A “public” discussion on proposed changes to the Free Document License, and the split between some free culture advocates with open source initiatives

The real challenge here will be Richard Stallman’s. His work helped launch important movements of freedom — free software, most directly; free culture, through inspiration, and examples such as Wikipedia. It also helped launch a movement he’s not happy about, the Open Source Software Movement. Much of the latter builds on the former. And these movements have been joined by many who share his values, some more, some less. (Again, see Torvalds). These movements have built much more than he, or any one person, could ever have done. So his challenge is whether he evolves these licenses in ways that fit his own views alone, recognizing those views deviate from many important parts of the movement he started. Or whether he evolves these licenses to support the communities they have enabled. This is not a choice of principle vs compromise. It is a choice about what principle should govern the guardians of these licenses.

Follow this issue on Lawrence Lessig’s blog with commentary from Ars and a related article from C|Net. Explore these issues and contribute your knowledge at the Whats New Media Wiki.

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Filed under Digital Commons, Fair Use, Open Source, User generated content, Wiki

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