 some odd years, and no matter how much progress we make towards what were once his goals, he says "not good enough" and alienates more people.
  • by truthsearch (249536) on Tuesday February 07, 2006 @01:30PM (#14661437) Homepage Journal
    Are some Creative Commons licenses worth using, even if others aren't?

    Absolutely! The organization as a whole is trying to better society. I read many of Lawrence Lessig's articles and agree with just about everything he says. His goal is to provide options. A full range of options. Pick the ones that suit your needs and ignore the rest.

    After all, isn't that what we do with our Linux systems? We pick the distro and packages we want and ignore the rest. If you don't like OpenOffice it doesn't mean you shouldn't use Linux! Just don't use the parts you don't like!
  • Stallman belongs to the software-should-be-free area.
    Creative Commons is for literature and other arts, way beyond his scope.

    Besides, he said that he disagrees, not that he's going to do something about it, right? So, why should we worry about what he said?
  • Personal appearance? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Chemisor (97276) on Tuesday February 07, 2006 @01:31PM (#14661447)
    I can't help but wonder if people would take Stallman a bit more seriously if he shaved and got a haircut. His appearance might then sufficiently approach the norm to prevent the immediate impression most people would receive upon seeing him: namely that he's an overaged hippie out of his time, out of his place, and out of his mind.
  • by winkydink (650484) * <sv.dude@gmail.com> on Tuesday February 07, 2006 @01:31PM (#14661450) Homepage Journal
    If I write something, I get to pick the license. If Stallman doesn't like it, I'll sleep just fine at night and will have no problems looking at myself in the mirror.
  • What an extremist (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MikeRT (947531) on Tuesday February 07, 2006 @01:32PM (#14661464) Homepage
    Stallman is the Pat Robertson of the open source movement. Millions of reasonable people, shouted down in the public by a loud-mouthed, wild-eyed zealot who has gone off the deep end and provides fodders for their enemies. Like Robertson, he lives off his glory days accomplishments, while continuing to have an eery sway over many of the new generation who are in fact much better than him. Thank you for writing Emacs, GCC, etc., but the new generation has come along and really moved that work forward and then some, and let's not forget the fact that Apache, Mozilla and others exist independently of his work.

    Thank you for your contributions, but you're not relevant anymore to the degree you aspire to be. IMO, the real voice of reason on this issue is Linus Torvalds with his "we are not crusaders" mentality that is more libertarian than left-liberal.
    • by LordKazan (558383)
      I just undid my moderations in this thread to reply to your post

      "that is more libertarian than left-liberal."

      Anyone who uses the term "left-liberal" makes themself look like an idiot. Linus is no Libertarian (Big-L - as in the neoliberals/anarcho-capitalists who pretend to be libertarians) and RMS is no "left-liberal" as you attempt to stereotype it.

      Linus is a smart man and Stallman has gone off the deep end. Keep your political name calling out of it.

  • This is part of a carefully planned PR campaign to distract people from the "real" issue confronting the FSF right now -- it's most visible advocate, Linus Torvalds, has removed his endorsement from GPL 3.
  • by landley (9786) on Tuesday February 07, 2006 @01:33PM (#14661471) Homepage
    I read the draft and found a section that would prevent busybox from using GPLv3. (It's the second coming of the BSD advertising clause: each busybox binary would have to contain GPL boilerplate text in the binary itself, and we're trying for small binary size on embedded systems. In GPL2, the advertising clause was optional. In GPL3 it isn't. That's a fatal flaw for us.)

    I tried to comment through their web page, but it doesn't work with Konqueror. I sent a comment via their email system, but it was bounced by their robot. (The subject text, "Concerns about gpl3 and busybox", doesn't appear in the GPL draft document, this has not been seen by a human nor will it ever be. Try jumping through the hoop again.)

    It was about this time I decided I really don't care enough about placating Stallman. Sticking with v2 is just fine with me, and his opinion about creative commons is irrelevant as well. At this point, I consider Stallman irrelevant, and GPLv3 just another incompatible license fragmenting the open source userbase.

    A pity, really...
  • by Cr0w T. Trollbot (848674) on Tuesday February 07, 2006 @01:34PM (#14661481)
    My take is the same it's always been: Stallman's view of open source is that of a rigid, impractical ideologue far more concerened with being ideologically pure than in getting things done, that his "My Way or the Highway" attitude hurts the open source movement far more than it helps it, and that there's a reason extremist open source zelotry is called "Stallmanism."

    There are many times when "Screw you guys, I'm going home" is a valid response, but Stallman has done it so many times, about so many Open Source projects that don't adhere to Pope Stallman's ex cathedra Encyclical on The True and Only GPL that it's lost all meaning. Yeah, RMS, we've figured out nothing that you haven't personally blessed is pure and holy enough for you. Next question.

    Perhaps his most impressive feat is making Eric Raymond look reasonable by comparison...

    Crow T. Trollbot

  • by samuel4242 (630369) on Tuesday February 07, 2006 @01:35PM (#14661489)
    I like the GPL and use it for software, but it's just not right for things like text. For instance, I can use my GPL-given right to revise and extend Richard Stallman's text to read:

    I love the Creative Commons. I think the Creative Commons is great as a whole, because some of its licenses are not unacceptable. In fact, I want Larry Lessig to have my baby. Wait that's not feasible.
    (Changes in bold .)
    What's right for software is not right for matters of opinion or fact. The distinction between sources and binaries don't matter here and actually confuse the right decisions. Nor is there any reason to believe that someone would get anything out of the ability to revise and extend anyone else's words. Okay, it might make sense for a collaborative manual, but I think there are many cases where the right leads to the trouble we're seeing with the clever editors of the Wikipedia.
    • Are you saying that your insertions into RMS's text should be prohibited by law and you should be prosecuted for above comment?

      Of course you can write that. What is your problem?
    • I like the GPL and use it for software, but it's just not right for things like text. For instance, I can use my GPL-given right to revise and extend Richard Stallman's text to read:

      And from the /. article summary: "He suggests instead using the GPL for creative works." RMS would never recommend that, there exists the GNU Free Documentation License [gnu.org] for documents, and this is most likely what RMS would recommend.

      And in fact, actually reading the article gives you this RMS quote: "However, [the GPL's] r

  • I no longer endorse Creative Commons. I cannot endorse Creative Commons as a whole, because some of its licenses are unacceptable.

    I wonder if he would agree with, "I no longer endorse Free Software. I cannot endorse Free Software as a shole, because some of its licenses are unacceptable."

    Of course, he would never say that, because he would say, "well, any license I disagree with is by definition not Free Software". Well, if the issue is confusion as he claims, there are lots of licenses that people thin

  • by e6003 (552415) on Tuesday February 07, 2006 @01:35PM (#14661507) Homepage
    Given that CC tries to create analogous licenses for non-software to those that already exist for software (sharealike == GPL, attribution required == BSD) I would say RMS is entitled to his opinion but I respectfully disagree. We know RMS disapproves of the BSD license and prefers the GPL, on account of maintaining the freedom of the software - fine, his opinion given freely. He doesn't seem to explicitly say so, but does he disapprove of the CC attribution license? His problem seems to be one of terms and definitions - not all CC licenses are free it's true, but this sounds more like a small marketing problem for the folks behind CC, rather like the perennial "open source" v. "free software" debate (neither term truly captures the meaning of GPL-like licenses). He does note that the GPL is unsuited, in his opinion, to a book or printed work and I'm struggling to see how it can be applied to other artistic works: do any other class of works (baking recipes being the only example I can think of right now, or maybe the exact colour combinations and brush techniques used in a painting?) have the distinction between human-readable/machine unreadable and human unreadable/machine readable representations of the same work? The GPL is all about ensuring software stays human readable, which is fine, but this isn't the problem with other types of creative work - the problem there is how to legally maintain one's right to a monopoly on the distribution of the work as a whole whilst also allowing others to use substantial portions to build their own works. Let people choose the license they want, is my opinion.
  • After the DMCA was passed, the Sonny Bono Act upheld, and the The SCO Group lawsuit was filed, I realized that I had been wrong in my opinion of RMS, and that what had appeared to me to be fanaticism was in fact a very clear appreciate of reality. Progress depends on unreasonable men and all that.

    However, that is not to say that a fanatic who has had a clear and correct vision cannot later go over a cliff, and in the last year or so that does seem to me where RMS is headed.

    sph
  • Baby + Bathwater = Splash + Cry....
  • Funny I was just discussing this with a coworker today.

    I agree completely with RMS. The Creative Commons licenses are not something that should be lumped together.

    They also have several legal problems. Because there are 10 different possibilities for CC license combinations, it's difficult to determine whether all 10 are enforcable or not. The process for vetting even one license is hard enough, much less 10 distinct licenses.

    The other is the "no commercial use" licenses. I think these would work fine f
  • There isn't a current Creative Commons license that fits my needs. I would like one with all the qualities of the GPL that I like, but none suffice.

    ShareAlike-1.0 worked, but now it's somewhat defunct. Flickr doesn't have it, for example. There's no current attribution-less license. They said that was due to lack of demand, based on lack of web-hits to their no-attrib licenses. What the fuck ever? They apparently have no interest in which licenses are most functional for encouraging a "creative commons". No
  • Since I dont agree with every opinion of RMS, while i do agree with some of them, I have decided that I can no longer endorse RMS. People tend to lump many of his opinions together, some of which are unacceptable, I can't respect any of his opinions anymore.
    Seriously this is crap this guy has gone a bit over the top on many things and doesnt seem to have any idea of balance. I think many things about CC is great and it has already help a lot of interesting works to be produced that otherwise could not hav
  • Stallman ends by saying: 'I no longer endorse Creative Commons. I cannot endorse Creative Commons as a whole, because some of its licenses are unacceptable.

    Just whip them out on the table and get the ruler. Let's settle this once and for all and find out who's is longer.
  • I agree with him on so many points, but goddamn it, every time he opens his mouth I have this overwhelming urge to go buy a rootkit CD.
  • The crux of his argument is that, since he disagrees with some of the CC licenses, and people tend to lump them all together, he feels compelled to reject them all.

    Anyone who is surprised at such a dogmatic, hard line response from RMS hasn't been paying attention.

  • by digital photo (635872) on Tuesday February 07, 2006 @01:49PM (#14661669) Homepage Journal
    Reading the article and seeing the responses to the questions was very much like listening to the senate hearings. Ie, very clear answers when the question is aligned with the agenda or beliefs of the person being interviewed/questioned, but very bluntly vague when not in line.

    What gets me is that RMS notes that people, in general, lump all of the CC licenses as one entity. He notes that they need to be addressed seperately.

    Having said that, RMS is lucid in his responses. I think what gets peoples' goats about RMS is that he is basically unwavering and uncompromising when it comes to his ideals. This has and always will be the case.

    My only wish from the article would have been RMS clarifying what portions of the CC Licensing system he considers to be acceptable and what parts he doesn't. Wholesale dismissal of the CC licenses is like getting a paper back with a big fat "F/0" and a note at the bottom saying "Do better next time", without any indication on the paper of what was wrong. (Bad experience with some college professors.

    Why gets me is why people keep feeling surprised or shocked when RMS restates his ideals and views: free as in freedom, complete freedom, no restrictions. Yes, it's a hard left. Yes, it's idealistic. Yes, it would cripple companies and businesses that depend on the restriction of information-based goods(music, movies,etc).

    But he does have a point. 100 years from now, how will we access DRM'd content that should have gone public domain? How will we read ebooks that can't be readliy converted to other formats? Same with encrypted and locked music, movies, etc?

    Personally, he sounds alot like a cross between a hippie, priest, and lawyer, no offense meant to the hippie, priest, or lawyer. But just because he sounds like that, doesn't mean he isn't onto something. It's just not very palatable.
  • by Hairy1 (180056) on Tuesday February 07, 2006 @01:53PM (#14661706) Homepage
    If it were anyone else they could be safely ignored, but RMS brought us the GPL, and it was through his uncomprimising commitment to his vision that we have the movement of Open Source today. Yes people - Open Source, he is one of the fathers of Open Source even if he has disowned his own child. The point is that the man is uncomprimising to the point of being irrational.

    But is he - in this instance - being irrational? Well, the creative commons typically used by Flickr, is simply a means of easily defining the rights you are providing. It can mean a number of things, and I think he has a point - that its confusing; you have to read the rights for every bit of work, rather than being able to trust that a creative commons mark means you have certain rights.

    I still wouldn't use the GPL for writing or music because the GPL has clauses specifically aimed at software. There is no "source code" for music, and no obligation to distribute the score of the music along with the audio recordings for example. However, the creative commons is a diluted concept if you don't gauranttee certain rights to people, and they have to dig to see what their rights actually are.

    Stallmans problem isn't one of intellect as such, but rather poor communication. He communicates in a uncomprimising and arrogant way; his way or the highway; and is unwilling to be part of a bigger team that he has no direct control over. That is why Open Source came about - we escaped the limits of Stallmans retoric.

    Stallman still doesn't get Open Source I think - The Hurd being an example more of Cathedral style than Bazzar style development. Open Source has overtaken him for a reason, and that reason is a positive feedback cycle generated by a community of willing participants.

    The big difference between open source and free software is the uncomprimising ideological dogma of Stallman. Free Software was about the Stallmans dictatorship; his word was law in that universe. Open Source on the other hand starts with the principles of Free Software, but does not insist the developers have the same ideological passions as Stallman.

    That said, Open Source has not diluted the principle (as the Creative Commoms may have) by retaining a clear statement about what is and is not Open Source.
  • by petrus4 (213815) on Tuesday February 07, 2006 @01:56PM (#14661744) Homepage Journal
    I know what a foaming-at-the-mouth "RMS is the antichrist" troll I used to be here on Slashdot, but I've lately come to realise the error of my ways, for two reasons:-

    a) It makes me look like a fool, and
    b) There is now absolutely no need for me to do it anyway. With the amount of crazed diatribes he's been releasing lately, he's doing a far better job himself of convincing everyone of what a generally undesirable human being he is than I ever could. His fame for his prior contributions has served as the rope, and over the past 2-3 years he's done an absolutely smashing job of using it to hang himself. He's now on the fast track to complete irrelevance.

    How true the mathematical proverb is. Every problem does, indeed, have its own solution.
  • by marcosdumay (620877) <marcosdumay AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday February 07, 2006 @02:27PM (#14662144) Homepage Journal

    The Creative Commons never wanted to be a free umbrella. Their goal is to create a standard for licenses. Artistic work used to have a big number of hard to understand licenses, so the CC people created a small set of them that is suitable to almost everybody, and made it available.

    So RMS hit it exactly on the head. When you read that something is published on a CC license, you know nothing about your rights. But after you read the license name, you know exactly what it says (so all of you who put works under CC, please tell me the license name). That said, CC was very sucessfull on that, because its licenses cover almost all needs, from the most free work to the most resticted one. But FSF can not recomend you to use CC licenses on general, because, on general, they aren't free.

    As usual, people bashing RMS don't know what they are talking about. As the interviewer: "There must be some basic misunderstanding here. If a work is released under the GPL, then the GPL's terms apply to it. How could it possibly be otherwise?". Great answer :).

  • by jurgen (14843) on Tuesday February 07, 2006 @02:51PM (#14662442)
    RMS's position is harmful to his cause, maybe for the first time in his history of Free Software advocacy.

    I haven't even read other comments yet as I'm writing this, but I'm sure that most other commenters would agree with the first part of that sentence, but rather fewer with the second. ;-)

    Everybody knows that RMS's public posititions on Free Software tend to be uncompromising to say the least... and while I personally have often thought a more compromising position might be more productive especially in the short term, for his stated long-term goal of making /all/ software (or at least all software most people ever want or need) Free (with a capital F), his rigid philosophical stance was needed to counter-act the inevitably creeping process of cooption and re-commercialization by the "Industry". Thus if one accepts that his goals are desireable or at least valid, one can't really say that his rigidity was ever harmful to these goals... at worst it represented an opinion /someone/ needed to hold to maintain progress in the right direction.

    However, in this case I believe he is wrong. I order to achieve RMS's goals of ubiquitous Free software, one has to address the underlying economic assumptions made by society. The problem is that the dominant "neoclassical" view of economics is also very rigid and exclusive... it holds that its idealized "Free Market" is the best and only way to conduct economic congress, and Free Softare does not fit. This economic view is held by essentially all those in power or in control of the economic resources in our global civilization, and successfully sold to the mass of humans that compose this civilization.

    What needs to happen before Free Software and many other urgently needed economic alternatives can fully succeed is that the noeclassical market's grip on the global economy needs to losen. For this to happen it is important to first show that viable alternatives exist, and can be to the benefit of our civilzation! That the rigid view of the Free Market is wrong and that we /can/ do better.

    The Creative Commons has done the remarkable job of helping all alternatives to succeed better without much more of a philosophical position than to say "alternatives are needed and exist". This is to the benefit of the whole spectrum of opinion and a detriment only to the dominant exclusivist one which needs to be toppled.

    Yes, it does (very slightly) weaken the Free Software Movement's "GPL Brand", which derives some strength from it's position as the opposit extreme of the dominant one by labeling the all alternatives generically (all are "CC license with X provisions"). But this harm is minimal because the CC and the FSF operate in on different types of information, and aside from occasionally saying "just use the GPL", RMS has not really made any effort to address the clearly at least somewhat different needs of non-software media. In any case, any dilution of the FSF's position would come fairly and as part of a democratizing process.

    So, surely RMS must admit that the overall benefit of the CC's well executed efforts massively outweighs any harm it does to his own cause.

    : Jürgen Botz

  • by Arandir (19206) on Tuesday February 07, 2006 @03:16PM (#14662707) Homepage Journal
    RMS needs to get his head out of software. Way back at the beginning of the Free Software movement, he said that his idea should be applied to software only, and not to other copyrightable materials. Now it appears that he has changed his mind and wants people to use a software-specific license on non-software products.

    CC licenses are not meant for software.

    A novel that is released under a CC NonCommercial or NonDeriv license might not meet the definition of Free Software, but who the fsck cares? It ain't *software*! Ditto for videos, music, websites, etc. Hell, not even his own GFDL documentatoin meets the Free Software definition!

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