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As a demonstration of CLUE's involvement in issues beyond "Linux Users", I want to talk about some of the issues that Evan Leibovitch (past executive director) and I (as policy coordinator) are involved in.
Evan has been acting as chair of the North American Region At-Large Advisory Committee of ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers). Evan will hopefully be blogging about his involvement soon, and some of the issues that the advisory committee deals with. People may get a taste for the types of issues by listening to the This week in Law episode 13 from last month.
While I spoke at IT360 last week on the issue of Software Patents and Free/Libre and Open Source Software, recent interviews and blogging have been focused on the related issues of "Net Neutrality" and competitive access to telecommunications facilities. While these two issues are often lumped together or even confused for each other, I try to separate them in my articles.
I know it has been a while since I last posted but Anti-piracy ads on the radio have prompted me to say that there is no reason to use pirated software. We, meaning CLUE members and affiliates, use F/LOSS but I think that we do not do enough to get our message to the general public. As a result, Microsoft Office, one of MS's best money generators, it is also one of the most pirated suites.
The EMI DRM Announcement - EMI and Apple jointly announced today that EMI will be making virtually its entire music catalog available without DRM. Their plan is to offer a higher priced version without DRM and with higher quality sound. This is obviously an important development - there is lots of DRM-free music available from independent labels, but the addition of the world's third largest music label is a game-changer.
CLUE presented our copyright policy summary to officials at Heritage Canada on December 1, 2006. The proposals include a support for a living "Fair Use" model, as well as an opposition to laws which protect specific brands of technology rather than protecting creativity.
There are many reasons why people become interested in FLOSS. For some it is the cost of the software, and for others it is the simpler economics of using fixed-cost rather than marginal-cost based business models. When I was introduced to Free Software back in 1992 it was the way in which this community protected the interests the smallest entrepreneur from the largest business predators. I now see FLOSS in a much broader historical and international context.
One of the beauties of this movement is that you can have people with very different (and sometimes conflicting) political philosophies who are able to work together towards common goals. FLOSS is non-partisan, even when each of us might be participating for our own partisan reasons.
The most inspirational speaker on the perspective I share is Eben Moglen. As a law historian and professor he has a grasp on the historical context that our movement has. We are worldwide in the beginnings of something as important as the industrial revolution. The questions we ask in the Free Software movement, and how they are answered, will shape many aspects of our lives in the future. Free Software may not solve world hunger, but I happen to believe that the philosophies behind it are a big part of the solution.
To get a taste of this vision, please watch the inspirational keynote speech Mr. Moglen gave at the Plone conference in October 2006.
There is quite a bit of talk about the Microsoft-Novell deal, Oracle's support for RedHat Linux, Sun's release of Java as FLOSS using the GNU GPL, and many other Linux and Open Source stories. They got me to thinking: We don't know which strategies being carried out by various companies are likely to succeed in the marketplace, but we do know that whoever wins they can't help but be part of the Linux/FLOSS ecosystem.
According to This story, a confidential study for the Australian government has concluded that industry statistics concerning financial loss due to piracy are "unverified and epistemologically unreliable." The study by the Australian Institute of Criminology and leaked to the The Australian, a national newspaper owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp, was said to be in an "early draft" stage.
Given the accounts on this site about the approach of Canadian politicians educational officials towards open source in the classroom, it's interesting to see what's happening elsewhere. A recent announcement indicates that the Indian state of Kerala is expediting a move to completely replace MS-Windows with Linux in its 12,500 high schools, serving about 1.5 million students.
Education Ministers' Copyright Proposal Needs a Rewrite - As thousands of children across the province return to school tomorrow, nearly everyone will be asking "what did you do this summer?" If the question were posed to Education Minister Sandra Pupatello, her candid reply might be that she was working with her fellow Provincial Ministers of Education on reforms that will have damaging consequences on Internet use in Canada.
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