Freedom and Greed

Jason Edwards jtanium at
Wed Jan 23 05:40:55 MST 2008

Writing books and music aren't morally wrong because nobody "owns" the
seven stories, and nobody owns musical notation.  What if anytime you
wanted to write a story, you had to go down to OfficeDepot and pick up
a license for the "Cinderella" plot? Or a license to use the 'C' note
in a song you wanted to write?  The point is it would be morally wrong
to "own" those things.

I still haven't worked out exactly how to phrase what I was trying to say...


On Jan 22, 2008 12:47 PM, Stuart Jansen <sjansen at> wrote:
> On Tue, 2008-01-22 at 12:18 -0700, Jason Edwards wrote:
> > For me, closed-source software is morally wrong because it's built on
> > top of other people's ideas.
> Just like making a living writing books is morally wrong because there
> are only seven stories[1] and photocopiers fundamentally alter the
> economics of publishing.  Just like making a living writing music is
> morally wrong because it's just a rearrangement of previously discovered
> musical notes  Just liking licensing your software under the GPL is
> morally wrong because copyright is morally wrong and the GPL depends on
> copyright.
> > You don't have to agree with it, but hopefully you can understand why
> > many Free Software advocates feel the way they do.
> Whoa, careful there bucko. You've been drinking too much of the
> kool-aid, or ignoring too many of the details. It's possible to be
> opposed to software patents without being opposed to copyright. The act
> of creating knowledge inherently depends on the discoveries of others.
> That's what the "shoulders of giants" quote is about. The act of
> creating physical artifacts is fundamentally different. You're one step
> away from arguing that I should be forced to work to feed you.
> It's one thing to argue, now that we know about linked lists we should
> all be allowed to use them. It's a completely different to argue that
> because we know how to write linked lists I should have to write them
> for you.
> [1]
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