Posted on March 12, 2010 by Simon Phipps
§ Software freedom has a posse – in Washington DC, at least.
You’ll recall I posted a long analysis of the sick position the IIPA took urging the US Trade Representative (USTR) to discriminate against countries around the world if they have a preference for software freedom. That analysis become an input for the excellent position statement, written collaboratively by the OSI Board and posted by OSI President Michael Tiemann, calling for action by national groups.
I hear today that this has indeed resulted in positive action in Washington DC. Campaigning group Open Source for America issued a press statement yesterday, and wrote a two page position statement that they submitted to USTR. I gather they also met personally with a USTR representative to assert the position on behalf of America’s open source communities. I’m pretty sure this is the first time open source has been actively represented in Washington – about time!
This is an excellent development – kudos to the team that made it happen. We formed OSfA so that software freedom would have a political posse in Washington DC, and this first outing has shown that was the right move.
Filed under: Issues, OSfA | Tagged: IIPA, Open Source, OSFA, OSI, Politics, Special 301, USA, USTR | 1 Comment »
Posted on March 12, 2010 by Simon Phipps
Responding to the request for action, Open Source for America has published a strong refutation of the position IIPA has taken on open source. “Open Source for America (OSFA) believes the IIPA’s request to be both irresponsible and misleading in its characterization of OSS. OSFA strongly urges the USTR, and all government agencies, to firmly reject such unfounded pressure to blacklist or penalize any country for policies allowing or encouraging the use of OSS.”
We desperately need some well-funded lobbyists who are working for, rather than against citizen rights and digital liberty like the shameless, customer-hating BPI. ORG is making a reasonable try but they are no EFF. Freedom needs a posse.
Nothing very radical here, apart from the appearance of ™ on the logo and the appendage of Oracle ownership of that mark.
“A remarkable example is the London Underground mosquito. It is believed to have evolved from an above-ground species which moved into tunnels being excavated to construct the London underground rail system in the 1850s.”
Filed under: Links | Tagged: Brand, Digital Economy Bill, Evolution, IIPA, Marketing, Open Source, OpenOffice.org, OSFA, Science | Comments Off on ☞ Lobbying, Marketing and Evolution
Posted on March 5, 2010 by Simon Phipps
Official statement from OSI denouncing the IIPA’s warped view of the world that says developing nations should not be mandating open source while the US states and federal agencies get right along with the same thing. Very welcome statement that I know we’ll see Open Source For America reacting to – I hope other countries will also flag the issue with their US diplomatic contacts.
Excellent paper from the EFF provides us with the lessons of history as the UK considers implementing similar bad legislation. It’s not so much the primary objectives of the law that are the problem (although those are pretty obnoxious). It’s the fact that, through careless drafting (or rather drafting with the assistance of the wrong lobbyists), a whole range of loopholes are created which lead to unintended consequences like censorship, anticompetitive litigation and early monopolisation. This really is a document I want my representatives to read.
“Imagine that, in the Summer of last year, you had been following the MP’s expenses scandal and heard that The Telegraph was publishing a rather less redacted version that MP’s were prepared to give us. Interested, you navigated your way to http://www.telegraph.co.uk
only to find it was not responding. After some searching around and asking friends you discover that the website has been blocked by most major UK ISP’s. It seems a junior official in Parliament had asked them to block The Telegraph for copyright violation.”
Wading into the “Special 301 list” debate I explored at great length last weekend, this posting introduces the great analogy of asking if the same complaints would apply if they related to an own vs rent model on cars instead of software: “But one argument that doesn’t make sense is to say that government would be ‘distorting the market’ if it decided to buy cars rather than leasing them.”
If you’re a Carly Simon fan then this free track is a great gift from Amazon, assuming you have a US account with them.
Filed under: Links | Tagged: Digital Economy Bill, DMCA, IIPA, Open Source, OSI | 3 Comments »
Posted on February 28, 2010 by Simon Phipps
§ A recent blog posting at The Guardian about the US “Special 301” rules has generated deep concern around the global open source community. It points (via a blog posting by Edinburgh University law lecturer Andres Guadamuz) to this year’s recommendations from the controversially-named International Intellectual Property Alliance, which describes itself as “a private sector coalition… of trade associations representing U.S. copyright-based industries” – namely
“the Association of American Publishers (AAP), the Business Software Alliance (BSA), the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), the Independent Film & Television Alliance (IFTA), the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), the National Music Publishers’ Association (NMPA) and the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA)”.
As well as representing a group of organisations with dreadful reputations for disregarding citizen liberty and victimising customers, the organisation’s activities involve engagement with WIPO, activity over TRIPS and ACTA and this “Special 301” review. That is certainly enough to make each of their statements subject to scrutiny. IIPA provides a vehicle that allows companies who are members of its member organisations – that’s a double-opaque arrangement – to exercise influence without accountability and with deniability. Continue reading
Filed under: Issues, Open Source | Tagged: BSA, FOSS, IIPA, Open Source, Special 301, Trade, USA | 3 Comments »