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Kuro5hin.org: FSF Developers Discuss Intellectual Property in the Age of Free Software

Mar 30, 2000, 18:55 (0 Talkback[s])

[ Thanks to rusty for this link. ]

"Welcome to the first in what I hope will become a continuing feature here, the roundtable discussion. This week's roundtable features three members of the Free Software Foundation, Jonas Oberg (jonas), Gordon Matzigkeit (gord), and Phillip Rulon (pjr), and will focus on Free Software and Intellectual Property."

"Interviews are commonplace on weblogs. There are even sites that run interviews based entirely on readers' questions. We wanted to go a little beyond that, though. So here, instead of a Q&A interview, we invite guests to participate in a discussion with the readers directly, which will "officially" run for a week or so, and focus on a particular topic or issue close the the guest's heart. You ask questions, they answer, but since it's a threaded discussion, you can follow up on your, or anyone else's, questions as well. At the end of the discussion period, we'll write up a summary of where the discussion went and what, if any, conclusions were reached (in the style of "Kernel Traffic"), and post it. Obviously the original discussion will continue as long as people keep posting comments, and the summary itself might provoke further discussion. Our guests, however, have only promised to participate for the "official" discussion period, so they may or may not continue to answer questions after that time."

"This week's discussion will focus on Intellectual Property and Free Software. IP issues have been a hot-button topic, in the world at large, and in the free software community in particular, for quite some time. The basic question is whether the current reigning intellectual property system in use in the US, and much of the software-consuming world, can account for or coexist with Free software. I can't describe or argue the issue any more lucidly or thoroughly than Eben Moglen (FSF general council and Professor of Law and Legal History at Columbia) did in his article "Anarchism Triumphant: Free Software and the Death of Copyright," posted here recently, so I won't even try. If you're unclear on why the free software community even has any issues with the existing body of patent and copyright law, read Professor Moglen's article first."

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