Policy and Political Advocacy

Overview


CLUE will identify the political issues of importance to its membership, and then work to advance its members' perspective to policy makers in both the private and public sectors as well as the news media. While identifying the appropriate people and organizations to which our message should be conveyed, we will work with our community to develop policy positions that are sound, factual, and relevant. We will effectively advance the interests of our membership while at the same time being prepared to debate and refute those interests and policies are counter to that of our membership.

Background


Linux, BSD, the GNU Project, KDE, Apache, and thousands of other projects have demonstrated that FOSS techniques can produce some of the highest-quality, most secure, and most innovative components of today's Information Technology (IT). The rise in popularity of FOSS has been described as a consumer movement, a campaign for developer freedom, or simply a better way to produce technology.

Our opponents, generally companies whose revenues and/or control over consumers of technology are threatened by the growth of FOSS, come from a variety of industries and interests. Amongst them are:


  1. Proprietary software vendors

  2. Corporate intermediaries in the distribution of creative works (book publishers, record labels, film producers, “patent trolls”, etc.)

  3. Legal interests who profit from a proliferation of complex laws and regulations related to “intellectual property”

  4. IT resellers and consultants who earn significant revenue from sales of proprietary software

  5. Rights agencies which advocate the punitive taxation of blank digital media

Unsuccessful in attempts to discredit or diminish its appeal on technical grounds, these opposing interests are taking the campaign against FOSS to the realm of politics and public policy. Well-funded and aggressive, lobbying efforts that would work against the interests of the FOSS community are well established. The heavy sponsorship by corporate intermediaries of Sam Bulte, the Liberal MP who drafted an anti-consumer update of the country's copyright laws, is simply one of the most overt examples of this attempted influence.

To date, “piracy” accusations from corporate intermediaries have served as justifications for their pressure campaign to implement laws which would seriously impede the development of certain kinds of FOSS techniques. Without any credible opposition, this agenda threatens to become public policy.

CLUE intends to provide balance to relevant issues, ensuring that the points of view of the FOSS community are provided in a professional manner to appropriate decision makers.

Related Activities


  • Defining the political and policy issues that are relevant to the FOSS community, soliciting all segments (end-users, developers, professionals and vendors)

  • Work with the academic community (and specifically research organizations such as CIPPIC and KMDI) to develop research on policies of interest to the community, to develop CLUE positions and recommendations

  • Determine the appropriate decision makers in both the public and private sectors

  • Build awareness of CLUE and its policy positions within the decision makers and news media

  • Take necessary steps to be registered as an advocacy body within the Canadian government (and elsewhere as appropriate)

  • Provide a capacity to react and respond to research and recommendations of interests which are hostile to the healthy growth of FOSS.

One-Year Goals


  • Media calls CLUE for reaction when content companies or proprietary software vendors make assertions about or affecting CLUE's community.

  • Governments, conference organizers and other organizations actively invite CLUE participation in policy debates, expert presentations, and hearings