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RMS's Bio | The GNU Project
An announcement in MIT presented a desperate hurry to find an unauthorized computer doing file-sharing on an MIT network:
Today, over the course of the past 18 hours, a machine on the [WiFi network] has been running a BitTorrent client serving downloads of [a movie]. MIT has received in excess of a dozen DMCA takedown notices...
The machine was set up to change its IP address frequently, so they could not just shut off its connection. The announcement was to ask people to help find the "rogue" machine.
Here follows the response I posted.
====================================================================== Let's not close our eyes to what's really going on here. The device you're looking for is not doing anything wrong, only something forbidden. "Resistance" would be a more fitting term that "rogue". The device was configured to run surreptitiously in order to evade the repression. We all understand that. We also understand that MIT's haste to shut off that device is because it would face harsh reprisals otherwise. That is collective responsibility at work, one tool of the War on Sharing. I don't criticize the staff for doing what the DMCA commands. The system's power is great, and MIT can't directly defy it. Defying it in this way wouldn't be effective opposition anyway. But we must not try to bury the moral truth of the situation: unjust power has taken MIT hostage to conscript the staff to enforce it. Having seen this gives us a responsibility: to oppose the unjust power in some other, effective way. That's how we can atone for having been compelled to uphold it. Apologies for sending this to [everyone]; in a normal situation nobody except the owner of the device would have to be bothered about this. The wish to avoid "bothering" people by showing them the DMCA at work is understandable but misguided. On the contrary, we and MIT should use this and every pertinent occasion to demand elimination of the War on Sharing. Every time we do anything to anyone under compulsion from the DMCA, we should condemn the DMCA loudly for compelling it. Make sharing legal, make EULAs void, make DRM a felony!
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