[Fsf-friends] report on Eben Moglen speech at Kannada bloggers

sreejith g.s sreejithgs at gmail.com
Fri Dec 19 01:02:48 IST 2008


Here is the report on Eben Moglen's speech at the event organized by Kannada

Professor Eben Moglen, professor of law and legal history
at Columbia University and is the founder, Director-Counsel and Chairman of
Software Freedom Law Center, spoke on the topic free software in new media
on last Saturday 13th December at the Institute of Agricultural
technologists, Bangalore. There was an audience of around 80 people. Apart
from Professor Eben Moglan, Jayakumar from Kannada bloggers and HP Nadig
from sampada.net also spoke at the event.

Here are the excerpts from Eben Moglen's speech:

*The free software and the emerging new media is reducing the significance
of the conventional media where the communication was only one way. Wikis
are allowing people to share and collaborate knowledge and thus allowing
interaction and direct communication. Eben explained how he use Wiki to
teach students and the way it improves the interaction between students and
teachers and how it helps to improve teaching. It is emerging as an
alternative to the traditional examination system. He also explained an
instance where the Wiki helped a researcher from Europe to collaborate with
students in Columbia University. *

*He quoted the Wikipedia model where people write content and collaborate to
improve it rather than the traditional model where the editors had a
significant role in choosing the content. In the Wikipedia way, people
collectively acts as watch dogs to check the accuracy of content. *

*While talking about blogs, Eben said that blogs provide a platform for
users and freedom to express. When bloggers express and share the knowledge
they gained through vast reading and research through blogs, it benefits the
society in a significant way.

*He also added that the w3c consortium is working on including audio and
video files in HTML 5.0 in such a way that a user can use them using a
browser without downloading any plug-ins. You would be able to include
multimedia files just using HTML tags like <audio> and <video>. He
emphasized that the major obstruction to this was not the difficulty in
using or developing the technology, but the patents and the copyrights which
were making it hard to include those new advancements. *

The major obstruction was the proprietary use of multi media codecs.Once
codecs are available, it will revolutionize the way video is transmitted
through the web. Then we don't need television as people will express
content through multi media and everyone will be able to watch and listen to
the content without any plug-ins. The free software and the new media is
putting every one in the drivers seat from the position of mere spectators
or users.*

*After the event, Eben Moglen interacted with the audience and clarified
their queries.
While answering the questions about the significance of free software Eben
Moglen emphasized that profit is not the only human tendency. There are also
other tendencies like sharing and collaboration that helped human beings to
emerge as a society. The tendency to help is one of the basic natures of
human beings. There are a lot of instances in everyday life where we help
someone without expecting anything. Free software helps us to make a better

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