Monday, January 23, 2012

Richard Stallman interviewed on SOPA


The recent massive protests over proposed totalitarian censorship laws in the US had Alex Jones of 'Infowars' interview the godfather of open source, Richard Stallman. Of course, Stallman seized the opportunity to explain his anti-copyright sentiments.




"We have to put an end to the War On Sharing. [...] We have to stop using digital handcuffs."



"It's not just Microsoft. I gotta point out that Apple is even worse. And Amazon is horrible."
Stallman's points about ebooks reminded me of my own book, Ecowar - Natural Resources and Conflict, which can be ordered in stores, at Amazon and elsewhere - in physical paper copies, not as ebooks. For some reason the Kindle version is delayed until May. Some of my regular blog readers have told me they'll wait for the ebook. But consider this: You can walk up to the desk in a book store and order it, come back a few days later and but cash on the desk, go home or to the park and read it without use of proprietary tools to decode it, without anyone knowing that you have it and are reading it, without me or the publisher having the right to burn your book at any time. And, of course, without electricity, without instant messaging pop-ups to distract you, make notes in the margin. Consider that.

As for Apple, you would assume they would support censorship laws to protect big business content producers (like SOPA) but do they really dare risk alienate their hipster consumers? No. For the truth read Rodney Brown's beautifully titled Apple: ‘SOPA, I am your father!’. Seriously, read it. Even as they "support" SOPA protests, even as they have long abandoned their attempt to redefine the concept of ownership via their iTunes store... they are now launching a new, proprietary, locked-down ebook format.

Sigh.