Russell McOrmondThe site below hasn't been kept as up-to-date as I would have liked. If you want to know what I am currently engaged in, the following sites are more current.
Russell McOrmond & Rina Sen
This primarily involves the rejection of ideas as a new form of property that is manufactured, bought, sold, rented, or licensed in the same way that traditional forms of property have been during the industrial era.
Without a rejection of "Intellectual Property", there can be no real movement toward a post-industrial economy. In my submission to the 2001 copyright consultation I asked the question whether new interpretations of copyright are compatible with a new economy, or a new product for the old economy?
Note to lawyers: While "Intellectual Property" may be the correct legal term, and lawyers may know the proper meaning of the term, the layperson does not. Lobbyists for a very narrow way of looking at works of the mind have been abusing this confusion to suggest that copyright, patents, etc are something that they are not. The "theft is theft" rhetoric is part of this deliberate misleading of the public.
See: Jefferson Debate: A Godwin's law for copyright discussions?
If nature has made any one thing less susceptible than all others of exclusive property, it is the action of the thinking power called an idea, which an individual may exclusively possess as long as he keeps it to himself; but the moment it is divulged, it forces itself into the possession of every one, and the receiver cannot dispossess himself of it. Its peculiar character, too, is that no one possesses the less, because every other possesses the whole of it.
- Thomas Jefferson , 13 Aug. 1813
Any 'hardware assist' for communications, whether it be eye-glasses, VCR's, or personal computers, must be under the control of the citizen and not a third party.
- Me, 2002
Corollary: The "content industries", such as the motion picture and recording industries, are not legitimate stakeholders in the discussion of what features should or should not exist in my personal computer or VCR, any more than they are a legitimate stakeholder in the production of my corrective eye-glasses. If a member of a content industry doesn't like the technology that exists in a given market sector, be it consumer electronics in the home or personal computers, they can simply not offer their products/services into that market.
The protection afforded in copyright is to the creator as water is to humans; too little and you dehydrate and die, too much and you drown and die. Survival requires understanding this delicate balance.
Once you begin to think of 'code as law' (See: Code and other laws of Cyberspace), you quickly begin to question why governance software is not yet afforded the same public scrutiny (access to information requirements, accountability, public input, etc) as any other public policy. A piece of software that implements public policy should no longer be considered less important than an act of parliament or regulation that implements public policy.
Governance software that controls Information and Communications Technology (ICT), automates government policy, or electronically counts votes, should not be thought of as something that should be bought any more than politicians should be thought of something that should be bought.I feel that the rights and responsibilities offered by Free Software should be thought of as being much more critical for any implementation of a modern free society than has been understood in the past.
Information processes such as software or business models should not be thought of as being manufactured any more than consent should be thought of as something manufactured. We should not believe that manufacturing consent, software manufacturing or business model manufacturing is the only option, so these information processes should not be thought of as patentable inventions.For more information on software patents please see the Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure site on Software Patents in Europe as well as my own Review of Software Patent Issues.
New articles are always posted to the FLORA Weblog. The following are articles in draft form -- please offer comments:
productivity file format standardization: opportunities and
Note: This paper will become speaking notes for 2 presentations to be given in April 2003 (NRC GovNet 03, Real World Linux)
If you wish to contact me, full contact information is part of my consulting site.