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It's Working: SOPA Losing Momentum. Ask Sen. Wyden to Read Your Name During a Filibuster...

U.S. Senator Ron Wyden

Following up to our earlier article:

Public opposition to the SOPA / PROTECT-IP bills has been very strong, and the U.S. Congress is taking notice.  The bills are losing momentum, and one of the clearest voices against them has been U.S. Senator Ron Wyden. While we don't agree with all his positions on copyright, he's consistently opposed anything he views as interfering with freedom of speech (if only he saw how copyright interferes with freedom of speech on a daily basis -- but we understand that that argument hasn't made it to the U.S. Senate yet, because of how successfully the copyright lobby has framed it as a property issue). Senator Wyden, to his credit, is threatening to filibuster the bill if it ever comes to floor debate, and is offering to include your name in the filibuster if you'd like. To sign up, go to StopCensorship.org. I just did, and I hope you will too.

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Nov. 16th is American Censorship Day -- Help Stop U.S. Internet Blacklisting.

This web site is blocked.

Sound scary?

It's about to happen in the U.S.  Actually, it already does, given that copyright enforcement is inherently censorship-based (something many legislators are curiously unable to say aloud).  But it's about to get much worse: the SOPA / E-PARASITE and PROTECT-IP bills currently pending in the U.S. Congress would, among other things, make it easy for private sector monopolists to cut sites off from the Internet without even proving that illegal copying has taken place.  Join us and many others who are censoring their logos today to oppose these laws that would place the United States on a collision course with Internet freedom.

Sign the petition!

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Remix Stallman, Anyone? (Or: Why Won't the Founder of Free Software Embrace Free Culture?)

Richard StallmanThis is a bit of inside baseball [*] in the copyright reform world, so we'll understand if you wonder what the big deal is.  But for those of us who were first inspired -- as I was -- by Richard Stallman's radical and prescient commitment to software freedom, his unwillingness to go the whole way and embrace Free Culture for non-software works is puzzling.

Recently we had some correspondence with an Internetizen known to us only as "openuniverse" or "libreuniverse", who resigned his membership in the Free Software Foundation over Stallman's insistence on exercising his state-granted monopoly to prevent derivative works from being made of his writings and speeches.

I phrase it that way for a reason.  Elsewhere, you might see it expressed as "Stallman's insistence on using his copyright to control what can be done with his works".  But Stallman himself understands these issues very well, and could easily spot the unspoken assumptions in that way of putting it.  No one was asking to change his works, or to attribute to him thoughts or expressions not his. No one's existing copies of Stallman's works would be changed.  Rather, openuniverse wanted to make a new work, using material from one of Stallman's books -- and Stallman quashed it.

Specifically, openuniverse asked:

i want to make a bash script (or python script) that is free software and contains the entirety of your book's text. (though it *might* have some parts in a different order, i'm not sure.)

(In this context, "script" means a computer program.)  Stallman's reply, which is consistent with what he's said elsewhere, was:

Sorry, you can't incude my essays in such a program.  Free programs can read my essays, but they need to be separate.

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