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Pirating Firefox?
February 23, 2006 3:04 PM   Subscribe

You can't just give away free software! Or can you? Firefox's copyleft premise destroys U.K. anti-piracy laws. Gervase Markham takes on a U.K. official who wants to arrest pirates for distributing firefox.
posted by FeldBum (14 comments total)

 
If Mozilla permit the sale of copied versions of its software, it makes it virtually impossible for us, from a practical point of view, to enforce UK anti-piracy legislation, as it is difficult for us to give general advice to businesses over what is/is not permitted.

Huh? How hard would it be to add a paragraph on copyleft to that general advice?
posted by jack_mo at 3:23 PM on February 23, 2006


Civil servant makes mistake. Film at 11.
posted by Protocols of the Elders of Awesome at 3:35 PM on February 23, 2006


copyleft an creative commons are the next big thing and they'll solve so many problems. copyright was created for the benefit of the innovation and the creators, now copyright is in place for the benefit of big corporation.
The official in UK basically just does not know what is creative commons and copyleft and does not know the beneficial spillover they have on total welfare.
posted by markM at 3:52 PM on February 23, 2006


'Copyleft' is a dumb dumb term.

Why nnot just call it 'copy right' i.e., the right to copy, which is what it was in the first place?
posted by Space Coyote at 4:10 PM on February 23, 2006


I wrote back, politely explaining the principles of copyleft – that the software was free, both as in speech and as in price, and that people copying and redistributing it was a feature, not a bug.

I hope he didn't use these actual geek-speak terms (free as in speech and beer.... feature not a bug) in his reply to the officer.
posted by Jimbob at 4:19 PM on February 23, 2006


It seems to me that the official didn't have a problem with giving away free software, but with selling free software.
posted by Bugbread at 4:31 PM on February 23, 2006


It seems to me that the official didn't have a problem with giving away free software, but with selling free software.

Technically, you can't sell free software - you can just charge for the CD / packaging / invisible fairies that come with it. He should have explained it like that.
posted by Jimbob at 4:41 PM on February 23, 2006


(As an example - how many computer magazines come with CDs on the cover that contain Firefox, or other open source software? It's pretty much equivalent. )
posted by Jimbob at 4:43 PM on February 23, 2006


if they arrest gnu pirates, where will we get our 0-day linux warez?
posted by ori at 4:47 PM on February 23, 2006


So some old civil servant who means well doesn't understand exactly how things work on the internets. It's not exactly an earth-shaking event we have here...
posted by Citizen Premier at 5:17 PM on February 23, 2006


Why nnot just call it 'copy right' i.e., the right to copy, which is what it was in the first place?

Because the distinction when speaking is difficult to make out, unless you do annoying air quotes or something, I'd guess. Otherwise, nice idea. Copyleft = Copy Right.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:31 PM on February 23, 2006


Jimbob : "Technically, you can't sell free software - you can just charge for the CD / packaging / invisible fairies that come with it. He should have explained it like that."

Technically you're wrong - most Open/Free Software licenses (Mozilla Licenses among them) nowadays make no such restrictions. The only requirement is that you must pass on all those rights, that is, the people who buy the software from you can themselves copy and sell the same software.
posted by nkyad at 6:49 PM on February 23, 2006


You'd imagine that someone in charge of watching out for piracy would be at least familiar with the most basic principles of free software, but then gov't. types usually do disappoint even the lowest of expectations in that regard.
posted by clevershark at 6:51 PM on February 23, 2006


Seems like she was upset that people were charging money for something that was being given out for free. I mean, the people selling firefox really were ripping people off, unless they were charging less then the download fees or whatever.

Then this Nerdy Knowitall has to go on to make fun of her in an article in this "oh my, isn't this amusing" tone. How irritating.
posted by delmoi at 10:18 PM on February 23, 2006


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