David Johnson david at usermode.org
Sat Mar 25 01:53:45 UTC 2000

On Fri, 24 Mar 2000, Mark Koek wrote:

> The GPL is dishonest, then?

I didn't say that! Nowhere within it does it say it is not property,
and plenty of places where it acknowledges it is guarding a piece of
intellectual property. But I hear a lot of statements to the effect
that "copyleft is not copyright" when in fact it is. People who don't
believe in information as property, but turn around and use the GPL
saying "no one owns it", are being dishonest, either with me or with
themselves. I can only assume that they are being unintentionally

> RMS dislikes the notion of information as property.

Then it is curious to me why he considers his own works, as
demonstrated by his actions, to be intellectual property. Regardless of
whether he considers himself and the FSF as owners or as mere
caretakers, he has imposed upon his works terms and conditions that
only owners are allowed to make. He claims to be giving his software
away when in fact he is sharing instead.

Is he being dishonest by doing this? In my opinion, yes...

> Personally, I like this kind of pragmatic approach. Change the system
> from within.

The "viral" clauses may do some small bit of changing the system, but
as a whole, Free Software sits squarely amidst the concepts of
property. Essentially, you can't do anything with anyone else's
property without their prior permission. Free Software gives you those
permissions. Does taking down one's "no trespassing" sign count as a
blow against real estate property? Hardly!

David Johnson...

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