I still haven’t drunk the Koolaid of code as free speech, thinking of it more as “work product” than prosody… and lucky me, I get to meet Wendy Seltzer at WTF2004 in a month or so. I think she’ll have opinions and maybe she’ll share some of them there. This is going to be a mind bending gathering for me since I have curmudgeonly opinions regarding stupid networks too.
I was musing about an earlier on-line discussion about Bernstein and his struggle with Dept. of Commerce regulations. This took place in ’95 and ’96 on some mail list. Some relevant background can be found here and here.
Eight or ten years ago a woman named Shari Steele had all kinds of things to say about this that I thought were pretty much smoke. But, as I age I’m learning that what passes for common sense at my house is often at odds with judicial opinions.
Anyway, my sense is that code is a work product and can be considered property, but it’s a far stretch to call it free speech. Code that intends to protect privacy is a lot like household protection… my right to lay a minefield in the front yard may be constrained by municipal regulations.
I remain interested in the “code as free speech” discussion and wonder where it stands today?