02.17.14

Proprietary Software Turns Users Into Informants Against Their Neighbours

Posted in Free/Libre Software, Intellectual Monopoly at 6:12 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: An example of anti-social aspects of proprietary software and a look at recent news about intellectual monopolies that go way too far

ONE of the best examples of anti-social behaviour is Facebook, where people are basically carrying out surveillance on their friends, family, colleagues, etc. and then send it in image/video/text form to authorities and to other people. This may be counter-intuitive given the marketing with “social” theme, but that’s what it is. Taking this even further, the Apple- and Microsoft-backed front group BSA is now offering useds [sic] of Facebook money to rat on their ‘friends’ who may be using proprietary software without a licence. As TorrentFreak (a news site banned for some people in the UK, thanks to ever-increasing government censorship) has put it: “The Business Software Alliance, a trade group representing Adobe, Apple and Microsoft, is offering hard cash to Facebook users who report businesses that use unlicensed software. The anti-piracy group is running an ad-campaign luring people with the prospect of a “free” ski-trip.”

This is what proprietary software does to people. It sure seems like proprietary software promotes behaviour that alienates oneself, leaving people suspicious of one another and generally divided. Hopefully, now that Windows turns into a security threat to many (not just back doors), more people will turn to Free software through GNU/Linux. Not only XP users are being deserted. Vista users too are left out in the cold. There is news related to this. “Microsoft confirms both IE9 and IE10 contain vulnerability, urges customers to upgrade to IE11; leaves Vista users out in the cold,” Gregg Keizer writes. This is yet another example of neglect — a common symptom of proprietary software. Users are pressured to pay through the nose for an upgrade (or “die”).

There is clearly something wrong with this current system where copyright makes the singing of “Happy Birthday” an infringement [1] and even linking to a site an infringement (this is challenged by EU reforms [2] and court cases [3,4]) right now). In the US, which is run by the copyright monopoly [5] (at a legislative level), the military is trademarking everything [6,7] and the telecoms cartel trademarks even colours [8]. All sorts of trade deals are only threatening to make things worse (e.g. expansion to Europe), but fortunately the push back against the Trans-Pacific Partnership, for example, is proving to be effective [9].

A society of few proprietor and many people who are by design “infringers” (similar to incarcerating by wide classification like that of the “War on Drugs”) is a society of selected rulers and many slaves. We need to reject proprietary software and we need to encourage or promote a culture of increased sharing. It’s an ethical matter. It improves co-existence/cooperation and speeds up advancement.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. “Happy Birthday” copyright defense: Those “words” and “text” are ours

    There may be no song more widely sung in America than “Happy Birthday,” but it isn’t free to sing. Warner/Chappell music licensing, which has long claimed copyright to the words, typically dings filmmakers and TV producers a few thousand bucks for a “synchronization license” any time the song is used in video. Warner reported that by the 1990s the “Happy Birthday” licensing enterprise was pulling in upwards of $2 million annually.

  2. European Commission Public Consultation on Copyright: La Quadrature du Net’s Answer

    The European Commission’s public consultation on copyright reform is open until 5 March [The European Commission extended the deadline by a month]. This consultation represents an important opportunity for European citizens to demand that access to culture and knowledge be recognised as their fundamental right. It also allows the interests of authors and creators to be defended against those of the cultural industries, major distributors and intermediaries, and heirs of rightholders who currently receive the greatest share of income from copyrighted works. La Quadrature du Net therefore calls on the maximum number of citizens and organisations to reply to the consultation and support a positive reform of copyright.

  3. Hyperlinking is Not Copyright Infringement, EU Court Rules

    Does publishing a hyperlink to freely available content amount to an illegal communication to the public and therefore a breach of creator’s copyrights under European law? After examining a case referred to it by Sweden’s Court of Appeal, the Court of Justice of the European Union has ruled today that no, it does not.

  4. Europe’s Highest Court Says Linking Doesn’t Require Permission

    Recently, Techdirt has reported on a number of important judgments from the Court of Justice of the European Union, the EU’s highest court. Here’s another one that represents a good win for common sense. It concerns hyperlinking to copyright materials held on another site (pdf).

  5. Another Friend Of The Recording Industry Joins The House Subcommittee On Courts, Intellectual Property And The Internet

    There’s a new ranking member of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet, and it’s another copyright maximalist. Mel Watt, the former ranking member and one of SOPA’s biggest supporters, has moved on to the Federal Housing Finance Agency. Before Mel Watt, there was subcommittee chair “Hollywood” Howard Berman, whose nickname clearly spells out which side of the copyright argument he espoused.

  6. US Military Looking To Trademark Everything

    As we’ve noted plenty of times in the past, works produced by the federal government are not subject to copyright. However, they are (almost inexplicably) subject to both patent and trademark protection, where those things apply. A little while back, Jim Gourley over at Foreign Policy looked into how the Pentagon has gone trademark slap happy over the last five years or so (the headline of the article falsely implies that it has also gone copyright happy, despite barely mentioning copyright, and in the one spot it does, totally confusing copyright and trademarks).

  7. Jim Gourley’s Military Culture column: Who knew? The Pentagon is TM and ©

    Christmas is almost upon us, which means military brats, Twitter junkies, and Google Earth nuts around the world will gather online for NORAD’s yearly tracking of Saint Nick as he delivers presents across the globe. How the tradition began is a heart-touching story that demonstrates the holiday spirit. The tradition now enters its 58th year, and despite some PR snags you can keep faith that the Air Force will ensure it’s an authentic experience.

  8. Court orders AT&T to stop infringing on T-Mobile’s magenta color
  9. The Trans-Pacific Partnership Is in Trouble Thanks to Grassroots Pressure

    Multilateral trade agreements like the TPP are virtually impossible to enact without fast track, which allows the executive branch to submit a treaty to Congress for an up or down vote, without amendments.

Share in other sites/networks: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Reddit
  • email

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

What Else is New


  1. Links 24/2/2021: MariaDB 10.5.9, Krita 4.4.3 Beta, and Debuginfod Server for Debian

    Links for the day



  2. Self-Host Your Videos, Take Full Advantage of HTML5 and Video Attributes

    For self-hosting of videos over the World Wide Web (Gemini too can handle videos; its clients/browsers can, for example, link video files/URLs to external media players) it's worth reviewing the full set of features made available by the standards because a lot can be accomplished without JavaScript and without unnecessary bloat/complexity



  3. Trying Out NoiseTorch to Reduce Background Sound/Noise in GNU/Linux

    An introduction to noisetorch (or NoiseTorch), an application that helps create virtual microphones/devices with reduced background noise



  4. How the Big Banks and OIN Can Whitewash Software Patents and Do Nothing Concrete About Patent Trolls

    Response to the puff piece entitled "How the Big Banks and OIN Can Lock Out Patent Trolls with Enabled Publications"



  5. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, February 23, 2021

    IRC logs for Tuesday, February 23, 2021



  6. How to Set Up a Gemini Server of Your Own, Even on a Simple Single-Board Computer

    Using Agate to start one's own Gemini capsule (self-hosted) is a lot simpler than one might be inclined to believe; this is a detailed HOWTO, hoping to encourage more people to join Gemini space, which is fast-growing and free of garbage



  7. Links 23/2/2021: Tails 4.16, Libinput 1.17, Fwupd 1.5.7, Firefox 86, NeoChat 1.1

    Links for the day



  8. The Word Master is Not Problematic in Most Contexts and Its Origin Hasn't a Connection to Slavery

    Slavery is to the word "master" mostly disconnected; it might, however, be closely connected in the minds of racists or the agenda of highly racist corporations (profiting from racism) that look for ways to distract from their racism



  9. On Misapplication, Misuse, Overuse and Abuse of Words (to Suit False Narratives)

    It is looking like the word "abuse" has been extended to basically mean all sorts of things including the act of actually exposing real abuse



  10. The Administrative Council Needs to Fix the EPO While It's Still Possible

    EPO staff and former staff (pensioners) aren't happy and the it's the responsibility of the Administrative Council to do something before it's too late (the reputation of the Office is already severely harmed and it's unable/unwilling to recruit suitable and qualified people, both as examiners and managers, respectively)



  11. 'These Questions Remain Unanswered': Campinos Became Battistelli Just Halfway Through His Term

    The Central Staff Committee of the EPO highlights the grim situation or the deadlock reached after totally dysfunctional Office management somehow managed to kill off channels of communication, in effect going back to where things were back in 2018 under Battistelli



  12. 'The One Percent': Salary Adjustment Procedure (SAP) Supported Only by 1% of EPO Staff

    Out of 2,237 EPO workers who expressed their position on the SAP, which in essence lowers their salary, only 31 expressed support for it (that's 1.385%)



  13. IRC Proceedings: Monday, February 22, 2021

    IRC logs for Monday, February 22, 2021



  14. DDOS Attacks and Decentralisation

    Our server, which is shared among sites, has been under persistent distributed denial of service (DDOS) attacks almost every day in recent weeks, culminating in much worse attacks last night, but we're not too worried anymore



  15. Links 23/2/2021: Gemini (and Gopher) on the Rise Again, Systemd 248 Reaches RC1

    Links for the day



  16. On the Terms Master, Main and Abuse

    Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock



  17. Microsoft Inside — Part IV: Microsoft Everywhere, Looking to Poach Developers, Not Disclosing What It Really Wants

    As it turns out, just about everyone looking to recruit for a Microsoft-connected project/company (working on Raspberry Pi, Ubuntu etc.) near Microsoft is 'former' Microsoft, but people who are being approached aren't being told so, at least not upfront; those are very familiar and old tactics, which merit a word of caution to all



  18. Microsoft: We Ain't Done Until Raspberry Pi Won't Run (Anything But Our Proprietary Software With 'Telemetry' Surveillance)

    The ongoing series which we started yesterday and still publish today (about Microsoft recruiters) shows that Microsoft has rather toxic ambitions and the general idea is to infect everything with Microsoft, even the things that compete against Microsoft



  19. Controlling the Conduct of Large Corporations (and Monopolies) Would Help Tackle Disproportionate and Asymmetric Power Structures

    A "CoC" (Code of Conduct) is often crafted or drafted with good intentions; but with enforcement put in the wrong hands it is a tool of corporate oppression instead of protection of people's dignity



  20. Another Reason to Boycott Microsoft/GitHub: The War on Reverse-Engineering

    The high-profile fan-made reverse-engineering efforts are being proactively censored by Microsoft on behalf of another company (without as much as due process), reaffirming the problematic nature of GitHub, a monopoly that represses Free software developers



  21. Links 22/2/2021: Lots More About Linux on Mars, Release of 4MLinux 35.2

    Links for the day



  22. Microsoft Inside — Part III: Microsoft Finds Out That Free Software Developers Don't Want to Work for Microsoft on Microsoft Platforms

    The attempts to poach high-profile Free software and GNU/Linux developers aren't succeeding, especially once it turns out who's really behind those attempts (they don't give it away upfront)



  23. Techrights is Now in Gemini (Having Completed a Two Week-Long Migration) With Over 32,000 Pages in Total

    The site is now mirrored across an alternative to the World Wide Web



  24. Links 22/2/2021: Cherry Pi PC and Release of Xfce Panel Profiles 1.0.13

    Links for the day



  25. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, February 21, 2021

    IRC logs for Sunday, February 21, 2021



  26. The Focus on Delivery Style Rather Than the Substance is an Extension of Cancel/Censorship Culture

    Don't look away because some bits of information are new and unfamiliar; there is always suppressed information and companies tend to pay publishers to publish material contrary to what is true (to seed confusion and urge for a false sense of "balance")



  27. Microsoft Inside -- Part II: Microsoft Has Plans for the Raspberry Pi or Linux SBCs in General (and It Hides Its Role in That)

    Some 'former' Microsoft employees are looking to hire GNU/Linux developers/employees without revealing who they are and who they still work with (Microsoft)



  28. Links 22/2/2021: Oracle Solaris 11.4 SRU30 and Lubuntu in Focus

    Links for the day



  29. Technology Will Become More Inclusive When We Identify and Tackle the Root Causes, and Choice of Words Ain't That

    The troublesome misdirection from real issues (such as imperialism and racism that beget social apartheid) means that mainstream media hails corporations as the solution to the very problem they contribute to (for profit)



  30. We Need to Keep the Word 'Master' to Explain What Large Corporations Have Become to Society (Same Corporations Trying to Abolish This Word)

    There are corporate consortia and a media obsession with supposedly offensive language; little attention is being paid to the blood spilled by those same corporations, usually consciously and for profit


RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

Recent Posts