Saturday, March 21, 2009

Commitment To Freedom

Commitment To Freedom

I think these ideas may have broader application but that remains to be seen.

I think too often we are faced with "one way" contracts and ones that we have no hope in understanding in aggregate in our day to day lives. I have been pondering this problem and approaches to solutions for some time now. My thinking is still fuzzy and unfinished but I want to put some ideas down to see if I can get more help from others.

What I am thinking of involves Individual Commitments To Freedom that people and companies can make (and we need to figure a way to make these binding) so that people dealing with them can have a level of comfort in their dealings with those who have made such commitments.

I am also thinking of having contracts and terms of service etc developed by citizens and then adopted by companies willing to Commit to Freedom.

More later.



Crosbie Fitch said...

Drew, be careful.

If people are committed to freedom then they don't need to be bound to such commitments by anything more than their own conscience.

If you're talking of corporations (that have no conscience, and no liberty to lose), this may be a different matter, but you need to be careful that in trying to enable corporations to make a binding commitment never to exploit copyright or patent, you may lose sight of the vital distinction between corporation and human being.

zotz said...

Hey Crosbie, thanks for dropping by and thanks for the comment.

"If people are committed to freedom then they don't need to be bound to such commitments by anything more than their own conscience."

In one sense, this is so. But, if I am to invest my time, gratis, in promoting someone because they are following a Free path, I may want something more than that. Or at least, having more than that may get more effort out of me.

I don't think I am likely to lose sight of the difference between a corporation and a human, but I know that the warning is not foolish in this society.

I see this using Free or Open as a come on going on all the time. I am just wondering about ways to clear things up in this problem area.


Crosbie Fitch said...

I suggested something similar here: An Artist's Hippocratic Oath.

I think you even replied to this slightly later reprise: Employees can be Hippocratic Artists Too.

I think there's plenty of opprobrium available to penalise someone who breaks their Hippocratic oath and reverts to the use of unethical privilege.

I doubt it is legally possible to make such an oath binding in any case, despite the many abuses of contract and law that persuade people they can indeed alienate themselves from their liberty, e.g. to speak.

However, it may be possible to produce a legal declaration that grants a perpetual copyleft license to all one's published works - since this is not binding oneself, but abdicating from the use of unethical privileges to bind others.

zotz said...


as I say, I am still in the early thinking stages on this stuff and welcome discussion and input.

For people especially as opposed to corporations or perhaps even products, a promise for a certain period of time and for a certain area of work might be good enough.

My thinking is quite flexible here so far.

I might for instance promise that I will make all my upcoming lyrics BY-SA for the next year once I raise $X but not my photos. Who knows? Just some assurance so that the other party to the "deal" knows what they are getting into and can hold me to something if they do their bit and I try to back out of mine.

I have another bunch of rules of thumb I consider when it comes to Free Software that I need to get down at some point.

I do hope we find a workable (provably working?) model at some point soon so that we can point to some real world successes and suggest that others can follow the path that has been blazed.