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Suggestions for National Constitutions

by Richard Stallman


No state activity may be privatized unless the resulting private entity will sell its products or services in a competitive market that includes a substantial range of private buyers.

Right of reverse engineering

The right of an individual to study the functioning of any technological product that she owns or rents, and to publish what she learns about it, may not be limited by any law, or by any contract agreed without negotiation.

Copyright and patent power can be decreased, not just increased

Copyrights and patents are temporary privileges created as artificial incentives, meant to achieve a balance between two public goals: promoting new works and ideas, and freedom to use existing published works and known ideas.

The state may through legislation increase or decrease the extent of existing copyright and patent privileges, or future ones. Decreasing a privilege does not entitle the holders of the privilege to compensation.

Freedom from computerized surveillance

The right of privacy from technological surveillance shall not be infringed without justification. Therefore, no entities, public or private, may use information technology to systematically and automatically store beyond a short time any information about individuals, except when inherently necessary for dealings entered into by those individuals, for determining the taxes they owe, for public health and safety, or pursuant to a court order detailing the individuals to be surveilled and the information to be stored.

Freedom of recording

No law may limit occasional photography and/or recording in places open to the public, nor the right to publish those works.

Agricultural Freedom

No law may limit farmers rights' to propagate, breed and sell plants or animals that they have lawfully grown for food.

Prohibition of general-purpose identity documents

Because general-purpose identity documents promote general surveillance, the state shall not issue credentials to individuals except for a specific limited purpose, and no such credential shall be checked for any purpose other than the one for which it was issued except pursuant to due process of law.

Published in 2012 in the public domain by Richard Stallman.