Creative Commons and Open Source licenses – Do digital freedoms conflict with property rights?
Kirstine's bookmarks 2019-05-04
Revolutions often start with stories, anger, and frustrations that are a prioriinsignificant and anecdotal. This is the case of the so-called free culture that is probably one of the most important democratic developments in digital technology. Yet this movement originated from a printing problem! At the beginning of the 1980s, Richard Stallman, an MIT computer scientist, was infuriated with his jammed printer. But the program managing the machine did not allow him to open its hood, repair it, or improve the motor. Like all the programs for standard products sold by the IT industry, it was written in an inaccessible binary code. To counter this technical and economic development, Stallman invented the license-free concept. It was the General Public License (GPL), which aimed to free software by making the source code accessible to anyone. It tore down walls and established the freedom to share, change, and distribute copyright-protected work. IT program creators now had a choice: to either claim a copyright to prevent any copy or manipulation, or make the software license-free and open source. Communities of programmers built on this principle of freedom and sharing to develop software and operating systems like Linux in a bid to gain large market shares.