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The Pointrel Foundation

Mission: To help people understand nature, technology, and society.

Approach: Develop free software and free content, as well as networks of free digital libraries to house such free knowledge.

Possible projects:
Why does the Pointrel Foundation really exist?

Essentially, the Pointrel Foundation exists to minimize personal liability for one or more people working on free content and software, an unfortunate neccessity in an era of increasing litigation and attempts to privatize knowledge and enclose the public domain. The Pointrel Foundation is essentially a "private operating foundation" that directly develops new digital public works. The Pointrel Foundation does not make grants. However, the Pointrel Foundation is willing to collaborate on free software, free content, and free digital library projects; if you wish to propose a collaboration, feel free to contact us at pdfernhout at kurtz-fernhout.com.

Statement of Principles

We feel that charging for the use of software or content is not a sustainable path in the long term. Consider that according to Moore's law, in 20 years all CDs and DVDs now in production would fit on a cheap personal computer hard disk. In the Internet Age of ever cheaper storage and ever cheaper transmission of perfect copies, the only way to enforce such content monopolies is by stronger police powers. Our laws have been heading that way all too much lately with the Sony Bono Copyright Extension Act, the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA), and other more recent draconian proposals, where in the end you would do more prison time for sharing than murder. A healthy society cannot function that way for the long term. We hope, if all turns out well in the end, that the software and content industries will become more like law and medicine, where skilled practitioners provide individualized services using public domain knowledge applied to specific situations. (See for example the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Free Software Foundation for more information on these issues.)

We live in a world potentially in transition from an age of perceived scarcity to an age of perceived material abundance. (See James P. Hogan's novel Voyage from Yesteryear for more on this.) We hope to help make that happen in a peaceful way.

More to come...

Legal note: This foundation is not yet a legal entity; we are in the process of incorporating it.