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FSF Gains Freedom, Britain Throws it Away

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Here a couple of stories that caught my attention today:

FSF works with PayPal to the benefit of the free software community

"However, FSF recently discovered that PayPal had added a proprietary software license to its User Agreement. FSF license compliance engineer Brett Smith explained, "Of course, the FSF couldn't agree to those terms, so as soon as we learned about them, we contacted PayPal to see if we could make other arrangements. The company listened to our concerns, and specifically excepted us from these conditions. But not only that: next year, PayPal is also updating its user agreement to ensure that the free software community can continue to receive and make payments without having to accept a proprietary software license.""

A pretty good deal all around, I think. Good for PayPal and its customers, good for the FSF for one more gain towards freedoms that benefit real people.

On the other side of the pond, Britain seems to be caught in the thralls of an insane tyranny:

Britain's new Internet law -- as bad as everyone's been saying, and worse. Much, much worse.

"So it's bad. £50,000 fines if someone in your house is accused of filesharing. A duty on ISPs to spy on all their customers in case they find something that would help the record or film industry sue them (ISPs who refuse to cooperate can be fined £250,000).

"But that's just for starters. The real meat is in the story we broke yesterday: Peter Mandelson, the unelected Business Secretary, would have to power to make up as many new penalties and enforcement systems as he likes. "

Um...what? What's next, ducking ponds? It's hard to imagine this sort of law being made without the influence of large cash incentives. Perhaps coupled with embarrassing photographs.

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