Eben Moglen

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Eben Moglen
Eben Moglen

Eben Moglen is a professor of law and history of law at Columbia University, serves pro bono as General Counsel for the Free Software Foundation, and is the Chairman of Software Freedom Law Center.

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[edit] Stances on free software

Moglen says that free software is a fundamental requirement for a democratic and free society in which we are surrounded by and dependent upon technical devices. Only if controlling these devices is open to all via free software, can we balance power equally.

Moglen's Metaphorical Corollary to Faraday's Law is the idea that the information appearance and flow between the human minds connected via the Internet works like induction. Hence Moglen's phrase "Resist the resistance!" (i.e. remove anything that inhibits the flow of information).

[edit] Statements and perspectives

While speaking in New Delhi, India, in 2006, he remarked: "Anything that is worth copying is worth sharing." His other quotes: "The more we give away, the richer we become." And: "Note how even the smallest encounter with Free Software can make a man cheerful about the future of our judge" (said after hearing a judge of the Allahabad high court, India speak on the subject).

Moglen believes the idea of proprietary software is as ludicrous as having "proprietary mathematics" or "proprietary geometry". This would convert the subjects from "something you can learn" into "something you must buy", he has argued. He points out that software is among the "things which can be copied infinitely over and over again, without any further costs".

Moglen has criticized what he calls the "reification of selfishness". He has said, "A world full of computers which you can't understand, can't fix and can't use [because it is controlled by inaccessible proprietary software] is a world controlled by machines."

He has called on lawyers to help the Free Software movement, saying: "Those who want to share their code can make products and share their work without additional legal risks." He urged his legal colleagues, "It's worth giving up a little in order to produce a sounder ecology for all. Think kindly about the idea of sharing."

Moglen has criticized trends which result in "excluding people from knowledge". On the issue of Free Software versus proprietary software, he has argued that "much has been said by the few who stand to lose". Moglen calls for a "sensible respect for both the creators and users" of software code.

On the subject of Digital Rights Management, Moglen once said, "[Trusted Computing and DRM] is said to be because movie and record companies must eat. I will concede that they must eat. Though like me, they should eat less."[1]

[edit] Professional biography

Moglen started out as a computer programming language designer[2] and then received his bachelor's degree from Swarthmore College in 1980, where he won the Hicks Prize for Literary Criticism. In 1985, he received a master's degree in philosophy and a JD from Yale University. He has held visiting appointments at Harvard University, Tel Aviv University and the University of Virginia since 1987.

He was a law clerk to Justice Thurgood Marshall (1986-87 term). He joined the faculty of Columbia Law School in 1987, and was admitted to the New York bar in 1988.[3] He received a Ph.D. in history from Yale University in 1993. Moglen serves as a director of the Public Patent Foundation.

In 2003 he received the EFF Pioneer Award. In February 2005, he founded the Software Freedom Law Center.

[edit] References

[edit] External links

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[edit] Publications

[edit] Interviews

[edit] Articles and interviews

[edit] Speeches