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freedom of speech in software

/. alerted me of a great essay (archived) written by Phil Salin on why software is protected free speech and should not be regulated by . So yes, you must read it.

I agree with this whole heartedly. For quite some time I have always compared the act of programming to be more similar to an author crafting a novel than to some sort of act of engineering. In fact, this is my reasoning for why I didn't take to any of my classes at University and eventually flunked out. They tried to teach computer programming to me as if it was an engineering discipline and I just wasn't having any of it. I have been programming since I was ten and I have always felt (even if I didn't know it at the time) that it was a form of expression. As soon as I had completed any piece of code, I would immediately run off to grab whoever I could find to show it to them. I took great pride in having created something myself. The same pride I would have felt had I painted a picture, written a story, or composed some music.

I don't think anyone would disagree that computer and video games are a form of art and expression. Perhaps not something you would hang on the wall at The Art Institute of Chicago, but they are certainly expressive, have plots, tell you a story, and can be quite beautiful at doing so. Simply because it requires a computer to make it "go" shouldn't make it any different from a movie that requires a projector or a DVD player. After all, a DVD player is nothing more than a specialized computer that reads a certain type of software program off of a disc.