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Windows 7: When using open source makes you an enemy of the state

22 Mar 2010   #1
RST101

Windows 7 Ultimate x64.
 
 
When using open source makes you an enemy of the state

From the guardian(uk news paper)

The US copyright lobby has long argued against open source software - now Indonesia's in the firing line for encouraging the idea in government departments.

It's only Tuesday and already it's been an interesting week for the world of digital rights. Not only did the British government changed the wording around its controversial 'three strikes' proposals, but the secretive anti-counterfeiting treaty, Acta, was back in the headlines. Meanwhile, a US judge is still deliberating over the Google book settlement.

As if all that wasn't enough, here's another brick to add to the teetering tower of news, courtesy of Andres Guadamuz, a lecturer in law at the University of Edinburgh.

Guadamuz has done some digging and discovered that an influential lobby group is asking the US government to basically consider open source as the equivalent of piracy - or even worse.

What?

It turns out that the International Intellectual Property Alliance, an umbrella group for organisations including the MPAA and RIAA, has requested with the US Trade Representative to consider countries like Indonesia, Brazil and India for its "Special 301 watchlist" because they use open source software.

What's Special 301? It's a report that examines the "adequacy and effectiveness of intellectual property rights" around the planet - effectively the list of countries that the US government considers enemies of capitalism. It often gets wheeled out as a form of trading pressure - often around pharmaceuticals and counterfeited goods - to try and force governments to change their behaviours.

Now, even could argue that it's no surprise that the USTR - which is intended to encourage free market capitalism - wouldn't like free software, but really it's not quite so straightforward.

I know open source has a tendency to be linked to socialist ideals, but I also think it's an example of the free market in action. When companies can't compete with huge, crushing competitors, they route around it and find another way to reduce costs and compete. Most FOSS isn't state-owned: it just takes price elasticity to its logical conclusion and uses free as a stick to beat its competitors with (would you ever accuse Google, which gives its main product away for free, of being anti-capitalist?).

Still, in countries where the government has legislated the adoption of FOSS, the position makes some sense because it hurts businesses like Microsoft. But that's not the end of it.

No, the really interesting thing that Guadamuz found was that governments don't even need to pass legislation. Even a recommendation can be enough.

Example: last year the Indonesian government sent around a circular to all government departments and state-owned businesses, pushing them towards open source. This, says the IIPA, "encourages government agencies to use "FOSS" (Free Open Source Software) with a view toward implementation by the end of 2011, which the Circular states will result in the use of legitimate open source and FOSS software and a reduction in overall costs of software".

Nothing wrong with that, right? After all, the British government has said it will boost the use of open source software.

But the IIPA suggested that Indonesia deserves Special 301 status because encouraging (not forcing) such takeup "weakens the software industry" and "fails to build respect for intellectual property rights".

From the recommendation:

"The Indonesian government's policy... simply weakens the software industry and undermines its long-term competitiveness by creating an artificial preference for companies offering open source software and related services, even as it denies many legitimate companies access to the government market.

Rather than fostering a system that will allow users to benefit from the best solution available in the market, irrespective of the development model, it encourages a mindset that does not give due consideration to the value to intellectual creations.

As such, it fails to build respect for intellectual property rights and also limits the ability of government or public-sector customers (e.g., State-owned enterprise) to choose the best solutions.

Let's forget that the statement ignores the fact that there are plenty of businesses built on the OSS model (RedHat, Wordpress, Canonical for starters). But beyond that, it seems astonishing to me that anyone should imply that simply recommending open source products - products that can be more easily tailored without infringing licensing rules - "undermines" anything.

In fact, IP enforcement is often even more strict in the open source community, and those who infringe licenses or fail to give appropriate credit are often pilloried.

If you're looking at this agog, you should be. It's ludicrous.


Article
My System SpecsSystem Spec
22 Mar 2010   #2
stormy13
Microsoft MVP

Win 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Quote:
It turns out that the International Intellectual Property Alliance, an umbrella group for organisations including the MPAA and RIAA
That pretty much sums up the whole thing, same old dinosaurs still trying to cling to their old ways.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
22 Mar 2010   #3
RST101

Windows 7 Ultimate x64.
 
 

But declaring open source software as a threat and putting other countries on a watch list because they advocate it is going beyond the joke now.

I've heard people saying "well if you don't want to buy it then there are free alternatives". Although this may be true it now appears to be on the agenda of these power crazy people and before we know it they will want free-ware banned(that's if they already don't).

Talk about wanting to stifle innovation, takes the **** mate.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.

22 Mar 2010   #4
Prisoner

Windows 8 Pro 64-bit
 
 

Well, I will be honest and say that I barely understood a lot of that...
So, if I understood right, they're wanting to ban all open source?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
22 Mar 2010   #5
nekkidtruth

Windows 7
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Prisoner View Post
Well, I will be honest and say that I barely understood a lot of that...
So, if I understood right, they're wanting to ban all open source?
Not just ban it, but throw the country on a watch list simply for suggesting it. This goes beyond ridiculous.

The mere mention of the RIAA/MPAA totally explains this utterly stupid idea. Why has the government not told them to go fly a kite already. The more they're allowed to exist in their current state, the more they alienate the people and the more idiotic they become. Please, disband already.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
22 Mar 2010   #6
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

Quote:
It's ludicrous
That sums it up. Fortunately there is a free world out there.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
22 Mar 2010   #7
bassfisher6522

Windows 7 Ultimate 64 bit
 
 

This amounts to Socialism of the WWW. If it didn't work in those countries that had Socialism what makes them think it would work for the WWW. Then just wait and see what happens to the black market and piracy if this does happen...no longer will it be a country that revolts but the world.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
22 Mar 2010   #8
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by bassfisher6522 View Post
This amounts to Socialism of the WWW. If it didn't work in those countries that had Socialism what makes them think it would work for the WWW. Then just wait and see what happens to the black market and piracy if this does happen...no longer will it be a country that revolts but the world.
I don't think we have to worry about this nuisance. There is no way to control that - especially not on the www. And the countries that are mentioned to be on "a list" can probably care less
My System SpecsSystem Spec
22 Mar 2010   #9
Lordbob75

Windows 7 Ultimate x64, Mint 9
 
 

WHAT!?!?!?!?!


You have GOT to be kidding me...

When will people pull their f***ing heads out of their fat asses and actually LOOK at the world?
It is people like this that corrupt governments, that ruin free trade, and will send the whole WORLD into a state of poverty. All for the sake of MONEY.
All for something that really means absolutely NOTHING.

This goes so far beyond stupid, far beyond greedy.
Will someone just shoot these people and be DONE with it?

~Lordbob
My System SpecsSystem Spec
22 Mar 2010   #10
FuturDreamz

Windows 8 Pro (32-bit)
 
 

I can see how this will end. Might as well arrest people in the middle of the night because they muttered "there has GOT to be a better alternative" under their breath when they thought that nobody was listening. Everybody would be in fear of their lives if they heard a song playing out of somebody's window.


Seriously. I could go on for hours on how capitalism has the capability to be as bad as we make out communism to be.







you may resume your regular broadcasting.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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