[Doctorow-L] My HOPE keynote this Saturday
doctorow at craphound.com
Thu Jul 23 21:14:04 EDT 2020
This Saturday at 1PM Pacific, I'm giving a keynote address to HOPE 2020:
the 13th Hackers on Planet Earth con, put on by 2600 magazine. This is
the first all-virtual year, and I am so there for it.
My talk is called "We Used to Have Cake, Now We've Barely Got Icing."
It's a totally brand new talk, the first time I've ever tried to
publicly articulate this big, unifying thesis I've been developing about
monopoly, totalitarianism, tech and IP.
Normally, talks evolve: I have an idea and I talk about it, revise it,
talk about it again, revise it, etc. But every so often, there's a kind
of bolt-from-the-blue that makes me rethink my whole approach. That's
what happened about a month ago.
I'm rarely nervous before a talk, but I'm nervous about this one. I DO
NOT want to screw this up. It's an important idea for me and I am not at
all confident I can get it across. But it's important enough that I am
going to try my damndest.
Here's the description I wrote for the program book:
When free software licensing was born, software copyrights were
essentially nonexistent, software patents didn't exist at all, terms of
service weren't enforceable and there was no anti-circumvention law. In
other words, you were legally permitted to clone or interoperate with
any digital product. Today, we think of free software as a way for a
company to say, "We probably won't sue you if you write code that can
interoperate with ours." But when free software started, it was more
like, "I know I've got the absolute legal right to reverse engineer all
your code and make a competing product, but that's such tedious work.
Please, make it easy for me by giving me your source code." Back then,
free software was icing on the cake. Then they stole the cake and left
us hoping for a little icing every now and then.
I hope you can make it! And I hope if you do, I don't screw it up!
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