Subject: FS (free software) is FS (free speech)
From: John Gilmore <gnu@toad.com>
Date: Wed, 26 May 1999 11:57:26 -0700

>			Provision of FS is IMHO a critical important
> governance issue of the information age, the difference between facism and
> open dialogue. I hope to have the joy of spending my life considering
> issues of electronic civil libertiess. Economics would predict that free
> software, and therefore the resulting liberties,  are underprovided, that
> equivalent proprietary  software would dominate. That does not seem to be
> the case right now, it looks more like the marketplac eof ideas than the
> m&m's marketplace.

This is the essence of EFF's argument in the Bernstein v. Justice
case (http://www.eff.org/bernstein/):  that regulating software in
source code is regulating speech, not regulating "mere" commerce.

So far two courts have agreed with us, and the US crypto export control
regime may topple as a result.

Perhaps it is this factor (that spreading one's software spreads one's
reputation and philosophy, as with other forms of speech) that partly
explains why there is more free software than traditional economic
models would predict.  It's certainly been cited by some notable free
software authors, such as Mike Tiemann, who wanted to be famous for
writing "the Great American C Compiler", but had to settle for C++
since Stallman had gotten there first.

	John

PS: Jean, would you be interested in writing or joining an amicus
brief, perhaps for the Supreme Court, on this topic?