Chapter 5 of The Ethics of Modern Communication

I just posted chapter five of The Ethics of Modern Communication. Today's topic is software patents... which may not seem to relate but you'll see how it does by the end.

Today's chapter attempts to be the Definitive Word on why software patents are not just wrong, but actively oxymoronic. As such it is subject to revision as I find new arguments, but I believe what is presented here is pretty conclusive; there are simply no grounds on which to justify the idea of a "software patent".


EFF Supports Censorship
"The Electronic Frontier Foundation has filed a brief in federal court in support of companies that offer software to edit violence or sex from a user's DVD. The full story can be found in this article from the Salt Lake Tribune."

I knew this would happen sooner or later; it's been obvious to me for a while that the EFF isn't really as certain as it thinks it is about what it stands for, rather then against. This issue was clearly decided by the EFF by the following logic:

  1. Which side are the Big Corporations on?
  2. Take the other side.

which is not an effective agenda for them. (modified June 23, 2003)

In reality, this is censorship, and by supporting this form of censorship, they open the door to a whole lot of bad things, which will be discussed in what is currently chapter 8 of my essay. I'd like to bump it to the front of the queue because it's topical now, but unfortunately it heavily depends on preceding material, including the chapter I hope to publish tonight and the one following it.

So I guess this boils down to a hand-waving argument, but I wanted to mention this. One of my explicit goals for my essay is the hope the EFF can use it to help them refine what it is they really stand for, because up to this point they've really been a haphazard, reactionary group, always on the defensive and always fighting against things, rather then a proactive group supporting things, and I think in many ways this contributes to the way the organization does not seem to amount to much.

Curiosity about my referrers
Jun 19, 2003

Would anybody care to explain the "Not Your Business!" that's appearing on my referer page? Is that an anonymizing proxy, Opera, or something?

I don't mind of course, but I would like to observe for the benefit of who ever is doing that that right now, my referers page is all the feedback I get about this site; I do not have access to the web logs or anything else like that, so if it doesn't show on the referer page, I don't know about it. (In theory, a thousand people could be loading my site from their bookmarks every day, with no referrer, and I'd never know.)

Clarification on my Right to Reply comments
Jun 17, 2003

There have been many good posts on Europe's Right of Reply policy,
such as Declan
McCullagh's column
, this
from Jeff Jarvis
, and a whole Slashdot

Read the rest (602 words)

Right of reply, theory and practice in the EU
Jun 16, 2003
Euro-blogging & the Right to Reply [LawMeme]: The proposal establishes a "right to reply" for anyone criticized online. Web sites - both news sites and individually controlled sites, moderated mailing lists and even blogs could be required to give subjects of criticism the opportunity and ability to reply.

Read the rest (721 words)

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