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RMS: How the Swedish Pirate Party platform backfires on free software

by John Sullivan Contributions Published on Jul 23, 2009 02:18 PM

by John Sullivan
Operations Manager

FSF president Richard Stallman explains the unintended interactions between the Swedish Pirate Party's platform and free software in his new article, "How the Swedish Pirate Party Platform Backfires on Free Software".

Because free software currently relies on copyleft to protect software freedom, while proprietary software has other means beyond copyright to keep users restricted (like patents and EULAs), eliminating copyright would protect proprietary software and hurt free software. Users would never get to have the source code of the proprietary software, while proprietary software companies would be able to openly pillage from the free world.

Fortunately, there is a way to fix this problem:

So I proposed that the Pirate Party platform require proprietary software's source code to be put in escrow when the binaries are released. The escrowed source code would then be released in the public domain after 5 years. Rather than making free software an official exception to the 5-year copyright rule, this would eliminate proprietary software's unofficial exception. Either way, the result is fair.

Read the rest of the article.

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