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CBA launches new Acceptable Use Policy policy on ‘technology-facilitated’ abuse

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Increased broadband demand pushes NBN satellite connections past 100,000 mark

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NBN Co extends Internet data capacity offer to August

04 June 2020 in Telecoms & NBN

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Home Affairs' new biometric system to monitor borders goes live

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Big global IT outsourcer Excis hit by Windows ransomware

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Two more Australian companies hit by Mespinoza/Pysa ransomware

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Ransomware group takes MyBudget name off site, reason unknown

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Amaysim inks $15.8 million deal to acquire OVO Mobile subscribers

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Big Canadian telcos snub Huawei, choose Ericsson and Nokia

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Templafy expands APAC region presence with new Sydney office

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Telco problems costing SMBs ‘unnecessary’ time and money, says TIO

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Salesforce, Snowflake offer native integrations

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NBN Co admits to misleading Canberra consumers over need to move to NBN

02 June 2020 in Telecoms & NBN

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Dell Technologies virtualises GPUs for AI and HPC workloads

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Breaking IT News

Inmarsat extends seafarers' telemedicine service with COVID-19 response

05 June 2020 in Health

Satellite communications provider Inmarsat has ramped up its response to COVID-19, announcing additional initiatives aimed at improving seafarer wellbeing, including…

Do-it-yourself WDM network

05 June 2020 in Data

VENDOR ANNOUNCEMENT:  Buying network infrastructure from a carrier may be convenient, but often comes at a considerable cost, as it…

Signal offers new feature to blur faces in shared photos

05 June 2020 in Security

End-to-end encrypted messaging software Signal has incorporated an additional feature to make it possible for people to blur the faces…

Southern Cross team develops tech to heal wounds faster without stitches

05 June 2020 in Health

Scientists from the Southern Cross University have developed new technology that may be able to heal wounds in days, rather…

India's IT spending to fall for first time in five years: Gartner

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India will experience its first decline in IT spending in the last five years, with expenditure in 2020 to reach…

Emsisoft releases free decryptor for RedRum ransomware

05 June 2020 in Security

Security firm Emsisoft has released a free decryptor for reclaiming files which have been encrypted by an early version of…

Inmarsat launches IoT solution to support safer mining tailings management

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Satellite communications provider Inmarsat has launched a new Internet of Things (IoT) solution for monitoring mining tailings storage facilities.

Global smartphone shipments to fall by nearly 12% this year: IDC

04 June 2020 in Mobility

Global shipments of smartphones will drop by 11.9% in 2020 year-on-year, the technology research firm IDC has forecast, with shipments…

Webinar Invitation: Mitigate Fraud with Hyland’s Digital Credentialing Solution

03 June 2020 in Security

WEBINAR INVITATION from Hyland – leading content services provider Hyland will be running a free online workshop TODAY, Thursday the…

WEBINAR INVITE from TDL: Life after Lockdown: Reimagining the Modern Workplace

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Huawei launches new ICT platform for Canberra Raiders

03 June 2020 in Business Telecommunications

Chinese vendor Huawei Technologies has launched a new ICT platform at the recently opened Huawei Raiders Training Centre – home…

TasmaNet rolls out NBN business enterprise ethernet to Tasmanian schools

03 June 2020 in Deals

Tasmanian communications provider TasmaNet has helped Catholic Education Tasmania (CET) overcome slow and unreliable Internet in remote areas with the…

Huawei launches beefed-up MateBook X Pro 2020 in Australia

03 June 2020 in Hardware

The consumer business group of Chinese vendor Huawei Technologies has launched its MateBook X Pro in Australia, a device that…

Global PC, tablet shipments seen falling 7% this year

03 June 2020 in Hardware

Global PC and tablet shipments will fall 7% from 395.6 million units in 2019 to 367.8 million units this year,…

EB Games to refund consumers for Fallout 76 game, after ACCC takes action

03 June 2020 in Entertainment

Video and computer games retailer EB Games Australia is refunding consumers after acknowledging they are likely to have misled consumers…

Snowflake Data Cloud puts data in its place

02 June 2020 in Data

Cloud data platform provider Snowflake has launched Snowflake Data Cloud.

Key challenges to consider when transitioning employees back to the office

02 June 2020 in Market

As the government begins to lift restrictions around the country, business leaders are now starting to grapple with the process…

Government cooperation tackled COVID-19, so why not the digital divide and our leadership in the Fourth Industrial Revolution?

02 June 2020 in Telecoms & NBN

GUEST OPINION by Shannon Fisher,managing director, IPSTAR:  The success of the National Cabinet in coordinating the Commonwealth, States’ and Territories’ response…

SAS offers free online learning program to Australian, NZ students during COVID 19 crisis

02 June 2020 in Education

Analytics provider SAS is now actively promoting its online ‘Certified Young Professionals’ program in Australia and New Zealand, coinciding with…

EFA says robodebt fiasco should be examined to restore faith in welfare system

02 June 2020 in Technology Regulation

Digital rights organisation Electronic Frontiers Australia has called for a detailed examination of the robodebt fiasco so that there would…

Supercomputer named in honour of Ngunnawal people to mark reconciliation week

02 June 2020 in Hardware

Australia's biggest supercomputing facility, NCI, which is housed at the Australian National University has named its newest research supercomputer with…


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Thursday, 16 September 2010 17:08

Stallman calls for file-sharing to be legalised


The chairman of the Free Software Foundation, Richard Stallman, has called for internet file-sharing to  be legalised in order that people could benefit from sharing material that they should rightly be able to.

Stallman was giving a talk at the RMIT University in Melbourne today on "Copyright vs Community in the Age of Computer Networks", one of the lectures he is giving during a six-week stay in Australia.

At the end of his talk, Stallman auctioned what he called "an adorable GNU" (pic below) - a soft toy - saying, "if you have a penguin (the Linux mascot) at home, you need a GNU because the penguin is useless without the GNU." This was a dig at people who refuse to acknowledge the contribution the GNU Project has made to GNU/Linux distributions.

Stallman said file-sharing should be made legal to allow people to share files on a non-commercial basis as they had done during earlier eras.
Richard Stallman
During the days when printing presses were the main tool for rolling off copies of books, people could still share these or leave them to the next generation if they so wished, he said.

But with the advent of e-books - he cited the case of the Amazon Kindle which he referred to as the Amazon Swindle - publishers had started imposing restraints on people, even to the extent of deleting books which they had already paid for.

(Amazon did this last year, with the supreme irony being that the e-book in question was George Orwell's 1984.)

And e-publishers no longer sold one a copy of a book; they provided a licence for use of a book and could impose limits of time as they wished, Stallman added. "If someone comes to your house can you give them a copy of your e-book?" he asked. "You can't, you can only give them the device with your whole library on it."

The government did nothing to curb corporations as they imposed more and more restrictions on consumers, Stallman said. "The government should be of the people, by the people, for the people; instead it is of the people, by the flunkeys and for the corporations," he added to much laughter.

Restrictions were being imposed by the constant extension of copyright; in the US, the last extension moved the copyright period from 50 years after the death of a copyright holder to 70 years, he pointed out.

He said nobody could ask for a copyright to never expire without some kind of outcry resulting, "but they are doing it by degrees".

For example, the Disney Corporation did not want the use of an image like that of Mickey Mouse to be in the public domain. "So what do they do? They buy legislation. That's why we call it the Mickey Mouse Act," he said.

Stallman gave a brief account of the various digital measures that have been imposed in recent times to try and curb consumers from using software as they wished, prime among them being the Sony rootkit which was brought to light by Windows expert Mark Russinovich.

Sony did not earn any penalty for something which was akin to a felony, Stallman said. The company was incorporating the same technology as part of the hardware, for example in the Playstation 3.

He recommended that works which did a practical job should be kept free, and works that informed one about what people thought, and works of art and entertainment have a copyright regime that extended 10 years from the date of creation.

As far as music went, Stallman said there could be a small tax on internet connectivity to support artists with the distribution of the amount being on the basis of a cube root, instead of simply rewarding the most used recordings. Else, consumers could make voluntary payments to artists which went directly to them - though there needed to be some kind of mechanism created for doing this.

Else, there could be a scheme like Global Patronage where a monthly fee was paid to an ISP and the subscriber chose to apportion up to a third of this to artists of his or her choice; the rest was divided up according to the popularity of artists.



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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.