Kaj Arnö

Combining Business & Freedom

TBOP2017 ⋅ 4:17 ⋅ Filmed May 12, 2017

How do Disney and the Grimm Brothers relate to technology innovations?

Kaj Arnö uses this out-of-the-box example to make his argument about the issues concerning licenses, copyright, and intellectual property in the modern era of rapid-pace innovation. If instead of limiting a product or software’s use, we empowered people to build upon it, how much farther and faster could we go? How much better could we make the world?

If you think these questions are more for philosophers and not for the IT crowd, this clip is not for you. Kaj argues persuasively that freedom and business do not have to be mutually exclusive — and he has examples of real people who are living proof.

Further Reading

Intellectual Property

Lawrence Lessig

Eben Moglen

Grimm Brothers

Rick Falkvinge

Michael Widenius


Using open source, I truly believe when using technology you can combine business and freedom. It is not an impossible equation but you have to be conscious of these things. You have to be conscious of the moral obligations as a technologist that you have.

[00:29] Rounding up on the ethical side, the dimension of open source in its wider sense. I have a couple of people that I think we should be very grateful towards that I've listed here. So the first ethics IT edition slide here on freedom is about intellectual property.

[00:54] We have Lawrence Lessig and Eben Moglen. The guy to the left is the father of how to apply copyright to situations where you do not want to limit but to enable the users of your intellectual property. The copyleft where creative commons is enabling the further use of your materials much in the way that humanity has used it all the time.

[01:25] The Grimm Brothers actually didn't write all their stories themselves, they collected what had been common knowledge, they packaged it and they made it consumable for a large group of people. Now, Disney took what the Grimm Brothers had done and didn't pay the Grimm Brothers (or those who are the inheritors of Grimm Brothers) anything. I think that’s just fine but the same should apply now. We should now have a situation where we can build upon those you came before us when it come to IP.

[02:04] Evan Bognell is the lawyer behind general public license, the most known open source license, a great mind when it comes to enforcing freedom of software.

[02:23] Looking specifically then at open source, the guy on the right, Linus Torvalds. A fellow Fin, is known to all of you, the creator of Linux, the operating system. The guy on the left, Rick Falkvinge might not be known to you, is very known in most of Europe, the creator of the first pirate party, which on their agenda have issues related from IP and freedom from copyright on the top. And they actually, in some European countries, specifically Iceland, have been very very successful.

[03:08] And then, the last slide here actually contains a picture of a very good friend of mine, [Michael Widenius] whom [I met] already when we went to school together, so that's the guy behind the MySQL database and nowadays behind the MariaDB database. The creator of a database which also provides the world with lots of freedom, and I think we can grow business based on that. You can see that from the track record of MySQL. That is sort of a commonality of these people, you can create something good for humanity but still lead a few good life yourself. You can have open source for open good. Thank you.

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