Presentation by Richard Stallman at Cogswell College

On Wednesday, March 7, Richard Stallman will discuss the topic, "Copyright and Community in the Age of Computer Networks" at Cogswell College. Often provocative, Stallman challenges listeners to reexamine their relationship with the technology they use on a daily basis.

DATE: - March 7, 2012
TIME: - 7:00 to 9:30PM
PLACE: - Cogswell College, Dragon's Den
COST: - Free
Refreshments to be served

In "Copyright vs. Community," Stallman explains how copyright developed in the age of the printing press and was designed to fit in the system of centralized copying that the printing press imposed. But the copyright system does not fit well within the framework of computer networks and only draconian punishments can enforce it. The global corporations that profit from copyright are lobbying for draconian punishments and to increase their copyright powers, while suppressing public access to technology. But if we seriously hope to serve the only legitimate purpose of copyright - to promote progress for the benefit of the public - then we must make changes in the other direction.

Richard Stallman, a software developer and software freedom activist, launched the free software movement in 1983 and started the development of the GNU operating system in 1984. In October 1985, he started the Free Software Foundation, a nonprofit with a worldwide mission to promote computer user freedom and to defend the rights of all free software users.

According to Stallman, as our society grows more dependent on computers, the software we run is of critical importance to securing the future of a free society. Free software is about having control over the technology we use in our homes, schools and businesses, where computers work for our individual and communal benefit and not for proprietary software companies or governments who might seek to restrict and monitor us.

Since the mid-1990s, Stallman has spent most of his time in political advocacy for free software and spreading the ethical ideas of the movement. Additionally, he has campaigned against both software patents and dangerous extension of copyright laws. Before that, Stallman developed a number of widely used software components of the GNU system including the original Emacs, the GNU Compiler Collection, the GNU symbolic debugger (gdb), GNU Emacs and various other programs for the GNU operating system.

Stallman has received the ACM Grace Hopper Award, a MacArthur Foundation fellowship, the Electronic Frontier Foundation's Pioneer Award, and the Takeda Award for Social/Economic Betterment, as well as several honorary doctorates.

Richard Stallman's presentation is part of a lecture series hosted by Cogswell's Entrepreneurship Program.

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February 08, 2012