source: non-gtk/emoglen/anarchism.bg.xml @ 1153

Last change on this file since 1153 was 1153, checked in by Александър Шопов, 14 years ago

r1317@kochinka: ash | 2007-06-05 08:26:10 +0300
anarchism: един абзац.

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4<article lang="bg">
5  <title>Триумфиращият анархизъм</title>
6  <articleinfo>
7    <releaseinfo>$Id: anarchism.bg.xml 1153 2007-06-06 17:38:37Z ash $</releaseinfo>
8  </articleinfo>
9
10  <!-- <html><head>  --> 
11  <!-- base
12       href="http://firstmonday.org/issues/issue4_8/moglen/index.html"
13  -->
14
15  <!--
16       <meta name="Description" content="This paper shows why free software, far from
17       being a marginal participant in the commercial software market, is the
18       first step in the withering away of the intellectual property system.">
19       <meta name="Keywords" content="anarchism triumphant, free software, death of copyright, Linux operating system kernel, software as property, article">
20       <meta name="DC.Title" content="Anarchism triumphant">
21       <meta name="DC.Title" content="Free software and the death of copyright">
22       <meta name="DC.Creator" content="Moglen, Eben">
23       <meta name="DC.Subject" content="anarchism triumphant, free software, death of copyright, Linux operating system kernel, software as property, article">
24       <meta name="DC.Description" content="This paper shows why free software, far from being a marginal participant in the commercial software market, is the
25       first step in the withering away of the intellectual property system.">
26       <meta name="DC.Publisher" content="Valauskas, Edward J.">
27       <meta name="DC.Publisher" content="Dyson, Esther">
28       <meta name="DC.Publisher" content="Ghosh, Rishab Aiyer">
29       <meta name="DC.Date" content="1999-08-02">
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33       <meta name="DC.Language" content="en">
34       <meta name="DC.Relation" content="IsPartOf First Monday, vol 4, no. 8"></head><body alink="#ffee99" bgcolor="#ffffff" link="#bb7777" text="#000000" vlink="#7777bb">
35
36<blockquote><img src="anarchism_files/logo.gif" alt="First Monday" align="bottom" border="0" height="40" width="256"><br>
37
38</blockquote>
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40
41
42  <para><ulink url="http://firstmonday.org/issues/issue4_8/moglen/index.html#author"><!-- <img src="anarchism_files/moglen.gif" alt="Anarchism Triumphant: Free Software and the Death of Copyright" border="0">--> </ulink></para>
43
44  <blockquote><para>Разпространението на ядрото за операционни системи
45  Линукс насочи вниманието към движението за свободен софтуер.  Това есе
46  показва защо свободният софтуер, който далеч не е нищожен участник в
47  пазара на комерсиален софтуер, е важната първа стъпка в премахването
48  на системата на интелектуална собственост.</para></blockquote>
49
50  <section>
51    <title>Софтуерът като собственост: Теоретичният парадокс</title>
52
53    <para><emphasis>Софтуер</emphasis>: никоя друга дума не въплъщава
54    толкова пълно рактическите и социалните ефекти на цифровата революция.
55    Първоначално терминът е бил чисто технически и е означавал частите на
56    една компютърна система, която за разлика от "хардуера" -- направен
57    непроменим от производителя си в електрониката на системата, е можел
58    свободно да бъде променян.  Първият софтуер е представлявал начина на
59    включване на кабели и прекъсвачи на външните панели на електронни
60    устройства, но още с появата на езикови средства за промяната на
61    поведението на компютъра, "софтуер" започнал да обозначава предимно
62    изразяванията в повече или по-малко понятех за хората език, който
63    както описвал, така и контролирал поведението на машината<footnote>
64    <para>1. Тази отлика е била само приблизителна в първоначалния
65    контекст.  В края на 60-те определена част от основните операции
66    на хардуера са контролирани от програми, които са цифрово кодирани
67    в електрониката на компютърното оборудване, които не могат да
68    бъдат променяни веднъж след като продукцията е излязла от
69    фабриката.  Такива символни, но непроменими компоненти, са били
70    известни като "микрокод" на жаргона на индустрията, но стана
71    обичайно те да се наричат "фърмуеър".  Изменчивостта, както бе
72    показано от термина "фърмуеър" (# БЕЛЕЖКА ЗА ЗНАЧЕНИЕТО НА
73    КОРЕНИТЕ НА ДУМИТЕ СОФТУЕР, ХАРДУЕР, ФЪРМУЕР),се отнася главно към
74    възможността на потребителите да изменят символите, които
75    определят поведението на машината.  Понеже цифровата революция
76    доведе до широката употреба на компютрите от технически
77    некомпетентни лица, повечето от традиционния софтуер -- приложни
78    програми, операционни системи, инструкции за числово управление и
79    т. н. -- е, за повечето от потребителите си, фърмуер.  Може да е
80    символен, а не електронен в начина, по който е направен, но те не
81    могат да го променят, дори и да искат, нещо което те често, но
82    безсилно и с негодуванние правят.  Това "затвърдяване на софтуера"
83    е основното условие на собственическия подход към законовата
84    организация на цифровото обществео, което е темата на този
85    доклад.</para></footnote>.</para>
86
87    <para>Така е било тогава, а сега е така: технологиите базирани на
88    обработката на информация кодирана в цифров вид сега е социално
89    доминираща в повечето аспекти на човешката култура в "развитите"
90    общества.  <footnote><para>2. В рамките на сегашното поколение,
91    самата концепция за социално "равитие" се измества от притежанието
92    на индустрия основана на двигател с вътрешно горене към
93    "пост-индустрия" базирана на цифровите комуникации и свързаните с
94    тях форми на икономическа дейност, основани на
95    "знания".</para></footnote>.  Преминаването от аналогово към
96    цифрово представяне -- във видеото, музиката, печатането,
97    телекомуникациите и дори хореографията, религиозните церемонии и
98    сексуалното задоволяване (# religious worship, sexual
99    gratification) -- потенциално превръща всички форми на човешката
100    символна дейност във софтуер, то ест -- променими инструкции за
101    описание и управление на поведението на машините.  Чрез
102    концептуално постформиране, характено за западното научно мислене,
103    разделението между хардуера и софтуера се наблюдава в природния
104    или социалния свят и е станал нов начин за изразяване на конфликта
105    между идеите на детерминизъм и свободната воля, природата и
106    възпитанието, или гените и културата.  (# Какво е backformation?
107    Аналог на transformation ли?  By a conceptual back-formation
108    characteristic of Western scientistic thinking, the division
109    between hardware and software is now being observed in the natural
110    or social world, and has become a new way to express the conflict
111    between ideas of determinism and free will, nature and nurture, or
112    genes and culture.)  Нашият "хардуер", който е генетично зададен е
113    нашата природа и ни определя.  Нашето възпитание е "софтуера",
114    който задава културното ни прграмиране, което е нашата относителна
115    свобода.  И така нататък, за неразумно дърдорещите. (# And so on,
116    for those reckless of blather).<footnote><para>3. Всъщност, едно
117    бързо замисляне ще разкрие, че нашите гени са фърмуеър.
118    Еволюцията направи прехода от аналогово към цифрово още преди
119    периода на първите вкаменелости.  Но ние не притежавахме властта
120    за управлявани, преки промени.  До завчера.  През следващото
121    столетие гените също ще се превърнат в софтуер и въпреки че не
122    разглеждам проблема по нататък в това есе, политиеските
123    последствия на несвободността на софтуера в този контекст са още
124    по-плашещи в сравнение с културните артефакти.</para></footnote>
125    Този "софтуер" се превръща в жизнеспособна метафора за цялата
126    символна активност, която очевидно е разведена (еманципирана) от
127    техническия контекст на произхода на думата, въпреки неудобството,
128    което се появява в технически компетентните, когато термина влиза
129    в устите на хората, като се изпуска концептуалното значение на
130    неговия произход.<footnote><para>4. <emphasis>Виж
131    напр.:</emphasis> J. M. Balkin, 1998. <emphasis>Cultural Software:
132    a Theory of Ideology.</emphasis> New Haven: Yale University
133    Press.</para></footnote></para>
134
135
136    <para>Но широкото възприемане на използването на цифровите
137    технологии от тези, които не разбират принципите на действието им,
138    въпреки, че лицензира (#позволява, licenses) широкото метафорично
139    наемане на "софтуера", всъщност не ни позволява да забравим, че
140    сега компютрите са навсякъде под нашата социална кожа.  Движението
141    от аналогово към цифрово е по-важно за структурата на социалните и
142    юридическите отношения отколкото по известното, но по-несигурно
143    преминаване от статс към договор (# from status to contract)
144    <footnote><para>5. <emphasis>Виж</emphasis> Henry Sumner Maine,
145    1861. <emphasis>Ancient Law: Its Connection with the Early History
146    of Society, and Its Relation to Modern Idea.</emphasis> First
147    edition. London: J. Murray.</para></footnote>.  Това са лоши
148    новини за тези правни мислители, които не го разбират, и което е
149    причината толкова много преструване на разбиране така добре да
150    процъфтява.  Потенциално обаче, нашето велико преминаване е много
151    добра новина за тези, които могат да превърнат новооткритата земя
152    в своя собственост.  Това е и причината текущите "притежатели" на
153    софтуера толкова силно да поддържат и насърчават невежеството на
154    всички останали.  За тяхно нещастие -- по причини известни на
155    правните теоретици, които все още не са разбрали как да прилагат
156    традиционната си логика в тази сфера -- трикът няма да се
157    задейства.  Това есе обяснява защо<footnote><para>6. По принцип не
158    харесвам вмъкването на автобиография в изследователската дейност.
159    Но понеже това тук е мое тъжно задължение, а и голямо удоволствие
160    да оспоря квалифицираността или <emphasis>bona fide-то</emphasis>
161    на кажи-речи всеки, трябва да си позволя преценка на себе си.  За
162    първи път бях изложен на занаята (#вещината - craft) на
163    компютърното програмиране през 1971г.  Започнах да получавам
164    надник като комерсиален програмист през 1973г. -- на възраст от 13
165    г.  и продълавах така в разнообразие от компютърни услуги,
166    инжинерство и многонационални технологически предрпиятия
167    (#enerprises) до 1985г.  През 1975 спомогнах за написването на
168    една от първите системи за електронна поща в САЩ.  От 1979г. бях
169    зает с проучването и разработката на висши компютърни езици за
170    програмиране в Ай Би Ем.  Тези дейности направиха икономически
171    възможно за мен да изучавам исторически науки и юридическото
172    лукавство.  Заплатата ми бе достатъчна да заплати таксите за
173    обучението ми, но не - за да изпреваря аргуметна, който
174    икономоджетата ще направят по-надолу - защото програмите ми са
175    били интелектуалната собственост на работодателя ми, а по-скоро,
176    защото караха хардуера, който работодателят ми продаваше, да
177    работи по-добре.  Повечето от това, което написах бе на практика
178    свободен софтуер.  Въпреки, че след това имах някакъв незначителен
179    технически принос към самото движение свободе софтуер, описано в
180    този документ, основните ми дейности от негово име бяха
181    юридически.  В последните пед години служих (естествено без да ми
182    се плаща) като главния юристконсулт на Фондацията за свободен
183    софтуер.</para></footnote>.</para>
184
185    <para>Трябва да започнем като разгледаме техническата същност на
186    подобните устройства, които ни заобикалят в ерата на
187    <quote>софтуера в културата</quote>.  CD плеърът е добър пример.
188    Основният мъ вход е поток от битове, който се чете от оптичен диск
189    за съхрание на дании.  Този поток описва музиката във вид на
190    замервания, които се правят 44000 пъти в секунда на честотата и
191    амплитудата на два аудио канала.  Основният изход на плеъра е
192    аналоговия аудио изход.  <footnote><para>7. Естествено - плеърът
193    има вторични входове и изходи на контролни канали - бутоните и
194    инфрачервения датчик за дистанционното управление са входове, а
195    дисплея за времето и поредната песен са изходи.</para></footnote>.
196    Както всичко друго в цифровия свят, музиката както бива видяна от
197    CD плеъра, е просто информация във вид на исла - един популярен
198    запис на Деветата симфония на Бетовен, записана от Артуро
199    Тосканини и Симфоничния оркестър и хор на Ен Би Си е (като
200    пропуснем няколко незначителни цифри) 1276749873424, а особенно
201    перверзният последен запис на Глен Гуд на Вариациите на Голдбърг е
202    (в също доста съкратен вид) 767459083268.</para>
203
204    <para>Колкото и да е странно, тези две числа са <quote>покрити от
205    авторското право</quote>.  Това хипотетично (би трябвало/разбираш
206    ли/supposedly FIXME) да означава, че не можете да притежавате
207    друго копие на тези числа след като веднъж са въплатени в някаква
208    физическа форма, освен ако не сте ги лицензирали.  А и не можете
209    да преобразувате 767459083268 в 2347895697 за вашите приятели (за
210    да поправите нелепия избор на Гуд за темпото), без да създадете
211    <quote>творба основана на друга</quote> (derivative
212    work FIXME), за което е необходим лиценз.</para>
213
214    <para>По същото време (FIXME At the same time) пообен оптичен диск
215    за съхранение на данни съдържа друго число, нека това да е
216    7537489532. Това е алгоритъмът за линейно програмиране на големи
217    системи с множество ограничения, който е полезен например, когато
218    искате да постигнете оптимално ползване на оборотните запаси
219    (FIXNE rolling stock) при управлението на товарна железница.  Това
220    число (в САЩ) е <quote>патентовано</quote>, което означава, че не
221    можете да получите числото 7537489532 за себе си или по някакъв
222    друг начин да <quote>упражнявате занаята</quote> (FIXME "practice
223    the art") на патента що се отнася до решаването на проблеми в
224    областта на линейното програмиране, независимо как сте достигнали
225    до идеята, дори и сами да сте се сетили, освен ако нямате лиценз
226    от притежателя на числото.</para>
227
228    <para>А идва и 9892454959483.  Това е изходния код на програмата
229    Word на Майкрософт.  Освен че <quote>подналежи на авторско
230    право</quote>, числото е й търговска тайна, което означава, че ако
231    го вземете от Майкрософт и го дадете на някой друг, можете да
232    бъдете наказан.</para>
233
234    <para>И най-накрая - ето го и числото 588832161316.  То не прави
235    нищо и е просто 767354 на квадрат.  Доколкото ми е известно, то не
236    е притежавано по горнит параграфи от никой. Поне засега.</para>
237
238    <para>В този момент трябва да се справим с първото възражение към
239    наученото.  То идва от същество, което се нарича доридИС.  Този
240    дроид е с префинен ум и изтънчен живот.  На него много му се
241    харесват изтънчените вечери на академичните и министерси
242    конференции за ТРИПС (FIXME - няма ли каламбур тука), да не
243    говорим за привилигеията често да се появява на MSNBC (FIXME - има
244    ли някой конкретно предвид или се подиграва на МС).  На него му се
245    иска да знам, че допускам грешката да бъркам въплащението на
246    интелектуалната собственост със самата нея.  Не числото е
247    патентовано, глупча, само алгоритъма на Камаркар.  Числото
248    <emphasis>може</emphasis> може да бъде покрито от авторското
249    право, понеже правото покрива изразните качества на конкретно,
250    осезаемо въплащение на идея (в което въплащение някои функционални
251    качества могат да бъдат мистериозно слети, стига да не са
252    прекалено слети) (FIXME- какво име предвид), но не покрива
253    алгортъма.  А числото не е подлежало на патентоване, само
254    <quote>преподаването</quote> му доколкото се отнася до това
255    железниците да работят по разписание.  И числото, което
256    представлява търговската тайна на Майкрософт Уърд можело да бъде
257    търговска тайна, но ако сте го открили самостоятелно (като
258    например извършите аритметическа обработка на други числа издадени
259    от Майкрософт, което е познато като <quote>реверсивно
260    инжинерство</quote>), нама да сте бъдели наказани, поне ако
261    живеете в няои части на Съединените щати.</para>
262
263    <para>Този дроид, подобна на други нему, често е прав.  Условието
264    да си дроид е да знаеш всичко за нещо и нищо за всичко останало.
265    Със своевременната си и спешна намеса дроидът установи, за
266    текущата система за интелектуална собственот съдържа множество
267    заплетени и умно намислени черти.  Сложнотиите се комбинират,
268    което позволява на професорите да са ерудираним на конгресмените
269    да бъдат спонсорирани за кампаниите си, на адвокаите да носят
270    хубави костюми и мокасини с пискюли (FIXME - tassel loafer,
271    префърцунени налъми с пискюлче), а на Мърдок да е богат.
272    Сложнотиите са се развили в ерата на индустриалното
273    разпространение на информация, когато информацията е била записана
274    в аналогова форма върху физически обекти, които са стрували доста,
275    за да бъдат направени, преместени и продадени.  Когато бъдат
276    приложени към цифровата информация, която безпроблемно се движи
277    през мрежата и е с нулеви маргинални разходи за копие, всичко
278    продължава да си работи, най-вече докато не си извадита главата от
279    пясъка (не си отворите затворените очи).</para>
280
281    <para>Но не за това спорих.  Исках да посоча нещо друго: нашият
282    свят се състои все повече и повече от не друго, а големи числа
283    (още известни като потоци от битове), и освен това - по причини,
284    които нямат нищо общо с появяващите се свойства на самите числа
285    (FIXME - emergent properties, сигурно от някакъв учебник по
286    физика) - юридическата система в момента се е заела да се отнася
287    към подобни числа по радикално различен начин.  Никой не е в
288    състояние да каже като погледне число, което е дълго 100 милиона
289    цифри, дали същото това число е подложено на патентна,
290    авторскоправна защита или такава на търговската тайна, и дали в
291    действителност е <quote>притежавано</quote> въобще от някой.  Така
292    че законовата система, която имаме - както и да сме благословени с
293    нейните последици, ако и да сме преподватели по авторско право,
294    конгресмени, огушили се с Гучи потребители (FIXME - gulcher - дали
295    е просто набуквяване) е заставена да третира неразличими неща по
296    различни начини.</para>
297
298    <para>Now, in my role as a legal historian concerned with the secular
299    (that is, very long term) development of legal thought, I claim that
300    legal regimes based on sharp but unpredictable distinctions among
301    similar objects are radically unstable. They fall apart over time
302    because every instance of the rules' application is an invitation to
303    at least one side to claim that instead of fitting in ideal category A
304    the particular object in dispute should be deemed to fit instead in
305    category B, where the rules will be more favorable to the party making
306    the claim. This game - about whether a typewriter should be deemed a
307    musical instrument for purposes of railway rate regulation, or whether
308    a steam shovel is a motor vehicle - is the frequent stuff of legal
309    ingenuity. But when the conventionally-approved legal categories
310    require judges to distinguish among the identical, the game is
311    infinitely lengthy, infinitely costly, and almost infinitely offensive
312    to the unbiased bystander <footnote><para>8. This is not an insight
313    unique to our present enterprise. A closely-related idea forms one of
314    the most important principles in the history of Anglo-American law,
315    perfectly put by Toby Milsom in the following terms:</para>
316    <blockquote><para>The life of the common law has been in the abuse of
317    its elementary ideas. If the rules of property give what now seems an
318    unjust answer, try obligation; and equity has proved that from the
319    materials of obligation you can counterfeit the phenomena of
320    property. If the rules of contract give what now seems an unjust
321    answer, try tort. ... If the rules of one tort, say deceit, give what
322    now seems an unjust answer, try another, try negligence. And so the
323    legal world goes round.</para></blockquote><para>S.F.C. Milsom,
324    1981. <emphasis>Historical Foundations of the Common Law.</emphasis>
325    Second edition. London: Butterworths, p. 6.</para> </footnote>.</para>
326
327    <para>Така че станите могат да харчат колкото си искат пари за
328    законодателите и съдиите, които могат да си позволят, които за
329    новите <quote>собственици</quote> на цифровия свят са доста много,
330    но правилата, които ще си купят, в края на краищата, няма да
331    работят.  Рано или късно парадигмите ще се срутят.  Естествено,
332    ако по-късно означава след две поколения, разпределението на
333    богатството и властта, които сe утвърдят в това време, може да не
334    са обратими по никакъв по-малко драстичен начин от
335    <emphasis>bellum servile</emphasis> (FIXME - революция?) от
336    разплутите телезриели срещу медийните магнати. Така че да знеем,
337    че историята не е на страната на Бил Гейтс не е достатъчно.  Ние
338    предсказваме бъдещето по много ограничен начин - ние знаем, че
339    съществуващиете правила, които все още пламтят с шаблонните
340    вярвания, които твърдо са изброени като подкрепящи ги, вече са
341    безсислени. Страните свободно ще ги употребяват и ще
342    злоупотребяват с тях докато масата с <quote>порядъчно</quote>
343    консервативно мноне не призне смъртта им - с несигурен резултат.
344    Но реалистичната наука следва вече да обръща вниманието си към
345    ясната нужда за нов път на мисълта.</para>
346
347    <para>When we reach this point in the argument, we find ourselves
348    contending with the other primary protagonist of educated idiocy: the
349    econodwarf. Like the IPdroid, the econodwarf is a species of hedgehog,
350    <footnote><para>9. <emphasis>See</emphasis> Isaiah Berlin,
351    1953. <emphasis>The Hedgehog and the Fox: An Essay on Tolstoy's View
352    of History.</emphasis> New York: Simon and Schuster.</para>
353    </footnote> but where the droid is committed to logic over experience,
354    the econodwarf specializes in an energetic and well-focused but
355    entirely erroneous view of human nature. According to the econodwarf's
356    vision, each human being is an individual possessing "incentives,"
357    which can be retrospectively unearthed by imagining the state of the
358    bank account at various times.  So in this instance the econodwarf
359    feels compelled to object that without the rules I am lampooning,
360    there would be no incentive to create the things the rules treat as
361    property: without the ability to exclude others from music there would
362    be no music, because no one could be sure of getting paid for creating
363    it.</para>
364
365    <para>Music is not really our subject; the software I am considering
366    at the moment is the old kind: computer programs. But as he is
367    determined to deal at least cursorily with the subject, and because,
368    as we have seen, it is no longer really possible to distinguish
369    computer programs from music performances, a word or two should be
370    said. At least we can have the satisfaction of indulging in an
371    argument <emphasis>ad pygmeam</emphasis>.  When the econodwarf grows
372    rich, in my experience, he attends the opera.  But no matter how often
373    he hears <emphasis>Don Giovanni</emphasis> it never occurs to him that
374    Mozart's fate should, on his logic, have entirely discouraged
375    Beethoven, or that we have <emphasis>The Magic Flute</emphasis> even
376    though Mozart knew very well he wouldn't be paid. In fact,
377    <emphasis>The Magic Flute</emphasis>, <emphasis>St. Matthew's
378    Passion</emphasis>, and the motets of the wife-murderer Carlo Gesualdo
379    are all part of the centuries-long tradition of free software, in the
380    more general sense, which the econodwarf never quite
381    acknowledges.</para> <!--<center><img
382    src="anarchism_files/mog1.gif"></center> --> <para> The dwarf's basic
383    problem is that "incentives" is merely a metaphor, and as a metaphor
384    to describe human creative activity it's pretty crummy. I have said
385    this before, <footnote> <para>10. <emphasis>See</emphasis> <ulink
386    url="http://emoglen.law.columbia.edu/my_pubs/nospeech.html">The
387    Virtual Scholar and Network Liberation.</ulink></para> </footnote> but
388    the better metaphor arose on the day Michael Faraday first noticed
389    what happened when he wrapped a coil of wire around a magnet and spun
390    the magnet. Current flows in such a wire, but we don't ask what the
391    incentive is for the electrons to leave home. We say that the current
392    results from an emergent property of the system, which we call
393    induction. The question we ask is "what's the resistance of the wire?"
394    So Moglen's Metaphorical Corollary to Faraday's Law says that if you
395    wrap the Internet around every person on the planet and spin the
396    planet, software flows in the network. It's an emergent property of
397    connected human minds that they create things for one another's
398    pleasure and to conquer their uneasy sense of being too alone. The
399    only question to ask is, what's the resistance of the network?
400    Moglen's Metaphorical Corollary to Ohm's Law states that the
401    resistance of the network is directly proportional to the field
402    strength of the "intellectual property" system. So the right answer to
403    the econodwarf is, resist the resistance.</para>
404
405    <para>Естествено, всичко това звучи много добре на теория.
406    „Съпротивлявай се на съпротивата“ звучи добре, но ще се окажем
407    пред сериозен проблем, каквато и да е теорията, ако открием, че не
408    се произвежда достатъчно софтуерна стока, ако не позволяваме на
409    хората да я притежават.  Но джуджетатат и дроидите са формалисти
410    от различно естество, предимството на реализма е, че ако започнеш
411    с фактитв, те винаги са на твоя страна.  Оказва се, че да се
412    отнасяме към софтуера като съм собственост, води до правенето на
413    лош софтуер.</para>
414
415  </section>
416  <section>
417    <title>II. Software as Property: The Practical Problem</title>
418
419    <para>In order to understand why turning software into property
420    produces bad software, we need an introduction to the history of the
421    art. In fact, we'd better start with the word "art" itself. The
422    programming of computers combines determinate reasoning with literary
423    invention.</para>
424
425    <para>At first glance, to be sure, source code appears to be a
426    non-literary form of composition <footnote><para>11. Some basic
427    vocabulary is essential. Digital computers actually execute numerical
428    instructions: bitstrings that contain information in the "native"
429    language created by the machine's designers. This is usually referred
430    to as "machine language." The machine languages of hardware are
431    designed for speed of execution at the hardware level, and are not
432    suitable for direct use by human beings. So among the central
433    components of a computer system are "programming languages," which
434    translate expressions convenient for humans into machine language. The
435    most common and relevant, but by no means the only, form of computer
436    language is a "compiler." The compiler performs static translation, so
437    that a file containing human-readable instructions, known as "source
438    code" results in the generation of one or more files of executable
439    machine language, known as "object code."</para> </footnote>.  The
440    primary desideratum in a computer program is that it works, that is to
441    say, performs according to specifications formally describing its
442    outputs in terms of its inputs. At this level of generality, the
443    functional content of programs is all that can be seen.</para>
444
445    <para>But working computer programs exist as parts of computer
446    systems, which are interacting collections of hardware, software, and
447    human beings. The human components of a computer system include not
448    only the users, but also the (potentially different) persons who
449    maintain and improve the system. Source code not only communicates
450    with the computer that executes the program, through the intermediary
451    of the compiler that produces machine-language object code, but also
452    with other programmers.</para>
453
454    <para>The function of source code in relation to other human beings is
455    not widely grasped by non-programmers, who tend to think of computer
456    programs as incomprehensible. They would be surprised to learn that
457    the bulk of information contained in most programs is, from the point
458    of view of the compiler or other language processor, "comment," that
459    is, non-functional material. The comments, of course, are addressed to
460    others who may need to fix a problem or to alter or enhance the
461    program's operation. In most programming languages, far more space is
462    spent in telling people what the program does than in telling the
463    computer how to do it.</para>
464
465    <para>The design of programming languages has always proceeded under
466    the dual requirements of complete specification for machine execution
467    and informative description for human readers. One might identify
468    three basic strategies in language design for approaching this dual
469    purpose.  The first, pursued initially with respect to the design of
470    languages specific to particular hardware products and collectively
471    known as "assemblers," essentially separated the human- and
472    machine-communication portions of the program. Assembler instructions
473    are very close relatives of machine-language instructions: in general,
474    one line of an assembler program corresponds to one instruction in the
475    native language of the machine. The programmer controls machine
476    operation at the most specific possible level, and (if
477    well-disciplined) engages in running commentary alongside the machine
478    instructions, pausing every few hundred instructions to create "block
479    comments," which provide a summary of the strategy of the program, or
480    document the major data structures the program manipulates.</para>
481
482    <para>A second approach, characteristically depicted by the language
483    COBOL (which stood for "Common Business-Oriented Language"), was to
484    make the program itself look like a set of natural language
485    directions, written in a crabbed but theoretically human-readable
486    style. A line of COBOL code might say, for example "MULTIPLY PRICE
487    TIMES QUANTITY GIVING EXPANSION." At first, when the Pentagon and
488    industry experts began the joint design of COBOL in the early 1960's,
489    this seemed a promising approach. COBOL programs appeared largely
490    self-documenting, allowing both the development of work teams able to
491    collaborate on the creation of large programs, and the training of
492    programmers who, while specialized workers, would not need to
493    understand the machine as intimately as assembler programs had to. But
494    the level of generality at which such programs documented themselves
495    was wrongly selected. A more formulaic and compressed expression of
496    operational detail "expansion = price x quantity," for example, was
497    better suited even to business and financial applications where the
498    readers and writers of programs were accustomed to mathematical
499    expression, while the processes of describing both data structures and
500    the larger operational context of the program were not rendered
501    unnecessary by the wordiness of the language in which the details of
502    execution were specified.</para>
503
504    <para>Accordingly, language designers by the late 1960s began
505    experimenting with forms of expression in which the blending of
506    operational details and non-functional information necessary for
507    modification or repair was more subtle. Some designers chose the path
508    of highly symbolic and compressed languages, in which the programmer
509    manipulated data abstractly, so that "A x B" might mean the
510    multiplication of two integers, two complex numbers, two vast arrays,
511    or any other data type capable of some process called
512    "multiplication," to be undertaken by the computer on the basis of the
513    context for the variables "A" and "B" at the moment of execution
514    <footnote> <para>12. This, I should say, was the path that most of my
515    research and development followed, largely in connection with a
516    language called APL ("A Programming Language") and its successors. It
517    was not, however, the ultimately-dominant approach, for reasons that
518    will be suggested below.</para> </footnote> .  Because this approach
519    resulted in extremely concise programs, it was thought, the problem of
520    making code comprehensible to those who would later seek to modify or
521    repair it was simplified. By hiding the technical detail of computer
522    operation and emphasizing the algorithm, languages could be devised
523    that were better than English or other natural languages for the
524    expression of stepwise processes. Commentary would be not only
525    unnecessary but distracting, just as the metaphors used to convey
526    mathematical concepts in English do more to confuse than to
527    enlighten.</para>
528
529    <section>
530      <title>How We Created the Microbrain Mess</title>
531
532      <para>Thus the history of programming languages directly reflected the
533      need to find forms of human-machine communication that were also
534      effective in conveying complex ideas to human readers. "Expressivity"
535      became a property of programming languages, not because it facilitated
536      computation, but because it facilitated the collaborative creation and
537      maintenance of increasingly complex software systems.</para>
538
539      <para>At first impression, this seems to justify the application of
540      traditional copyright thinking to the resulting works. Though
541      substantially involving "functional" elements, computer programs
542      contained "expressive" features of paramount importance. Copyright
543      doctrine recognized the merger of function and expression as
544      characteristic of many kinds of copyrighted works. "Source code,"
545      containing both the machine instructions necessary for functional
546      operation and the expressive "commentary" intended for human readers,
547      was an appropriate candidate for copyright treatment.</para>
548
549      <para>True, so long as it is understood that the expressive component
550      of software was present solely in order to facilitate the making of
551      "derivative works." Were it not for the intention to facilitate
552      alteration, the expressive elements of programs would be entirely
553      supererogatory, and source code would be no more copyrightable than
554      object code, the output of the language processor, purged of all but
555      the program's functional characteristics.</para>
556
557      <para>The state of the computer industry throughout the 1960's and
558      1970's, when the grundnorms of sophisticated computer programming were
559      established, concealed the tension implicit in this situation. In that
560      period, hardware was expensive. Computers were increasingly large and
561      complex collections of machines, and the business of designing and
562      building such an array of machines for general use was dominated, not
563      to say monopolized, by one firm. IBM gave away its software. To be
564      sure, it owned the programs its employees wrote, and it copyrighted
565      the source code. But it also distributed the programs - including the
566      source code - to its customers at no additional charge, and encouraged
567      them to make and share improvements or adaptations of the programs
568      thus distributed. For a dominant hardware manufacturer, this strategy
569      made sense: better programs sold more computers, which is where the
570      profitability of the business rested.</para>
571
572      <para>Computers, in this period, tended to aggregate within particular
573      organizations, but not to communicate broadly with one another. The
574      software needed to operate was distributed not through a network, but
575      on spools of magnetic tape. This distribution system tended to
576      centralize software development, so that while IBM customers were free
577      to make modifications and improvements to programs, those
578      modifications were shared in the first instance with IBM, which then
579      considered whether and in what way to incorporate those changes in the
580      centrally-developed and distributed version of the software. Thus in
581      two important senses the best computer software in the world was free:
582      it cost nothing to acquire, and the terms on which it was furnished
583      both allowed and encouraged experimentation, change, and improvement
584      <footnote><para>13. This description elides some details. By the
585      mid-1970's IBM had acquired meaningful competition in the mainframe
586      computer business, while the large-scale antitrust action brought
587      against it by the U.S. government prompted the decision to "unbundle,"
588      or charge separately, for software. In this less important sense,
589      software ceased to be free. But - without entering into the now-dead
590      but once-heated controversy over IBM's software pricing policies - the
591      unbundling revolution had less effect on the social practices of
592      software manufacture than might be supposed. As a fellow responsible
593      for technical improvement of one programming language product at IBM
594      from 1979 to 1984, for example, I was able to treat the product as
595      "almost free," that is, to discuss with users the changes they had
596      proposed or made in the programs, and to engage with them in
597      cooperative development of the product for the benefit of all
598      users.</para> </footnote>.  That the software in question was IBM's
599      property under prevailing copyright law certainly established some
600      theoretical limits on users' ability to distribute their improvements
601      or adaptations to others, but in practice mainframe software was
602      cooperatively developed by the dominant hardware manufacturer and its
603      technically-sophisticated users, employing the manufacturer's
604      distribution resources to propagate the resulting improvements through
605      the user community. The right to exclude others, one of the most
606      important "sticks in the bundle" of property rights (in an image
607      beloved of the United States Supreme Court), was practically
608      unimportant, or even undesirable, at the heart of the software
609      business <footnote> <para>14. This description is highly compressed,
610      and will seem both overly simplified and unduly rosy to those who also
611      worked in the industry during this period of its
612      development. Copyright protection of computer software was a
613      controversial subject in the 1970's, leading to the famous CONTU
614      commission and its mildly pro-copyright recommendations of 1979. And
615      IBM seemed far less cooperative to its users at the time than this
616      sketch makes out. But the most important element is the contrast with
617      the world created by the PC, the Internet, and the dominance of
618      Microsoft, with the resulting impetus for the free software movement,
619      and I am here concentrating on the features that express that
620      contrast.</para></footnote>.</para>
621
622      <para>After 1980, everything was different. The world of mainframe
623      hardware gave way within ten years to the world of the commodity PC.
624      And, as a contingency of the industry's development, the single most
625      important element of the software running on that commodity PC, the
626      operating system, became the sole significant product of a company
627      that made no hardware. High-quality basic software ceased to be part
628      of the product-differentiation strategy of hardware
629      manufacturers. Instead, a firm with an overwhelming share of the
630      market, and with the near-monopolist's ordinary absence of interest in
631      fostering diversity, set the practices of the software industry. In
632      such a context, the right to exclude others from participation in the
633      product's formation became profoundly important. Microsoft's power in
634      the market rested entirely on its ownership of the Windows source
635      code.</para>
636
637      <para>To Microsoft, others' making of "derivative works," otherwise
638      known as repairs and improvements, threatened the central asset of the
639      business. Indeed, as subsequent judicial proceedings have tended to
640      establish, Microsoft's strategy as a business was to find innovative
641      ideas elsewhere in the software marketplace, buy them up and either
642      suppress them or incorporate them in its proprietary product. The
643      maintenance of control over the basic operation of computers
644      manufactured, sold, possessed, and used by others represented profound
645      and profitable leverage over the development of the culture <footnote>
646      <para>15. I discuss the importance of PC software in this context, the
647      evolution of "the market for eyeballs" and "the sponsored life" in
648      other chapters of my forthcoming book, <emphasis>The Invisible
649      Barbecue</emphasis>, of which this essay forms a part.</para>
650      </footnote>.; the right to exclude returned to center stage in the
651      concept of software as property.</para>
652
653      <para>The result, so far as the quality of software was concerned, was
654      disastrous. The monopoly was a wealthy and powerful corporation that
655      employed a large number of programmers, but it could not possibly
656      afford the number of testers, designers, and developers required to
657      produce flexible, robust and technically-innovative software
658      appropriate to the vast array of conditions under which increasingly
659      ubiquitous personal computers operated. Its fundamental marketing
660      strategy involved designing its product for the least
661      technically-sophisticated users, and using "fear, uncertainty, and
662      doubt" (known within Microsoft as "FUD") to drive sophisticated users
663      away from potential competitors, whose long-term survivability in the
664      face of Microsoft's market power was always in question.</para>
665
666      <para>Without the constant interaction between users able to repair
667      and improve and the operating system's manufacturer, the inevitable
668      deterioration of quality could not be arrested. But because the
669      personal computer revolution expanded the number of users
670      exponentially, almost everyone who came in contact with the resulting
671      systems had nothing against which to compare them. Unaware of the
672      standards of stability, reliability, maintainability and effectiveness
673      that had previously been established in the mainframe world, users of
674      personal computers could hardly be expected to understand how badly,
675      in relative terms, the monopoly's software functioned. As the power
676      and capacity of personal computers expanded rapidly, the defects of
677      the software were rendered less obvious amidst the general increase of
678      productivity. Ordinary users, more than half afraid of the technology
679      they almost completely did not understand, actually welcomed the
680      defectiveness of the software. In an economy undergoing mysterious
681      transformations, with the concomitant destabilization of millions of
682      careers, it was tranquilizing, in a perverse way, that no personal
683      computer seemed to be able to run for more than a few consecutive
684      hours without crashing. Although it was frustrating to lose work in
685      progress each time an unnecessary failure occurred, the evident
686      fallibility of computers was intrinsically reassuring <footnote>
687      <para>16. This same pattern of ambivalence, in which bad programming
688      leading to widespread instability in the new technology is
689      simultaneously frightening and reassuring to technical incompetents,
690      can be seen also in the primarily-American phenomenon of Y2K
691      hysteria.</para> </footnote> .</para>
692
693      <para>None of this was necessary. The low quality of personal computer
694      software could have been reversed by including users directly in the
695      inherently evolutionary process of software design and implementation.
696      A Lamarckian mode, in which improvements could be made anywhere, by
697      anyone, and inherited by everyone else, would have wiped out the
698      deficit, restoring to the world of the PC the stability and
699      reliability of the software made in the quasi-propertarian environment
700      of the mainframe era. But the Microsoft business model precluded
701      Lamarckian inheritance of software improvements. Copyright doctrine,
702      in general and as it applies to software in particular, biases the
703      world towards creationism; in this instance, the problem is that BillG
704      the Creator was far from infallible, and in fact he wasn't even
705      trying.</para> <!--<center><img src="anarchism_files/mog2.gif"
706      hspace="0" vspace="0"></center>--> <para>To make the irony more
707      severe, the growth of the network rendered the non-propertarian
708      alternative even more practical. What scholarly and popular writing
709      alike denominate as a thing ("the Internet") is actually the name of a
710      social condition: the fact that everyone in the network society is
711      connected directly, without intermediation, to everyone else
712      <footnote> <para>17. The critical implications of this simple
713      observation about our metaphors are worked out in "How Not to Think
714      about 'The Internet'," in <emphasis>The Invisible Barbecue</emphasis>,
715      forthcoming.</para> </footnote>. The global interconnection of
716      networks eliminated the bottleneck that had required a centralized
717      software manufacturer to rationalize and distribute the outcome of
718      individual innovation in the era of the mainframe.</para>
719
720      <para>And so, in one of history's little ironies, the global triumph
721      of bad software in the age of the PC was reversed by a surprising
722      combination of forces: the social transformation initiated by the
723      network, a long-discarded European theory of political economy, and a
724      small band of programmers throughout the world mobilized by a single
725      simple idea.</para>
726
727    </section>
728    <section>
729
730      <title>Software Wants to Be Free; or, How We Stopped Worrying and
731      Learned to Love the Bomb</title>
732
733      <para>Long before the network of networks was a practical reality,
734      even before it was an aspiration, there was a desire for computers to
735      operate on the basis of software freely available to everyone. This
736      began as a reaction against propertarian software in the mainframe
737      era, and requires another brief historical digression.</para>
738
739      <para>Even though IBM was the largest seller of general purpose
740      computers in the mainframe era, it was not the largest designer and
741      builder of such hardware. The telephone monopoly, American Telephone
742      &amp; Telegraph, was in fact larger than IBM, but it consumed its
743      products internally. And at the famous Bell Labs research arm of the
744      telephone monopoly, in the late 1960's, the developments in computer
745      languages previously described gave birth to an operating system
746      called Unix.</para>
747
748      <para>The idea of Unix was to create a single, scalable operating
749      system to exist on all the computers, from small to large, that the
750      telephone monopoly made for itself. To achieve this goal meant writing
751      an operating system not in machine language, nor in an assembler whose
752      linguistic form was integral to a particular hardware design, but in a
753      more expressive and generalized language. The one chosen was also a
754      Bell Labs invention, called "C" <footnote> <para>18. Technical readers
755      will again observe that this compresses developments occurring from
756      1969 through 1973.</para> </footnote>. The C language became common,
757      even dominant, for many kinds of programming tasks, and by the late
758      1970's the Unix operating system written in that language had been
759      transferred (or "ported," in professional jargon) to computers made by
760      many manufacturers and of many designs.</para>
761
762      <para>AT&amp;T distributed Unix widely, and because of the very design
763      of the operating system, it had to make that distribution in C source
764      code.  But AT&amp;T retained ownership of the source code and
765      compelled users to purchase licenses that prohibited redistribution
766      and the making of derivative works. Large computing centers, whether
767      industrial or academic, could afford to purchase such licenses, but
768      individuals could not, while the license restrictions prevented the
769      community of programmers who used Unix from improving it in an
770      evolutionary rather than episodic fashion. And as programmers
771      throughout the world began to aspire to and even expect a personal
772      computer revolution, the "unfree" status of Unix became a source of
773      concern.</para>
774
775      <para>Between 1981 and 1984, one man envisioned a crusade to change
776      the situation. Richard M. Stallman, then an employee of MIT's
777      Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, conceived the project of
778      independent, collaborative redesign and implementation of an operating
779      system that would be true free software. In Stallman's phrase, free
780      software would be a matter of freedom, not of price. Anyone could
781      freely modify and redistribute such software, or sell it, subject only
782      to the restriction that he not try to reduce the rights of others to
783      whom he passed it along. In this way free software could become a
784      self-organizing project, in which no innovation would be lost through
785      proprietary exercises of rights. The system, Stallman decided, would
786      be called GNU, which stood (in an initial example of a taste for
787      recursive acronyms that has characterized free software ever since),
788      for "GNU's Not Unix."  Despite misgivings about the fundamental design
789      of Unix, as well as its terms of distribution, GNU was intended to
790      benefit from the wide if unfree source distribution of Unix. Stallman
791      began Project GNU by writing components of the eventual system that
792      were also designed to work without modification on existing Unix
793      systems. Development of the GNU tools could thus proceed directly in
794      the environment of university and other advanced computing centers
795      around the world.</para>
796
797      <para>The scale of such a project was immense. Somehow, volunteer
798      programmers had to be found, organized, and set to work building all
799      the tools that would be necessary for the ultimate construction.
800      Stallman himself was the primary author of several fundamental tools.
801      Others were contributed by small or large teams of programmers
802      elsewhere, and assigned to Stallman's project or distributed
803      directly. A few locations around the developing network became
804      archives for the source code of these GNU components, and throughout
805      the 1980's the GNU tools gained recognition and acceptance by Unix
806      users throughout the world. The stability, reliability, and
807      maintainability of the GNU tools became a by-word, while Stallman's
808      profound abilities as a designer continued to outpace, and provide
809      goals for, the evolving process. The award to Stallman of a MacArthur
810      Fellowship in 1990 was an appropriate recognition of his conceptual
811      and technical innovations and their social consequences.</para>
812
813      <para>Project GNU, and the Free Software Foundation to which it gave
814      birth in 1985, were not the only source of free software
815      ideas. Several forms of copyright license designed to foster free or
816      partially free software began to develop in the academic community,
817      mostly around the Unix environment. The University of California at
818      Berkeley began the design and implementation of another version of
819      Unix for free distribution in the academic community. BSD Unix, as it
820      came to be known, also treated AT&amp;T's Unix as a design
821      standard. The code was broadly released and constituted a reservoir of
822      tools and techniques, but its license terms limited the range of its
823      application, while the elimination of hardware-specific proprietary
824      code from the distribution meant that no one could actually build a
825      working operating system for any particular computer from BSD. Other
826      university-based work also eventuated in quasi-free software; the
827      graphical user interface (or GUI) for Unix systems called X Windows,
828      for example, was created at MIT and distributed with source code on
829      terms permitting free modification. And in 1989-1990, an undergraduate
830      computer science student at the University of Helsinki, Linus
831      Torvalds, began the project that completed the circuit and fully
832      energized the free software vision.</para>
833
834      <para>What Torvalds did was to begin adapting a computer science
835      teaching tool for real life use. Andrew Tannenbaum's MINIX kernel
836      <footnote> <para>19. Operating systems, even Windows (which hides the
837      fact from its users as thoroughly as possible), are actually
838      collections of components, rather than undivided unities. Most of what
839      an operating system does (manage file systems, control process
840      execution, etc.) can be abstracted from the actual details of the
841      computer hardware on which the operating system runs. Only a small
842      inner core of the system must actually deal with the eccentric
843      peculiarities of particular hardware.  Once the operating system is
844      written in a general language such as C, only that inner core, known
845      in the trade as the kernel, will be highly specific to a particular
846      computer architecture.</para> </footnote> , was a staple of Operating
847      Systems courses, providing an example of basic solutions to basic
848      problems. Slowly, and at first without recognizing the intention,
849      Linus began turning the MINIX kernel into an actual kernel for Unix on
850      the Intel x86 processors, the engines that run the world's commodity
851      PCs. As Linus began developing this kernel, which he named Linux, he
852      realized that the best way to make his project work would be to adjust
853      his design decisions so that the existing GNU components would be
854      compatible with his kernel.</para>
855
856      <para>The result of Torvalds' work was the release on the net in 1991
857      of a sketchy working model of a free software kernel for a Unix-like
858      operating system for PCs, fully compatible with and designed
859      convergently with the large and high-quality suite of system
860      components created by Stallman's Project GNU and distributed by the
861      Free Software Foundation. Because Torvalds chose to release the Linux
862      kernel under the Free Software Foundation's General Public License, of
863      which more below, the hundreds and eventually thousands of programmers
864      around the world who chose to contribute their effort towards the
865      further development of the kernel could be sure that their efforts
866      would result in permanently free software that no one could turn into
867      a proprietary product. Everyone knew that everyone else would be able
868      to test, improve, and redistribute their improvements. Torvalds
869      accepted contributions freely, and with a genially effective style
870      maintained overall direction without dampening enthusiasm. The
871      development of the Linux kernel proved that the Internet made it
872      possible to aggregate collections of programmers far larger than any
873      commercial manufacturer could afford, joined almost non-hierarchically
874      in a development project ultimately involving more than one million
875      lines of computer code - a scale of collaboration among geographically
876      dispersed unpaid volunteers previously unimaginable in human history
877      <footnote> <para>20. A careful and creative analysis of how Torvalds
878      made this process work, and what it implies for the social practices
879      of creating software, was provided by Eric S. Raymond in his seminal
880      1997 paper, <ulink
881      url="http://firstmonday.org/issues/issue3_3/raymond/index.html">The
882      Cathedral and the Bazaar,</ulink> which itself played a significant
883      role in the expansion of the free software idea.</para>
884      </footnote>.</para>
885
886      <para>By 1994, Linux had reached version 1.0, representing a usable
887      production kernel. Level 2.0 was reached in 1996, and by 1998, with
888      the kernel at 2.2.0 and available not only for x86 machines but for a
889      variety of other machine architectures, GNU/Linux - the combination of
890      the Linux kernel and the much larger body of Project GNU components -
891      and Windows NT were the only two operating systems in the world
892      gaining market share. A Microsoft internal assessment of the situation
893      leaked in October 1998 and subsequently acknowledged by the company as
894      genuine concluded that "Linux represents a best-of-breed UNIX, that is
895      trusted in mission critical applications, and - due to it's [sic] open
896      source code - has a long term credibility which exceeds many other
897      competitive OS's." <footnote> <para>21. This is a quotation from what
898      is known in the trade as the "Halloween memo," which can be found, as
899      annotated by Eric Raymond, to whom it was leaked, at <ulink
900      url="http://www.opensource.org/halloween/halloween1.html">
901      http://www.opensource.org/halloween/halloween1.html</ulink>.</para></footnote>
902      GNU/Linux systems are now used throughout the world, operating
903      everything from Web servers at major electronic commerce sites to
904      "ad-hoc supercomputer" clusters to the network infrastructure of
905      money-center banks. GNU/Linux is found on the space shuttle, and
906      running behind-the-scenes computers at (yes) Microsoft. Industry
907      evaluations of the comparative reliability of Unix systems have
908      repeatedly shown that Linux is far and away the most stable and
909      reliable Unix kernel, with a reliability exceeded only by the GNU
910      tools themselves. GNU/Linux not only out-performs commercial
911      proprietary Unix versions for PCs in benchmarks, but is renowned for
912      its ability to run, undisturbed and uncomplaining, for months on end
913      in high-volume high-stress environments without crashing.</para>
914
915      <para>Other components of the free software movement have been equally
916      successful. Apache, far and away the world's leading Web server
917      program, is free software, as is Perl, the programming language which
918      is the lingua franca for the programmers who build sophisticated Web
919      sites. Netscape Communications now distributes its Netscape
920      Communicator 5.0 browser as free software, under a close variant of
921      the Free Software Foundation's General Public License. Major PC
922      manufacturers, including IBM, have announced plans or are already
923      distributing GNU/Linux as a customer option on their top-of-the-line
924      PCs intended for use as Web- and file servers. Samba, a program that
925      allows GNU/Linux computers to act as Windows NT file servers, is used
926      worldwide as an alternative to Windows NT Server, and provides
927      effective low-end competition to Microsoft in its own home market. By
928      the standards of software quality that have been recognized in the
929      industry for decades - and whose continuing relevance will be clear to
930      you the next time your Windows PC crashes - the news at century's end
931      is unambiguous. The world's most profitable and powerful corporation
932      comes in a distant second, having excluded all but the real victor
933      from the race. Propertarianism joined to capitalist vigor destroyed
934      meaningful commercial competition, but when it came to making good
935      software, anarchism won.</para>
936
937
938    </section>
939  </section>
940  <!--<para><img src="anarchism_files/quad.gif"></para><a name="m3"></a>-->
941  <section>
942    <title>III. Anarchism as a Mode of Production</title>
943   
944    <para>It's a pretty story, and if only the IPdroid and the econodwarf
945    hadn't been blinded by theory, they'd have seen it coming. But though
946    some of us had been working for it and predicting it for years, the
947    theoretical consequences are so subversive for the thoughtways that
948    maintain our dwarves and droids in comfort that they can hardly be
949    blamed for refusing to see. The facts proved that something was wrong
950    with the "incentives" metaphor that underprops conventional
951    intellectual property reasoning <footnote> <para>22. As recently as
952    early 1994 a talented and technically competent (though Windows-using)
953    law and economics scholar at a major U.S. law school confidently
954    informed me that free software couldn't possibly exist, because no one
955    would have any incentive to make really sophisticated programs
956    requiring substantial investment of effort only to give them
957    away.</para> </footnote> . But they did more. They provided an initial
958    glimpse into the future of human creativity in a world of global
959    interconnection, and it's not a world made for dwarves and
960    droids.</para>
961
962    <para>My argument, before we paused for refreshment in the real world,
963    can be summarized this way: Software - whether executable programs,
964    music, visual art, liturgy, weaponry, or what have you - consists of
965    bitstreams, which although essentially indistinguishable are treated
966    by a confusing multiplicity of legal categories. This multiplicity is
967    unstable in the long term for reasons integral to the legal process.
968    The unstable diversity of rules is caused by the need to distinguish
969    among kinds of property interests in bitstreams. This need is
970    primarily felt by those who stand to profit from the socially
971    acceptable forms of monopoly created by treating ideas as
972    property. Those of us who are worried about the social inequity and
973    cultural hegemony created by this intellectually unsatisfying and
974    morally repugnant regime are shouted down. Those doing the shouting,
975    the dwarves and the droids, believe that these property rules are
976    necessary not from any overt yearning for life in Murdochworld -
977    though a little luxurious co-optation is always welcome - but because
978    the metaphor of incentives, which they take to be not just an image
979    but an argument, proves that these rules - despite their lamentable
980    consequences - are necessary if we are to make good software. The only
981    way to continue to believe this is to ignore the facts. At the center
982    of the digital revolution, with the executable bitstreams that make
983    everything else possible, propertarian regimes not only do not make
984    things better, they can make things radically worse. Property
985    concepts, whatever else may be wrong with them, do not enable and have
986    in fact retarded progress.</para>
987
988    <para>
989      But what is this mysterious alternative? Free software exists, but
990      what are its mechanisms, and how does it generalize towards a
991    non-propertarian theory of the digital society?</para>
992
993  </section>
994  <section>
995
996    <title>The Legal Theory of Free Software</title>
997
998    <para>There is a myth, like most myths partially founded on reality,
999    that computer programmers are all libertarians. Right-wing ones are
1000    capitalists, cleave to their stock options, and disdain taxes, unions,
1001    and civil rights laws; left-wing ones hate the market and all
1002    government, believe in strong encryption no matter how much nuclear
1003    terrorism it may cause, <footnote> <para>23. This question too
1004    deserves special scrutiny, encrusted as it is with special pleading on
1005    the state-power side. See my brief essay <ulink
1006    url="http://emoglen.law.columbia.edu/my_pubs/yu-encrypt.html">"<emphasis>So
1007    Much for Savages</emphasis>: Navajo 1, Government 0 in Final Moments of
1008    Play."</ulink></para> </footnote> and dislike Bill Gates because he's
1009    rich. There is doubtless a foundation for this belief. But the most
1010    significant difference between political thought inside the digirati
1011    and outside it is that in the network society, anarchism (or more
1012    properly, anti-possessive individualism) is a viable political
1013    philosophy.</para>
1014
1015    <para>The center of the free software movement's success, and the
1016    greatest achievement of Richard Stallman, is not a piece of computer
1017    code. The success of free software, including the overwhelming success
1018    of GNU/Linux, results from the ability to harness extraordinary
1019    quantities of high-quality effort for projects of immense size and
1020    profound complexity. And this ability in turn results from the legal
1021    context in which the labor is mobilized. As a visionary designer
1022    Richard Stallman created more than Emacs, GDB, or GNU. He created the
1023    General Public License.</para>
1024
1025    <!-- <center><img src="anarchism_files/mog3.gif" hspace="0"
1026         vspace="0"></center> --> <para>The GPL, <footnote>
1027    <para>24. <emphasis>See</emphasis> <ulink
1028    url="http://www.fsf.org/copyleft/gpl.txt">GNU General Public License,
1029    Version 2, June 1991.</ulink></para> </footnote> also known as the
1030    copyleft, uses copyright, to paraphrase Toby Milsom, to counterfeit
1031    the phenomena of anarchism. As the license preamble expresses
1032    it:</para>
1033
1034    <blockquote><para>When we speak of free software, we are referring to
1035    freedom, not price. Our General Public Licenses are designed to make
1036    sure that you have the freedom to distribute copies of free software
1037    (and charge for this service if you wish), that you receive source
1038    code or can get it if you want it, that you can change the software or
1039    use pieces of it in new free programs; and that you know you can do
1040    these things.</para>
1041
1042    <para>To protect your rights, we need to make restrictions that
1043    forbid anyone to deny you these rights or to ask you to surrender the
1044    rights.  These restrictions translate to certain responsibilities for
1045    you if you distribute copies of the software, or if you modify
1046    it.</para>
1047
1048    <para>For example, if you distribute copies of such a program,
1049    whether gratis or for a fee, you must give the recipients all the
1050    rights that you have. You must make sure that they, too, receive or
1051    can get the source code. And you must show them these terms so they
1052    know their rights.</para>
1053
1054    <para>Many variants of this basic free software idea have been
1055    expressed in licenses of various kinds, as I have already
1056    indicated. The GPL is different from the other ways of expressing
1057    these values in one crucial respect. Section 2 of the license provides
1058    in pertinent part:</para>
1059
1060    <para>You may modify your copy or copies of the Program or any
1061    portion of it, thus forming a work based on the Program, and copy and
1062    distribute such modifications or work ..., provided that you also meet
1063    all of these conditions: </para>
1064
1065    <para>...</para>
1066
1067    <para>b) You must cause any work that you distribute or publish,
1068    that in whole or in part contains or is derived from the Program or
1069    any part thereof, to be licensed as a whole at no charge to all third
1070    parties under the terms of this License.</para></blockquote>
1071
1072    <para>Section 2(b) of the GPL is sometimes called "restrictive," but
1073    its intention is liberating. It creates a commons, to which anyone may
1074    add but from which no one may subtract. Because of §2(b), each
1075    contributor to a GPL'd project is assured that she, and all other
1076    users, will be able to run, modify and redistribute the program
1077    indefinitely, that source code will always be available, and that,
1078    unlike commercial software, its longevity cannot be limited by the
1079    contingencies of the marketplace or the decisions of future
1080    developers. This "inheritance" of the GPL has sometimes been
1081    criticized as an example of the free software movement's
1082    anti-commercial bias.  Nothing could be further from the truth. The
1083    effect of §2(b) is to make commercial distributors of free software
1084    better competitors against proprietary software businesses. For
1085    confirmation of this point, one can do no better than to ask the
1086    proprietary competitors. As the author of the Microsoft "Halloween"
1087    memorandum, Vinod Vallopillil, put it:</para>
1088
1089    <blockquote><para>The GPL and its aversion to code forking reassures
1090    customers that they aren't riding an evolutionary `dead-end' by
1091    subscribing to a particular commercial version of Linux.</para>
1092
1093    <para>The "evolutionary dead-end" is the core of the software
1094    FUD argument <footnote> <para>25. <ulink
1095    url="http://www.opensource.org/halloween/halloween1.html">V. Vallopillil,
1096    Open Source Software: A (New?) Development Methodology.</ulink></para>
1097    </footnote> .</para></blockquote>
1098
1099    <para>Translated out of Microspeak, this means that the strategy by
1100    which the dominant proprietary manufacturer drives customers away from
1101    competitors - by sowing fear, uncertainty and doubt about other
1102    software's long-term viability - is ineffective with respect to GPL'd
1103    programs. Users of GPL'd code, including those who purchase software
1104    and systems from a commercial reseller, know that future improvements
1105    and repairs will be accessible from the commons, and need not fear
1106    either the disappearance of their supplier or that someone will use a
1107    particularly attractive improvement or a desperately necessary repair
1108    as leverage for "taking the program private."</para>
1109
1110    <para>This use of intellectual property rules to create a commons in
1111    cyberspace is the central institutional structure enabling the
1112    anarchist triumph. Ensuring free access and enabling modification at
1113    each stage in the process means that the evolution of software occurs
1114    in the fast Lamarckian mode: each favorable acquired characteristic of
1115    others' work can be directly inherited. Hence the speed with which the
1116    Linux kernel, for example, outgrew all of its proprietary
1117    predecessors. Because defection is impossible, free riders are
1118    welcome, which resolves one of the central puzzles of collective
1119    action in a propertarian social system.</para>
1120
1121    <para>Non-propertarian production is also directly responsible for the
1122    famous stability and reliability of free software, which arises from
1123    what Eric Raymond calls "Linus' law": With enough eyeballs, all bugs
1124    are shallow. In practical terms, access to source code means that if I
1125    have a problem I can fix it. Because I can fix it, I almost never have
1126    to, because someone else has almost always seen it and fixed it
1127    first.</para>
1128
1129    <para>For the free software community, commitment to anarchist
1130    production may be a moral imperative; as Richard Stallman wrote, it's
1131    about freedom, not about price. Or it may be a matter of utility,
1132    seeking to produce better software than propertarian modes of work
1133    will allow.  From the droid point of view, the copyleft represents the
1134    perversion of theory, but better than any other proposal over the past
1135    decades it resolves the problems of applying copyright to the
1136    inextricably merged functional and expressive features of computer
1137    programs. That it produces better software than the alternative does
1138    not imply that traditional copyright principles should now be
1139    prohibited to those who want to own and market inferior software
1140    products, or (more charitably) whose products are too narrow in appeal
1141    for communal production. But our story should serve as a warning to
1142    droids: The world of the future will bear little relation to the world
1143    of the past. The rules are now being bent in two directions. The
1144    corporate owners of "cultural icons" and other assets who seek
1145    ever-longer terms for corporate authors, converting the "limited Time"
1146    of Article I, §8 into a freehold have naturally been whistling music
1147    to the android ear <footnote> <para>26. The looming expiration of
1148    Mickey Mouse's ownership by Disney requires, from the point of view of
1149    that wealthy "campaign contributor," for example, an alteration of the
1150    general copyright law of the United States. See "Not Making it Any
1151    More?  Vaporizing the Public Domain," in <emphasis>The Invisible
1152    Barbecue</emphasis>, forthcoming.</para> </footnote> .  After all, who bought
1153    the droids their concert tickets? But as the propertarian position
1154    seeks to embed itself ever more strongly, in a conception of copyright
1155    liberated from the minor annoyances of limited terms and fair use, at
1156    the very center of our "cultural software" system, the anarchist
1157    counter-strike has begun. Worse is yet to befall the droids, as we
1158    shall see. But first, we must pay our final devoirs to the
1159    dwarves.</para>
1160
1161  </section>
1162  <section>
1163    <title>Because It's There: Faraday's Magnet and Human Creativity</title>
1164
1165    <para>After all, they deserve an answer. Why do people make free
1166    software if they don't get to profit? Two answers have usually been
1167    given. One is half-right and the other is wrong, but both are
1168    insufficiently simple.</para>
1169
1170    <para>The wrong answer is embedded in numerous references to "the
1171    hacker gift-exchange culture." This use of ethnographic jargon
1172    wandered into the field some years ago and became rapidly, if
1173    misleadingly, ubiquitous. It reminds us only that the
1174    economeretricians have so corrupted our thought processes that any
1175    form of non-market economic behavior seems equal to every other
1176    kind. But gift-exchange, like market barter, is a propertarian
1177    institution. Reciprocity is central to these symbolic enactments of
1178    mutual dependence, and if either the yams or the fish are
1179    short-weighted, trouble results. Free software, at the risk of
1180    repetition, is a commons: no reciprocity ritual is enacted there. A
1181    few people give away code that others sell, use, change, or borrow
1182    wholesale to lift out parts for something else. Notwithstanding the
1183    very large number of people (tens of thousands, at most) who have
1184    contributed to GNU/Linux, this is orders of magnitude less than the
1185    number of users who make no contribution whatever <footnote>
1186    <para>27. A recent industry estimate puts the number of Linux systems
1187    worldwide at 7.5 million. <emphasis>See</emphasis> Josh McHugh, 1998. <ulink
1188    url="http://www.forbes.com/forbes/98/0810/6203094s1.htm">"Linux: The
1189    Making of a Global Hack,"</ulink> <emphasis>Forbes</emphasis> (August 10). Because the
1190    software is freely obtainable throughout the Net, there is no simple
1191    way to assess actual usage.</para> </footnote>.</para>
1192
1193    <para>A part of the right answer is suggested by the claim that free
1194    software is made by those who seek reputational compensation for their
1195    activity. Famous Linux hackers, the theory is, are known all over the
1196    planet as programming deities. From this they derive either enhanced
1197    self-esteem or indirect material advancement <footnote> <para>28. Eric
1198    Raymond is a partisan of the "ego boost" theory, to which he adds
1199    another faux-ethnographic comparison, of free software composition to
1200    the Kwakiutl potlatch. <emphasis>See</emphasis> Eric S. Raymond, 1998. <ulink
1201    url="http://firstmonday.org/issues/issue3_10/raymond/index.html">Homesteading
1202    the Noosphere.</ulink>.  But the potlatch, certainly a form of status
1203    competition, is unlike free software for two fundamental reasons: it
1204    is essentially hierarchical, which free software is not, and, as we
1205    have known since Thorstein Veblen first called attention to its
1206    significance, it is a form of conspicuous waste. <emphasis>See</emphasis> Thorstein
1207    Veblen, 1967. <emphasis>The Theory of the Leisure Class.</emphasis> New York:
1208    Viking, p. 75. These are precisely the grounds which distinguish the
1209    anti-hierarchical and utilitiarian free software culture from its
1210    propertarian counterparts.</para></footnote>.  But the programming
1211    deities, much as they have contributed to free software, have not done
1212    the bulk of the work. Reputations, as Linus Torvalds himself has often
1213    pointed out, are made by willingly acknowledging that it was all done
1214    by someone else. And, as many observers have noted, the free software
1215    movement has also produced superlative
1216    documentation. Documentation-writing is not what hackers do to attain
1217    cool, and much of the documentation has been written by people who
1218    didn't write the code. Nor must we limit the indirect material
1219    advantages of authorship to increases in reputational capital.  Most
1220    free software authors I know have day jobs in the technology
1221    industries, and the skills they hone in the more creative work they do
1222    outside the market no doubt sometimes measurably enhance their value
1223    within it. And as the free software products gained critical mass and
1224    became the basis of a whole new set of business models built around
1225    commercial distribution of that which people can also get for nothing,
1226    an increasing number of people are specifically employed to write free
1227    software. But in order to be employable in the field, they must
1228    already have established themselves there. Plainly, then, this motive
1229    is present, but it isn't the whole explanation.</para>
1230
1231    <para>Indeed, the rest of the answer is just too simple to have
1232    received its due. The best way to understand is to follow the brief
1233    and otherwise unsung career of an initially-grudging free software
1234    author.  Microsoft's Vinod Vallopillil, in the course of writing the
1235    competitive analysis of Linux that was leaked as the second of the
1236    famous "Halloween memoranda," bought and installed a Linux system on
1237    one of his office computers. He had trouble because the (commercial)
1238    Linux distribution he installed did not contain a daemon to handle the
1239    DHCP protocol for assignment of dynamic IP addresses. The result was
1240    important enough for us to risk another prolonged exposure to the
1241    Microsoft Writing Style:</para>
1242
1243    <blockquote><para>A small number of Web sites and FAQs later, I found an FTP
1244    site with a Linux DHCP client. The DHCP client was developed by an
1245    engineer employed by Fore Systems (as evidenced by his e-mail address;
1246    I believe, however, that it was developed in his own free time). A
1247    second set of documentation/manuals was written for the DHCP client by
1248    a hacker in <emphasis>Hungary</emphasis> which provided relatively simple
1249    instructions on how to install/load the client.</para>
1250
1251    <para>I downloaded &amp; uncompressed the client and typed two
1252    simple commands:</para>
1253
1254    <para>Make - compiles the client binaries</para>
1255
1256    <para>Make Install -installed the binaries as a Linux Daemon</para>
1257
1258    <para>Typing "DHCPCD" (for DHCP Client Daemon) on the command
1259    line triggered the DHCP discovery process and voila, I had IP
1260    networking running.  </para>
1261
1262    <para>Since I had just downloaded the DHCP client code, on an
1263    impulse I played around a bit. Although the client wasn't as
1264    extensible as the DHCP client we are shipping in NT5 (for example, it
1265    won't query for arbitrary options &amp; store results), it was obvious
1266    how I could write the additional code to implement this functionality.
1267    The full client consisted of about 2,600 lines of code.</para>
1268
1269    <para>One example of esoteric, extended functionality that was
1270    clearly patched in by a third party was a set of routines to that
1271    would pad the DHCP request with host-specific strings required by
1272    Cable Modem / ADSL sites.</para>
1273
1274    <para>A few other steps were required to configure the DHCP
1275    client to auto-start and auto-configure my Ethernet interface on boot
1276    but these were documented in the client code and in the DHCP
1277    documentation from the Hungarian developer.</para>
1278
1279    <para>I'm a poorly skilled UNIX programmer but it was
1280    immediately obvious to me how to incrementally extend the DHCP client
1281    code (the feeling was exhilarating and addictive).</para>
1282
1283    <para>Additionally, due directly to GPL + having the full development
1284    environment in front of me, I was in a position where I could write up
1285    my changes and e-mail them out within a couple of hours (in contrast
1286    to how things like this would get done in NT). Engaging in that
1287    process would have prepared me for a larger, more ambitious Linux
1288    project in the future <footnote><para>29. Vinod Vallopillil, <ulink
1289    url="http://www.opensource.org/halloween/halloween2.html">Linux OS
1290    Competitive Analysis (Halloween II).</ulink> Note Vallopillil's
1291    surprise that a program written in California had been subsequently
1292    documented by a programmer in Hungary.</para>
1293    </footnote>.</para></blockquote>
1294
1295    <para>"The feeling was exhilarating and addictive." Stop the presses:
1296    Microsoft experimentally verifies Moglen's Metaphorical Corollary to
1297    Faraday's Law. Wrap the Internet around every brain on the planet and
1298    spin the planet. Software flows in the wires. It's an emergent
1299    property of human minds to create. "Due directly to the GPL," as
1300    Vallopillil rightly pointed out, free software made available to him
1301    an exhilarating increase in his own creativity, of a kind not
1302    achievable in his day job working for the Greatest Programming Company
1303    on Earth. If only he had e-mailed that first addictive fix, who knows
1304    where he'd be now?</para>
1305
1306    <para>So, in the end, my dwarvish friends, it's just a human thing.
1307    Rather like why Figaro sings, why Mozart wrote the music for him to
1308    sing to, and why we all make up new words: Because we can. Homo
1309    ludens, meet Homo faber. The social condition of global
1310    interconnection that we call the Internet makes it possible for all of
1311    us to be creative in new and previously undreamed-of ways. Unless we
1312    allow "ownership" to interfere. Repeat after me, ye dwarves and men:
1313    Resist the resistance!</para>
1314
1315  </section>
1316  <!--<para><img src="anarchism_files/quad.gif"></para><a name="m4"></a>-->
1317
1318  <section>
1319    <title>IV. Their Lordships Die in the Dark?</title>
1320
1321    <para>For the IPdroid, fresh off the plane from a week at Bellagio
1322    paid for by Dreamworks SKG, it's enough to cause indigestion.</para>
1323
1324    <para>Unlock the possibilities of human creativity by connecting
1325    everyone to everyone else? Get the ownership system out of the way so
1326    that we can all add our voices to the choir, even if that means
1327    pasting our singing on top of the Mormon Tabernacle and sending the
1328    output to a friend? No one sitting slack-jawed in front of a televised
1329    mixture of violence and imminent copulation carefully devised to
1330    heighten the young male eyeball's interest in a beer commercial? What
1331    will become of civilization? Or at least of copyright teachers?</para>
1332
1333    <para>But perhaps this is premature. I've only been talking about
1334    software. Real software, the old kind, that runs computers. Not like
1335    the software that runs DVD players, or the kind made by the Grateful
1336    Dead. "Oh yes, the Grateful Dead. Something strange about them, wasn't
1337    there? Didn't prohibit recording at their concerts. Didn't mind if
1338    their fans rather riled the recording industry. Seem to have done all
1339    right, though, you gotta admit. Senator Patrick Leahy, isn't he a
1340    former Deadhead? I wonder if he'll vote to extend corporate authorship
1341    terms to 125 years, so that Disney doesn't lose The Mouse in 2004. And
1342    those DVD players - they're computers, aren't they?"</para>
1343
1344    <para>In the digital society, it's all connected. We can't depend for
1345    the long run on distinguishing one bitstream from another in order to
1346    figure out which rules apply. What happened to software is already
1347    happening to music. Their recording industry lordships are now
1348    scrambling wildly to retain control over distribution, as both
1349    musicians and listeners realize that the middlepeople are no longer
1350    necessary. The Great Potemkin Village of 1999, the so-called Secure
1351    Digital Music Initiative, will have collapsed long before the first
1352    Internet President gets inaugurated, for simple technical reasons as
1353    obvious to those who know as the ones that dictated the triumph of
1354    free software <footnote> <para>30. See "They're Playing Our Song: The
1355    Day the Music Industry Died," in <emphasis>The Invisible Barbecue</emphasis>,
1356    forthcoming.</para> </footnote> . The anarchist revolution in music is
1357    different from the one in software <emphasis>tout court</emphasis>, but here too -
1358    as any teenager with an MP3 collection of self-released music from
1359    unsigned artists can tell you - theory has been killed off by the
1360    facts. Whether you are Mick Jagger, or a great national artist from
1361    the third world looking for a global audience, or a garret-dweller
1362    reinventing music, the recording industry will soon have nothing to
1363    offer you that you can't get better for free.  And music doesn't sound
1364    worse when distributed for free, pay what you want directly to the
1365    artist, and don't pay anything if you don't want to. Give it to your
1366    friends; they might like it.</para>
1367
1368    <para>
1369      What happened to music is also happening to news. The wire services,
1370      as any U.S. law student learns even before taking the near-obligatory
1371      course in Copyright for Droids, have a protectible property interest
1372      in their expression of the news, even if not in the facts the news
1373      reports <footnote><para>31. International News Service v. Associated
1374      Press, 248 U.S. 215 (1918). With regard to the actual terse, purely
1375      functional expressions of breaking news actually at stake in the
1376      jostling among wire services, this was always a distinction only a
1377      droid could love.</para></footnote>.  So why are they now giving all
1378      their output away? Because in the world of the Net, most news is
1379      commodity news. And the original advantage of the news gatherers, that
1380      they were internally connected in ways others were not when
1381      communications were expensive, is gone. Now what matters is collecting
1382      eyeballs to deliver to advertisers. It isn't the wire services that
1383      have the advantage in covering Kosovo, that's for sure. Much less
1384      those paragons of "intellectual" property, their television
1385      lordships. They, with their overpaid pretty people and their massive
1386      technical infrastructure, are about the only organizations in the
1387      world that can't afford to be everywhere all the time. And then they
1388      have to limit themselves to ninety seconds a story, or the eyeball
1389      hunters will go somewhere else. So who makes better news, the
1390    propertarians or the anarchists?  We shall soon see.</para>
1391
1392    <para>Oscar Wilde says somewhere that the problem with socialism is
1393    that it takes up too many evenings. The problems with anarchism as a
1394    social system are also about transaction costs. But the digital
1395    revolution alters two aspects of political economy that have been
1396    otherwise invariant throughout human history. All software has zero
1397    marginal cost in the world of the Net, while the costs of social
1398    coordination have been so far reduced as to permit the rapid formation
1399    and dissolution of large-scale and highly diverse social groupings
1400    entirely without geographic limitation <footnote> <para>32. See "No
1401    Prodigal Son: The Political Theory of Universal Interconnection," in
1402    <emphasis>The Invisible Barbecue</emphasis>, forthcoming.</para> </footnote> . Such
1403    fundamental change in the material circumstances of life necessarily
1404    produces equally fundamental changes in culture. Think not? Tell it to
1405    the Iroquois. And of course such profound shifts in culture are
1406    threats to existing power relations. Think not? Ask the Chinese
1407    Communist Party.  Or wait 25 years and see if you can find them for
1408    purposes of making the inquiry.</para>
1409
1410    <para>In this context, the obsolescence of the IPdroid is neither
1411    unforseeable nor tragic. Indeed it may find itself clanking off into
1412    the desert, still lucidly explaining to an imaginary room the
1413    profitably complicated rules for a world that no longer exists. But at
1414    least it will have familiar company, recognizable from all those
1415    glittering parties in Davos, Hollywood, and Brussels. Our Media Lords
1416    are now at handigrips with fate, however much they may feel that the
1417    Force is with them. The rules about bitstreams are now of dubious
1418    utility for maintaining power by co-opting human creativity. Seen
1419    clearly in the light of fact, these Emperors have even fewer clothes
1420    than the models they use to grab our eyeballs. Unless supported by
1421    user-disabling technology, a culture of pervasive surveillance that
1422    permits every reader of every "property" to be logged and charged, and
1423    a smokescreen of droid-breath assuring each and every young person
1424    that human creativity would vanish without the benevolent aristocracy
1425    of BillG the Creator, Lord Murdoch of Everywhere, the Spielmeister and
1426    the Lord High Mouse, their reign is nearly done. But what's at stake
1427    is the control of the scarcest resource of all: our
1428    attention. Conscripting that makes all the money in the world in the
1429    digital economy, and the current lords of the earth will fight for
1430    it. Leagued against them are only the anarchists: nobodies, hippies,
1431    hobbyists, lovers, and artists. The resulting unequal contest is the
1432    great political and legal issue of our time.  Aristocracy looks hard
1433    to beat, but that's how it looked in 1788 and 1913 too. It is, as Chou
1434    En-Lai said about the meaning of the French Revolution, too soon to
1435    tell.</para>
1436
1437  </section>
1438  <section>
1439    <title>About the Author</title>
1440
1441    <para>Eben Moglen is Professor of Law &amp; Legal History, Columbia Law School.
1442    E-mail: <ulink url="mailto:moglen@columbia.edu">Mail: moglen@columbia.edu</ulink></para>
1443
1444    <para>Acknowledgments</para>
1445
1446    <para>This paper was prepared for delivery at the Buchmann
1447    International Conference on Law, Technology and Information, at Tel
1448    Aviv University, May 1999; my thanks to the organizers for their kind
1449    invitation. I owe much as always to Pamela Karlan for her insight and
1450    encouragement. I especially wish to thank the programmers throughout
1451    the world who made free software possible.</para>
1452
1453
1454    <blockquote>
1455      <para>
1456      <ulink url="http://firstmonday.org/issues/issue4_8/index.html"><!--<img src="anarchism_files/contents.gif" alt="Contents" align="bottom" border="0">--></ulink> </para>
1457      <para>
1458        <ulink url="http://firstmonday.org/issues/index.html"><!--<img src="anarchism_files/index.gif" alt="Index" border="0">--></ulink> 
1459      </para>
1460    <para>Copyright <ulink url="http://firstmonday.org/copy.html">©</ulink> 1999, First Monday</para></blockquote>
1461
1462
1463  </section>
1464</article>
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