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Open source is terrifying!

Here come the open source culture = piracy articles… from CNN.

“With the open-source culture on the Internet, the idea of ownership — of artistic ownership — goes away,” Alexie (novelist and poet Sherman Alexie) added. “It terrifies me.”

It’s more terrifying when someone groups open source with piracy. In my experience, as an artist at times and helping to run an electronics company, open source and open source hardware actually give the maker more control and more artistic ownership.

32 thoughts on “Open source is terrifying!

  1. Jeff says:

    So by freely sharing our content, we become pirates of our *own* intellectual property? Please, explain how one can steal something from themselves, in a legal sense. I find this article to be one of a very narrow view. To think that one’s thoughts were not their own is truly a terrible thing, but to share one’s own thoughts with a community to grow and flourish? How is this piracy?

    We aren’t stealing from anyone when we openly share our information, we’re helping all who chose to become involved. This entire article makes no sense to me!

  2. Josh says:

    Not only has CNN quoted someone with a rather misinformed view of open source and piracy and whatever mixing happens between them…but they’re reporting on an issue (pirating of digital books) as if it were something new to be worried about. Not only have books been pirated for years, but the pirating of text likely predates all but the pirating of software…think logically (and chronologically)…pirated software, text, audio, video.

    This news is only news because they have buzz words and products to spotlight…and if you didn’t know, ebook readers were available way before the nice ones today…The farthest I seen them in the past was ’03…

    “J.K Rowling has thus far refused to make any of her Harry Potter books available digitally because of piracy fears”…lol…that doesn’t stop pirates. It just hampers the community of legitimate electronic readers.

  3. Steve says:

    I understand the ‘fear’, but you know what else sucks? Releasing free software without terms or conditions and having it locked up being sued by an idiot end user.

  4. saimhe says:

    Even without reading the article, its title clearly hints a sad situation: greed playing strange tricks on the mind. So, I won’t read that. The plague shall not spread.

    Personally, I support freedom. (“Free beer” has nothing to do with it. This kind of freedom is indeed worth the money if the latter is requested.) The point is that a particular manufacturer/author won’t be ever able to guess needs of everyone. Rather, the ultimate flexibility of the product is achieved when the end user is able to modify it as he pleases, without any artificial limitations.

  5. charlie says:

    The article did make some reasonable points and counterpoints, digital piracy will go up with more ebooks, and ebook customers might buy more than paper. The same argument has been made in the video game industry for years, though it has done a lot of damage to the PC gaming side. most media these days tends to focus on the extreme views, just filter it. same can be said of open source.

    i think its more annoying that rowling decides how people are to read her work.

  6. ian says:

    Aren’t authors, poets, and artists ‘borrowers’ of culture who derive their own expressions of style from existing works? And I believe they even predate the internet by about one-and-a-half Gutenberg press.

    I’m inclined to believe that many great works would have been lost over time, or even prohibited, under closed copyrights with a modern enforcement regime.

  7. Eddie Edwards says:

    What on Earth are you talking about here? This article is not even about open source. It’s about eBook piracy. But why let the facts get in the way of a good rant?

    The easy fix is to stop releasing stuff as eBooks. I don’t think that many people are scanning 500+ pages of Dan Brown to put onto Kazaa.

    But this has absolutely nothing to do with open-source. Which is a shame, because I had my anti-GPL, pro-BSD rant all charged up and ready :)

  8. davi jordan says:

    The title of the article has nothing to do with the original article. Not only that, It is very misleading. Open source is not scary. It is obviously a subliminal message by proprietary entities to encourage people not to use open source. Apparently there is no editorial oversight, to the validity of articles.

  9. Alex says:

    As a 19 year old who never grew up without the internet, I think I hold a fundamentally different view from people who come from a world without computers.

    I know several people who I consider very intelligent who, in their mid-fifties, have been publishing and editing literature for many years, and in my discussions with them I find a very basic difference in our view of intellectual property.

    I view intellectual property as subordinate to information transfer. Copyright is a means to encourage the creation and spreading of valuable ideas throughout the world but if that same transfer can be created openly and expressively through open-source or other copyleft methods, then that is equally valuable and not threatening at all.

    Meanwhile my acquaintances from the ‘other side of the fence’ see things very differently. They see creative output as an incredibly valuable commodity in its own right. For them, copyright exists not to facilitate information transfer but to solidify the legal stature of such creative output. For them, the internet is not so much a place to facilitate the open transfer of information, as it is a place to pass information from its sources to the world. It is the world’s largest distribution system.

    If you see the internet as a place to make the world’s information open and accessible then open-source can hardly be faulted, but if instead you see the internet as the next generation’s way of moving human creative output from its sources to its consumers, then the idea of removing the sources

  10. Rahere says:

    The only pirates around here are the very people complaining about everybody else. It galls me no end to see MicronBrains claiming patent rights on the work I and my colleagues did in the 1960s, which we deliberately placed in the Open Market to create an industry, in my case in the design and display of bitmapped fonts. I suppose we should count ourselves lucky nobody’s patented the axiom 1+1=2!

  11. liebesiche says:

    what bankers and other gnomes have done/do to our economy over the past years!

  12. Jenny says:

    …but I think fire is magic. And it scares me a lot.

  13. matt joyce says:

    There’s a fundamental difference between sharing resources, and choosing to build the next generation of abstraction on a uniform, open, and standardized foundation.

    The simple fact is, technologists are very much like scientists and engineers. We deal in quantifiable results. Many of us deal in purpose serving development. What that purpose is, doesn’t matter. We’re all striving for our own separate end games whatever they are. What matters is that on the long slow path to those many possible final destinations, we often times can share the same avenues and move that much quicker on our way.

    Consider open source design to be the highways that ferry us to and fro across large swathes of technological expertise. As Isaac Newton once said, “If I have seen further it is only by standing on the shoulders of giants.” Technology and Fabrication methodology today relies entirely on the great works of engineers, scientists, and captains of industry of years gone by. What we almost organically accomplish… is that over time we take new and innovative ideas and augment our shared pathes to be that much more efficient for all of us.

    Before TCP/IP an open standard ( like all RFCs that form the fundamental basis for our internet ) there were closed / privately owned methods for networking systems. DECNet was one that performed admirably. But, as it became apparent to all that we’d need a way for EVERYONE to communicate, the desire to try to profit from this technology disappeared. Simply put, the path to greater success meant giving up on this potential revenue stream. Standing in the way of progress, for the sake of personal greed flies in the face of what copyright was meant to do.

    Open source products usually aren’t designed to be the final word on any subject. They’re meant to be another road for innovators to traverse on their path to creation. It gets you from point A post idea to point B nearer the completion of the project. If along the way you happen to fill in a few pot holes, and possibly build a bridge or two… GREAT. You might just be a nice guy, but odds are you know that by making it easier for others to follow in your footsteps, you will forge a path for industry into uncharted regions. In doing so, you rise to the top of our meritocracy.

    There’s nothing wrong with setting up shop on the “highway” and hocking your wares. But to try and justify a toll plaza to the future, is just impossible. It’s wrong. It’s not what copyright and patents are about. It’s not what America is about. And any true capitalist would know this.

    1. Rich says:

      CNN is a rather minimal “news” organization these days, with news readers and interviewers of questionable intelligence. If anyone actually bothered to listen to this drivel it would probably sail right over their heads. Nothing to see here, move along….

  14. tuckerch says:

    I bought and own all seven Harry Potter books.

    And wanting to not have to lug the last one about as I was reading it, I sought out and downloaded a perfect digital version.

    I had no qualms whatsoever in doing so, as I own the hardcopy of the book, and had I the time, I could have scanned and OCRed it myself.

    But as someone else had done it, I took advantage of their labor.

    No money changed hands and J.K. got her cut of the cover price of the hardcover book.

    If there had been a DRM unencumbered digital version of the book, I would have gladly purchased it and J.K. would have made some more money from my purchases.

  15. nau says:

    the most terrifying part is thinking about all these people that make use of open standards every day (ie on the internet, where they spread their disinformed opinions) and are so afraid of giving something back, because, hey, if everybody goes open people will be able to actually see what’s in the box and might decide to avoid the crappy overpriced stuff.

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