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Re: <nettime> Benjamin Mako Hill on Creative Commons
august on Sun, 31 Jul 2005 11:05:03 +0200 (CEST)


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Re: <nettime> Benjamin Mako Hill on Creative Commons


Say what?  Free to be free to freely think about freedom? Huh?

> Towards a Standard of Freedom: Creative Commons and the Free Software
> Movement

Freedom needs standards?  Even freedom isn't free anymore?

Why is it that FLOSS advocates are still instistant about what is "freedom"?  Why
is that when I hear advocates arguing the efficient definition of "freedom" as it
pertains to software distribution, I think of George Bush, the wars on "terror",
and NAFTA?

Ok, we understand already that the GPL licence makes restrictions on what one can
or cannot do with a piece of software code.  But, what is the motive behind
insisting that this is a construct of "freedom"?


for instance, Mako says this:

> Free Software's fundamental document is Richard Stallman's Free Software
> Definitions (FSD) [3]. At its core, the FSD lists four freedoms:
>
>          * The freedom to run the program, for any purpose;
>          * The freedom to study how the program works, and adapt it to
>            your needs;
>          * The freedom to redistribute copies so you can help your neighbor;
>          * The freedom to improve the program, and release your
> improvements to the public, so that the whole community benefits;


why does he insist that these are "freedoms" and not rights or abilities?
why doesn't it read:

	* the right to run the program for any purpose;
	* the right to study how the program works, and adapt it
	* the right to redistribute copies so you can help your neighbor
	* the right to improve (or fuck up) the program, and release it


Yes, the FLOSS movement is probably the biggest, most inspirational
collaborative human project to date.

For users of FLOSS software, these "freedoms" are probably all they have
to worry about.  Unfortunately, when you program FLOSS software, for the
most part, you are also dealing with another set of freedoms:

	* the freedom to find some other way to pay the rent 
          while you program the code or:
	* the necessity to have "free" time to program it.

Unfortunately, we live in a society based on wage labor.  Unfortunately, most
(certainly not all) FLOSS projects go unpaid.  [1]

The GPL addresses the use and distribution of what is produced, not the production
itself.  The CC licenses, however, try to provide some protections for the
producers of content by providing non-commercial clauses.  This makes sense,
seeing that there still are major differences between "users" and "audience", and
seeing that we live in the world we do where one still needs to pay for bread.

Essentially, I doubt there is any real need to compare the GPL and the CC
licenses, unless you want to nitpick about what freedom is.  The FLOSS movement
could be much further along if it would start to address real world problems, such
as how to fund the production of software.

 -august.


[1] There are commercial GPL projects that exist.  This, however, cuts across the
grain of what I think Lessig, and many others see as potential for free culture. 
My guess is that Mako, like Richard Stallman, envisions a world where GPL code and
capitalism go hand in hand.


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