Summary of Free Speech vs. Copyright

An arranger from a previous gig I spoke at sent me one of the best summaries of the copyright wars I’ve seen so far. It’s from the FreeNet Philosophy FAQ.

This is what I say in my “Copyright Regime vs. Civil Liberties” keynote, but condensed into one paragraph:

Of course much of Freenet’s publicity has centered around the issue of copyright, and thus I will speak to it briefly. The core problem with copyright is that enforcement of it requires monitoring of  communications, and you cannot be guaranteed free speech if someone is monitoring everything you say. This is important, most people fail to see or address this point when debating the issue of copyright, so let me make it clear:
You cannot guarantee freedom of speech and enforce copyright law.

It is for this reason that Freenet, a system designed to protect Freedom of Speech, must prevent enforcement of copyright.

This is one of the most succinct and to-the-point summaries of the copyright wars I have seen to date.

This goes not only for technical systems such as FreeNet, but also for political endeavours and legislation. Any area where you are charged with protecting freedom of speech (and you are as a politician), it goes that you cannot protect today’s copyright, and vice versa. Unfortunately, today’s politicians have failed to see this connection, and have systematically dismantled freedom of speech in favor of copyright enforcement.

The Pirate Party seeks to address and redress this. We aim to safeguard freedom of speech. We don’t really seek to destroy enforcement of noncommercial copyright per se — it’s just a necessary side effect, one that has positive spinoffs of its own.

After all, we are reforming copyright to become commercial-only, and end the conflict at its core. But the reason for doing so is to prioritize FoS.

Rick Falkvinge

Rick is the founder of the first Pirate Party and a low-altitude motorcycle pilot. He lives on Alexanderplatz in Berlin, Germany, roasts his own coffee, and as of right now (2019-2020) is taking a little break.


  1. Scary Devil Monastery

    Excellent…and i’m very thrilled to see that freenet is still being worked on. 🙂

  2. Peter Andersson

    Freedom of speech described as Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle! (I.e the cat in the box that is either dead or alive, if you have to look you cannot help but kill it with your observation). 🙂

  3. Jocke

    Jobbig läsning för en okunnig orkar inte sitta och översätta det hoppas du återgår till svenska språket snart så når du ju oss språkokunninga också.

  4. Rick

    Heisenberg didn’t define a cat in a box. That was Schrödinger.

    I certainly don’t think something that powerful and succinct should be or needs to be translated into a language whose people speak the best English in Europe.

    1. Jocke

      Well bye bye then

      1. urkan

        You can always use google translate and dictionaries. The positive side effect is that you will possible learn something new.

  5. gastlind

    Tjena Rick. Kanske borde vi skriva om nya grundlags-förslaget och varför det är vidrig? Att kritisera militär mot civilbefolkning och avskaffande av offentlighetsprincipen borde vara PP-stoff rakt av.

  6. gastlind

    Va, kritisera militär? Att “sätta in” skulle det förstås stå.

Comments are closed.