The World

[as I find it]

Free Software and the Arts

with 2 comments

This page was created for a presentation I gave in class about how the Free Software movement can inform improvements we can make in copyright law. The quotes below are selections from my sources, and copyrighted by their respective owners. My own paper is posted as a PDF from a link at the bottom of the page; please feel free to read it and leave comments. Verbatim copying of my work is permitted in any medium, provided this notice is preserved.

“The GNU General Public License is intended to guarantee your freedom to share and change free software–to make sure the software is free for all its users. … When we speak of free software, we are referring to freedom, not price. Our General Public Licenses are designed to make sure that you have the freedom to distribute copies of free software (and charge for this service if you wish), that you receive source code or can get it if you want it, that you can change the software or use pieces of it in new free programs; and that you know you can do these things.” Text of the GNU General Public License.

The GNU GPL is the most commonly used Free Software license. Daily statistics regarding FS/OSS projects hosted by

“Almost eight out of ten software developers started with OS/FS because they wanted to learn and develop new skills, and half of the sample claimed that they wanted to share their knowledge and skills with other software developers. … 35% of the sample emphasized their wish to participate in new forms of cooperation that are associated with OS/FS development, and another 34% emphasized aspects of the goods produced in OS/FS by stating that they wished to improve software products of other developers. 31% state that they wanted to participate in the OS/FS scene, and 30% were convinced that software should not be a proprietary product.” The FLOSS Study’s Findings on the Motivations of Free Software Developers.

“This week, it has come to our attention that Yahoo! has updated their index to find well over 10 million web pages that link to our licenses.” Breakdown of Creative Commons licenses. The most common license is Attribution Non-Commercial Share-Alike: “This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon your work non-commercially, as long as they credit you and license their new creations under the identical terms. Others can download and redistribute your work just like the by-nc-nd license, but they can also translate, make remixes, and produce new stories based on your work. All new work based on yours will carry the same license, so any derivatives will also be non-commercial in nature.

The U.S. Constitution, Article I, section 8 says: “The Congress shall have power … To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries.”

Here’s my paper concerning these topics.


Written by whereofwecannotspeak

March 21, 2007 at 7:00 pm

2 Responses

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  1. Hi,

    We were chatting on HackerNews. Is it possible to quote your paper in my MA thesis if necessary? Have you a list of academic (as opposed to popular, institutional, legal, and so on) articles related to open source? I have found one journal:

    We must pass over in silence.

    Anthony Durity

    November 21, 2010 at 12:28 pm

    • Hi Anthony,

      Absolutely! Normal academic quotation is fine, if you would find my paper useful. (It’s just an unpublished undergraduate paper, though.) I’m afraid I don’t have any more academic citations for you, though a good place to start would probably be Lawrence Lessig’s work.


      November 21, 2010 at 4:01 pm

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