November 05, 2002

Richard Stallman essay: Words To Avoid

Richard Stallman has an essay Words To Avoid which should be better-known. It make many interesting points about the implications of certain terms. For example:

`Digital Rights Management''

``Digital Rights Management'' software is actually designed to impose restrictions on computer users. The use of the word ``rights'' in this term is propaganda, designed to lead you unawares into seeing the issue from the viewpoint of the few that impose the restrictions, while ignoring that of the many whom the restrictions are imposed on.

Good alternatives include ``Digital Restrictions Management'' and ``handcuffware.''


`Intellectual property''

Publishers and lawyers like to describe copyright as ``intellectual property.'' This term carries a hidden assumption---that the most natural way to think about the issue of copying is based on an analogy with physical objects, and our ideas of them as property.

But this analogy overlooks the crucial difference between material objects and information: information can be copied and shared almost effortlessly, while material objects can't be. Basing your thinking on this analogy is tantamount to ignoring that difference.

It's interesting reading.

By Seth Finkelstein | posted in copyblight | on November 05, 2002 11:36 PM (Infothought permalink)

Seth Finkelstein's Infothought blog (Wikipedia, Google, censorware, and an inside view of net-politics) - Syndicate site (subscribe, RSS)

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