Karl Fogel of QuestionCopyright recently played “gotcha” with Richard Stallman and Glyn Moody – whom I hold in the same favor he holds Stallman – then steps up in Techdirt and plays the false equivalency game.
Fogel himself has an axe to grind here, so this is not an “interview.” Not that there's anything wrong with his axe. “Our projects highlight the restrictive effects of distribution monopolies,” he writes. “We're trying to change the terms of the debate, so that copyright reform efforts aren't stuck always reacting to industry rhetoric that equates copying with theft, plagiarism, and the abuse or destruction of the original work.”
Why is going after Stallman? Because (he claims) Stallman's retention of copyright (and control) over his own written work somehow contradicts his attitude toward software.
And what is that attitude? He wants a choice. He wants the power, as an individual, to offer code differently from copyright, and to protect the integrity of his own opinions. What's wrong with that?
Why, it's against freedom, writes Nina Paley. “I want the Free Software community – those who currently best understand the Four Freedoms – to champion the rest of Culture, not just Software.”
Oh, since Stallman champions the GPL and built the Free Software Foundation, he loses the right to control his own life as he sees fit? That's not freedom. It's the opposite.
The whole idea of putting a GPL license on something is that you want other people to use it, to tinker with it, to add to it. That's why the GPL is still the most popular open source license there is – by a mile. Because if you want other people tweaking your code, and adding to your code of their own free will, then of course you want to give them the same freedoms you insist upon.
That's not the case with memoirs. That's not the case with columns like this. I don't mind you commenting on what I write, but I don't want you tweaking me, or fixing me, or changing me, or adding to me in ways I don't control. I think you feel the same way about yourself.
I don't mind you excerpting my stuff, by the way, just as I don't see anything wrong with taking thumbnails of art that isn't watermarked and isn't clearly labeled as wanting to stay in a cul de sac. I know some fiends out there are going to slam me on that point, so I want to get the response out first. There's a difference between spreading something around, with credit, and changing it.
Glyn knows this in his gut, but I think the demands of deadlines, and the desire for page views, may have gotten to him this time. So he generated a fake controversy, responding to fake questions with a nod of the head, and kept the stupid going.
As, he may argue, this does.