March 08, 2003
Night 1

I listened to Richard Stallman talk about copyright last night. It wasn't the usual Free Software talk, it was all about the place of Copyright in our society.

He made a few interesting points like comparing software code to cooking recipes. What would cooks think if they could not use or modify a recipe? Imagine a law against changing a recipe, or trying to figure out a recipe from tasting a prepared dish, or even disallowing you to give a copy of a recipe to a friend.

Sounds silly right? Currently, this is the case with computer software.

He also makes the valid point that all creative works cannot be treated the same way. A recipe is different that a novel and should be treated differently. Current copyright law makes all creative works behave the same way.

I don't agree with every conclusion that he draws, but he does make valid points that are hard to simply refute. The main arguement against many of his ideas is that they will 'break' existing business models. This is a difficult arguement to logically defend, but it is very easy to defend it with money and politicians.

Somethings got to give between P2P networks, DRM, Trustworthy/Treacherous Computing, and the DMCA. It's all getting caught up into a hairball and I think business is going to choke on it.

I think the question is "Will the old content creation giants be able to adapt before the marketplace adapts around them." Xerox had the personal computer and decided it would hurt copier sales and killed plans to move forward. Will Disney & Time Warner sell people what they want before they can easily get it for free?

After Stallman's speech I went to the Linux Top Gun at a night club. Basically several hacker groups try to hack each other. I drank a couple glasses of scotch, sniffed the ethernet packets flyign by and watched the strange interaction between those the there for the hacking event and the Film/Music people also in th ebar wondering what all the laptops were for.

Time for kickball.

Posted by michael at March 08, 2003 08:32 AM