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Best things in life should be free

weekly roundup The best things in life aren't always free, but shouldn't they? When I met up with free software advocate Richard Stallman a couple of years back, he discussed the need for everyone to have "a minimum freedom" to consume "any kind of written or artistic work" including encyclopedias, music and art.
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Written by Eileen Yu, Contributor on

weekly roundup The best things in life aren't always free, but shouldn't they? When I met up with free software advocate Richard Stallman a couple of years back, he discussed the need for everyone to have "a minimum freedom" to consume "any kind of written or artistic work" including encyclopedias, music and art.

I suppose he would be delighted with Google's bid to put the world's library of books, or at least some of it, on the Web and downloadable for free. Google Book Search is a colossal undertaking, but it's a project that's been a long time coming.

I'm a firm believer of making anything that's already available in the public domain freely accessible to the public, and to anyone who wants it.

So, what else do I think should be made free to access? Apart from artworks, textbooks, manual/reference books and maps (already available on Google), I strongly believe that music and TV programs that already broadcast for free over the radio and television should be made available to consumers.

Honestly, why should anyone be made to pay for a DVD of the latest episode from Lost or an audio CD of Christina Aguilera's latest single when it has already aired on TV or radio? Much less so when I've already paid for my TV and radio licenses. On that note, shouldn't newspapers be free, too, since I can probably get the same news on the Internet? And now that there's wireless access available for no charge in some public places today, shouldn't there be free basic Internet access to homes as well?

What else do you think should be made free for public access?

While you sleep on that, check out these news headlines from this week and find out what's Sun Microsystems' latest investment in Asia. Also, read why laptops should go for a 'tough' makeover and why the word "unbreakable" might pop up again at this year's RSA security conference.

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