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Presented by: James Gregora
James Gregora is a 3rd year law student at Rutgers with an interest in intellectual property and criminal justice issues. He has a B.A. in Philosophy from Swarthmore College, and an M.A. in Philosophy from Brandeis University.
The four freedoms encompass the rights to use, modify, copy, and redistribute modified copies. Yet most software users have no intention of ever modifying software, let alone redistributing modified copies of their software. So why should these freedoms be of any concern to them? Over the past three decades, the number of users has increased by several orders of magnitude. Proprietary software has become the predominant form of software, to the extent that many ordinary users are surprised when they learn that a particular piece of software is free rather than proprietary. While this is a significant negative development, the widespread adoption of software by less technically oriented people presents a unique opportunity: it means that nearly everyone in the developed world has a personal stake in the future of software freedom.
This talk elaborates on the personal stake that ordinary users have in the future of free software, and how the movement can express the importance of its ideas to those who are not particularly technically inclined. The presentation focuses on the underlying ethical questions posed by the widespread use of nonfree software, and will propose various ways to communicate these concerns in layman's terms.