28 Jan 2013 cdfrey   » (Journeyer)

    louie writes about "permission culture."

    Ignoring reality doesn't make it go away, and the reality of MIT labs and copyright resulted in the reality of the GPL.

    Because of real laws, the reality of permission still exists. Rejecting permission rejects a lot more than just copyright. It strikes at the heart of ownership and flirts with theft.

    "Permission culture" exists not just in the software world, but in every other sphere of property as well. If I wanted everyone to feel free to use my car, I would need to take special steps to make that permission known. Same with house, food, clothing, and money. There may be subcultures where this permission is so widely shared that it is an unwritten rule, but even so, those people who participate in that subculture need to consciously make the choice to live that way, by joining the club. We should not make that choice for them.

    And people make that choice via "permission culture." To rail against it, even in the software world, seems short-signed to me. It would be less far-reaching to rail against copyright itself. "Permission culture" covers too much ground. If you (or any software author) want to get rid of copyright, please say so. That's a valid subject of discussion. But if we're talking of getting rid of permission, we're discussing something else, likely in the realm of anarchy. This too can be discussed, but is much broader.

    Somehow, I doubt that all those folks who find licensing too burdensome would care for a free-for-all on the rest of their possessions. And if that is the case, then this is just a matter of laziness (eg. "Licensing is too hard!"), and possibly even greed (eg. "Why do I have to obey the GPL??"), not culture.

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