Copyright vs Community in the Age of Computer Networks
February 25, 2010
4pm
Olin Auditorium (Olin 115)
Abstract

Copyright was developed in the age of the printing press, and was designed to fit with the system of centralized copying imposed by the printing press. But the copyright system does not fit well with computer networks.

The global corporations that profit from copyright are lobbying for draconian punishments for copyright violations, and to increase their copyright powers, while suppressing public access to technology. But if we seriously hope to serve the only legitimate purpose of copyright - to promote progress, for the benefit of the public - then we must make changes in the other direction.

Richard Stallman launched the development of the GNU operating system (see www.gnu.org) in 1984. GNU is free software: everyone has the freedom to copy it and redistribute it, as well as to make changes either large or small. The GNU/Linux system, basically the GNU operating system with Linux added, is used on tens of millions of computers today. Stallman has received the ACM Grace Hopper Award, a MacArthur Foundation fellowship, the Electronic Frontier Foundation's Pioneer award, and the Takeda Award for Social/Economic Betterment, as well as several honorary doctorates.


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