"rights" and "freedoms"

R. L. Kleeberger rlk at cinternet.net
Fri Oct 15 22:36:44 UTC 1999

On Fri, Oct 15, 1999 at 02:38:45PM -0700, Derek J. Balling wrote:
> 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. 

Yes, this is a very important question, but elaborating on issues other than
software would be a digression into a subject matter in which the FSF is not 
concerning itself with.

Organizations, foundations, et cetera, are put together to focus on very
specific issues.  The Free Software Foundation is focusing on *software*,
not literature, music, or the arts.  Some of the philosophies the FSF holds
might be applicable elsewhere, but I do not believe it is the FSF's goal
to do so, nor should it be.  Why should the FSF be forced to apply it's
philosophy to other facets of life when it never claimed it could do so?

> 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.

This is completely absurd.  How is this even closely related to software?

> Peter's point is valid -- a freedom is a freedom is a freedom, regardless 
> of the forum in which that freedom is used.

Incorrect, some freedoms are more important than others.  The freedom to live
is much more important than the freedom of software, and the freedom of
software is much more important than the freedom of chicken fried rice

> 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?

No one claimed you should or shouldn't be able to.  And no one said that
the freedom of software can easily be applied to anything else except software.

> 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?

Again, no one ever said you should or shouldn't be able to.

> 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.

And again, incorrect.  Where in the FSF's philosophy does it even bring up the
subject of literature?  It doesn't (excluding, of course, the FSF's stance
on free documentation), and they should not be accountable for the freedom
of literature.

- R. L. Kleeberger

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