"rights" and "freedoms"

Derek J. Balling dredd at megacity.org
Fri Oct 15 21:38:45 UTC 1999

At 03:01 PM 10/15/99 -0600, Richard Stallman wrote:
>Peter Deutsch wrote:
>       I have yet to hear a persuasive explanation of why Free
>     Software advocates think it's OK for authors of fiction to be paid 
> for each
>     copy of their work, but not programmers.  If the distinction is between a
>     "purely expressive" and a "functional" work, how about authors of 
> cookbooks?
>     Authors of how-to books of all kinds?  Authors of reference works?
>Anything other than software is outside the scope of the Free Software
>movement.  I personally have thought about some of these kinds of
>works (not all, yet).  I don't start from generalities.  Instead I
>look at the individual specific issues.
>But I don't have time to go off on that large tangent now.

I think you should make time, as this is a very important question. 
Certainly, you must feel cheated if you buy non-free food, don't you 
Richard? I mean, if that Frozen Chicken Enchilada isn't JUST the way you 
like it, you have no ability to tinker with the recipe and make it what you 
want.  Perhaps a General Food License should be established, requiring that 
the recipe of instructions for how to make any prepared food be available 
upon request.

Peter's point is valid -- a freedom is a freedom is a freedom, regardless 
of the forum in which that freedom is used. Why shouldn't I have the right, 
under your logic, to buy a Julia Child cookbook, tweak all the recipes (or 
none), and release a BETTER Julia Child cookbook?  Why shouldn't I be able 
to buy the latest Tom Clancy novel, re-write the last 10 chapters, and 
re-release a BETTER Tom Clancy novel? These actions are completely 
consistent with your philosophy, and if you disagree with them, then the 
definition of your philosophy, as has been disseminated to the unwashed 
masses, needs to be refined.


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