WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Dr. Richard Stallman,
founder and President of the Free Software Foundation, and Eben
Moglen, Professor of Law at Columbia Law School and General Counsel
for the FSF, will speak at George Washington University's
Cyberspace Policy Institute in Washington, D.C., October 10, 2001
at the CPI's Free Software Conference: "Free Software: the Free
Market/Free Speech Solution to the Microsoft Antitrust
The Free Software Foundation promotes the development and use of
Free Software - particularly the GNU operating system and its
GNU/Linux variants - and Free Documentation for Free Software.
GNU/Linux is the integrated combination of the GNU operating system
with the kernel, Linux, written by Linus Torvalds in 1991. The
various versions of GNU/Linux have an estimated 20 million users
"If code is law, then the real question we must face is: who
should control the code?" says Dr. Stallman. "Can it be left to a
few companies to secretly do whatever they please with the code,
regardless of the interests of the public at large?
"Software today can control the way the world lives,
communicates and does business," Dr. Stallman continues.
"Proprietary software is typically secret - you can't change it, or
even see what it really does. You can't tell if it has back doors,
or sends your personal information to a server on the net. You
cannot even prevent changes that are detrimental, such as a future
version unable to access the files you are saving today.
"A choice of proprietary programs is just a choice of masters.
Should the code you use be under the control of Microsoft, or any
other private company? Or should you control the software you
"Free Software provides a democratic alternative. The GNU
General Public License, or GPL, was specifically designed to make
sure the public's right to the software freedoms we feel are vital
in a free society are defended and upheld for everyone. I use the
expression 'free society' deliberately in this context, so there
will be no misunderstanding about the meaning of the word 'free' in
'Free Software'. It refers to freedom--the freedom to use, study,
copy, modify, and redistribute computer programs. We are not
opposed to profit or to business, but business must respect the
public's freedom and community if it is to be legitimate."
Dr. Stallman will explain what Free Software means, briefly give
its history, explain how software freedoms are currently being
threatened by software patents, the DMCA, and the Hague Treaty, and
show how Microsoft can use such tools to create a new monopoly, as
well as make clear how government agencies, researchers, schools,
nonprofit organizations, businesses, and all users can benefit by
switching from proprietary to Free Software.
Professor Moglen will speak about copyright and patent law and
how proprietary software restricts the freedoms of software
developers and of users, as well as speaking on the impact of the
Free Software Movement.
"Free Software is an ethical movement that establishes the
constructive alternative to corporate globalization," says
Professor Moglen. "It is a technical movement that has changed the
software industry and can make monopolization impossible forever.
And it is the centerpiece of the New Economy. Microsoft and its
allies will spend tens of millions of dollars this year telling
lies about Free Software. On October 10, you can learn the truth
about Free Software from the people who made it happen."
Eben Moglen holds a Ph.D. in history and a J.D. from Yale
University. Moglen is currently a professor of law and legal
history at Columbia University Law School and serves as general
counsel for the Free Software Foundation. His homepage is http://moglen.law.columbia.edu/.
Tony Stanco, Esq., Founder of FreeDevelopers.net and Senior
Policy Analyst of the Cyberspace Policy Institute says, "The moral
question between Free and proprietary software ultimately revolves
around this issue: Is software more like law? (Which ought to be
Free and open to public inspection, so that the public can
participate in the formation of the social contract by which they
will be governed). Or is it more like literature? (Which has been
traditionally viewed as the creator's private property). It's
increasingly clear that with the Internet, software has begun to
supplement the traditional function of law and that digital
machines are fast becoming a nonhuman, cyberpolice force watching
and directing everything people do.
"The Cyberspace Policy Institute decided to sponsor this
conference so that policymakers in Washington, their staff, the
press, students, and all who are interested in how software can
affect them, can be introduced to Free Software and meet those who
began the Free Software Movement.
Tony Stanco will also say a few words on: Why the world's
richest company is attacking the GNU General Public License (GNU
GPL) by calling it a "cancer", a "destroyer" of innovation,
"anti-American"? Whether this is true, or whether Microsoft
dislikes the GPL because the four freedoms it establishes for
computer users make monopolies hard to sustain? How Free Software
created products, like the GNU/Linux operating system, that compete
with Microsoft's Windows on heavy-duty servers in the back office?
Why the principles of the new Intellectual Age are fundamentally
different from those of the previous Industrial Age? Whether
Software Freedom can restore innovation and creativity to the
software industry and provide a way to solve the Microsoft
antitrust question? Whether Microsoft's .Net initiative will
inevitably continue its monopoly? Or will Free Software's DotGNU
project break the Microsoft stranglehold and liberate computer
users to control the software they use?
Tony Stanco said, "We invited Microsoft to send a representative
to join in the conference, because it seemed unfortunate that Craig
Mundie, VP of Microsoft, has not yet had the opportunity to debate
on the subject of the GPL face to face with Dr. Stallman, the man
who created it. He has not accepted our invitation to date, but he
is still welcome. It's an open invitation."
The event will be held Wednesday, October 10, 2001 in the George
Washington University Marvin Center Ballroom (800 21st Street, NW,
Washington, DC 20052), beginning at 12:00 noon and ending at 5:00
PM. There will be a break at midpoint, with light refreshments
For more information and to register for this free event, please
go to the Cyberspace Policy Institute website [http://www.cpi.seas.gwu.edu/].
Contacts: Tony Stanco, Cyberspace Policy Institute: 202-994-5513
GNU is a Free Software Unix-like operating system. Development of
GNU began in 1984. The site, at http://gnu.org, explains the GNU project in
GNU/Linux is the integrated combination of the GNU operating
system with the kernel, Linux, written by Linus Torvalds in 1991.
The various versions of GNU/Linux have an estimated 20 million
users. Some people call the GNU/Linux system "Linux", but this
misnomer leads to confusion (people cannot tell whether you mean
the whole system, or the kernel, which is one part), and spreads an
inaccurate picture of the system's history and origin. Making a
consistent distinction between GNU/Linux, the whole operating
system, and Linux, the kernel, is the best way to clear up the
About the Free Software Foundation:
The Free Software Foundation, founded in 1985, is dedicated to
promoting computer users' right to use, study, copy, modify, and
redistribute computer programs. The FSF promotes the development
and use of Free (as in freedom) Software - particularly the GNU
operating system and its GNU/Linux variants - and Free
Documentation for Free Software. The FSF also helps to spread
awareness of the ethical and political issues of freedom in the use
of software. Their web site, located at http://fsf.org, is an important source of
information about GNU/Linux. They are headquartered in Boston, MA,
About Cyberspace Policy Institute:
The Cyberspace Policy Institute is a center at George Washington
University to promote the analysis of policy problems that have a
significant computer systems component. Inside GW, the Institute
brings together researchers with interests in these areas, bridging
discipline barriers, much as the new information age is bridging
cultural and geopolitical barriers. Outside of the University, it
works with government and private organizations to examine
important issues in computer and communications systems policy. The
Institute carries out studies and hosts seminars and conferences
that move society towards rational and informed discussion of these
critical changes. CPI's mission is to encourage, promote,
facilitate, and execute interdisciplinary research in areas related
to the nexus of society and the Internet. The site is http://www.cpi.seas.gwu.edu.
DotGNU, a joint FreeDevelopers and GNU Project, will be a complete
Free Software replacement for the Microsoft .NET initiative. Unlike
the centralization of important Internet functions on
Microsoft-controlled servers, DotGNU will use a decentralized
paradigm with personal information and authorization/authentication
functions on the user's own home or corporate machines, or other
distributed network of trusted intermediaries, like existing
Internet service providers or financial institutions. The site is
FreeDevelopers is an international self-regulatory organization of
Free Software developers for the development of Free Software. The
purpose of FreeDevelopers is to create a viable, for profit,
business model for Free Software development. The commercial
principles of the new Intellectual Age are substantially different
from those of the Industrial Age, because intellectual products are
most efficiently produced by an inclusionary paradigm, not the
exclusionary one of the previous epoch. FreeDevelopers was founded
by Tony Stanco, Esq., a former Senior Attorney with the Securities
and Exchange Commission, Internet and software group. Tony Stanco
has a LL.M. in securities regulation from the Georgetown University
Law Center. He is also a Senior Policy Analyst with the Cyberspace
Policy Institute at George Washington University. The site is
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