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Co)pyleft Eben Moglen, 1999. | Mail:

Anarchism Triumphant: Free Software and the Death of Copyright

Eben Moglen *

I. Software as Property: The Theoretical Paradox

SOFTWARE: no other word so thoroughly connotes the practical and social effects of the digital revolution. Originally, the term was purely technical, and denoted the parts of a computer system that, unlike ``hardware,'' which was unchangeably manufactured in system electronics, could be altered freely. The first software amounted to the plug configuration of cables or switches on the outside panels of an electronic device, but as soon as linguistic means of altering computer behavior had been developed, ``software'' mostly denoted the expressions in more or less human-readable language that both described and controlled machine behavior.1