As The Pirate Bay sinks, 20 radical technology truths from Eben Moglen

moglen
Photo by Duncan Davidson

On June 30, while I was on a mountain in Chile, one of the top 100 most-trafficked websites on the Internet was sold by a group of Swedish geeks to a corporation for $7.8 million. The Pirate Bay as we know it, under constant fire from governments and their patron corporations, is gone after almost six years of defiantly coordinating the sharing of data and culture on a massive scale among users from all over the planet. (Complete coverage at TorrentFreak.)

It’s not clear why the sale happened or what Peter Sunde and the rest of the crew will do now. But it likely had to do with the Bay’s founders being sentenced in April to a huge fines and jailtime. The presiding judge just happened to be a member of several traditional copyright lobbying and trade groups, it was revealed, but there will be no retrial.

So it’s worth revisiting Free and Open Software: Paradigm for a New Intellectual Commons, a talk given in March at Seattle University’s Law of the Commons Conference. The speaker was Eben Moglen, one-time Supreme Court law clerk, now Columbia University professor and award-winning director of the Software Freedom Law Center.

I watched Moglen’s talk a few weeks ago and was blown away. Speaking without notes, he comprehensively packages together a crucial set radical truths about power, technology and society in sixty minutes. Richard Stallman is better known, as the face and founder of the Free Software movement, but he’s an uninspiring (disgusting at times, actually) public figure. Let’s pay more attention to Moglen, who’s collaborated with Stallman over the years, from now on.

20 key points that stood out for me, without Moglen’s eloquence and context, are below. The video too. Continue Reading…