Digital Rights

  • (this is a reformatted/expandedq version of a comment I made in November 2013 on the Libre Office mailing list) Other list members where saying they saw nothing like “holding people hostage” in free trials of software: > >>I didn't know we considered trialware "cunning". > > >They let people create & edit documents for a while and then hold > >them hostage, until the users coughs up for MS Office.
  • Following several requests, I am making available for download a PDF versionof the 2007 edition of my Family Guide to Digital Freedom, with the following notes and conditions: Please note that the same text is also available here on this website, in a format /one page per chapter) that makes it much easier to link it and, even better, add feedback (please do it!). If you want to signal a chapter of the guide to your friend, find the corresponding page in the index and link that one, not the PDF file.
  • Today, our rights and the overall quality of our life heavily depend on how software is used around us. This is true also for people (including children) who don’t care much about computers, or don’t even have one. This is whyin 2006⁄2007 I wrote a Family Guide to Digital Freedom and an associated website. My goal was to try to explain, in one place and in the simplest possible way, what everybody should know about software, digital technologies and digital culture, in order to protect their rights.
  • (Historical note: I originally published this on 2008/01/12 at, the website I set up as an online counterpart to that Family Guide to Digital Freedom which later on became the basis for my basic course. I have moved it here on April 24th, 2012, because I think the advice below it’s a perfect complement to something else published on this website in the same month (With leaders like these, Free Software will never win), and because here you can add your comments)
  • Is that really you?

    (this page is part of the Family Guide to Digital Freedom, 2007 edition. Please do read that introduction to know more about the Guide, especially if you mean to comment this page. Thanks) In a digital world, complete and real anonymity online is a mere illusion unless you take a lot of steps, including several ones which may very likely be illegal or not allowed by the contracts offered by any Internet Access Provider.
  • (historical note: I first put this online in October 2006, at In the following years, I reorganized my websites several times… until this piece went offline. I put it back at this new URL, with (almost) all the links updated, in December 2013)In 1984 Richard Stallman, the founder of the Free Software Foundation, published the Gnu Manifesto. More than twenty years later the language of that Manifesto, while still valid in spirit, isn’t sufficient anymore in a world where almost all computers users have no interest at all in programming.
  • (this page is just one part of my “Dangerous Copyright Myths” piece. Please also read the introduction and index for more context) Myth 6: Copyright is not necessary because humankind and artists did perfectly well without it for centuries This is the “Mozart was great without copyright, nor did he care about it” school of so-called thought: copyright would be dangerous or at least useless because it is a very recent thing.
  • (this page is just one part of my “Dangerous Copyright Myths” piece. Please also read the introduction and index for more context) Oh, yeah, work on commission. Absolutely nothing wrong with it… as long as you don’t base the whole system on it. Proposing a switch to work on commissions comes from the fact that even those who believe myth number 1 cannot deny that skilled labor has a lot of value, much more than the cost of one copy of a work.
  • (this page is just one part of my “Dangerous Copyright Myths” piece. Please also read the introduction and index for more context) Myth 3: All creative activities give equal opportunities to make a comfortable living even without copyright This belief that any kind of author has so many alternatives to make a living from his or her creative talent alone is very strong, because it’s a very convenient one: “it’s not my fault if he’s lazy”.