The Global Software Industry in Transformation: After GPLv3

Professor Eben Moglen of the Software Freedom Law Center delivered a lecture in Edinburgh, Scotland 26th June 2007 titled "The Global Software Industry in Transformation: After GPLv3". (Archive.org: Text, Audio, Video, DVD). The lecture hosted by the Scottish Society for Computers and Law just days before the launch of the final version of GPLv3.

In some ways this could be seen as a follow-on lecture to "Software and Community in the Early 21st Century" which he gave in October 2006 to a technical community, with this one more aimed at a legal/legislative community.

The basic change in global economics was discussed: that with modern technology we can now harness the zero marginal cost of knowledge toward both economic benefit and social good. One of the greatest moral questions of our society was also repeated:

Why is it ever moral to deprive people of that which they could have for nothing and which they wish to have, and you already have made? If you could feed everyone by baking one loaf of bread, and pressing a button, what would be the moral case for permitting the price of bread to be higher than the poorest hungry person could pay?

The GPLv3 was discussed as being far more than simply what will likely become the most well used software license, but as the result of a democratic process of collaborative worldwide construction that easily rivals most treaties. This legal document can be seen as the constitution of a community, and one that I am proud to be an active part of.

See also: Groklaw republishing of text, with public comments.