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The protests in the USA over SOPA seem to have got the attention of the US politicians. While I don't think the war against these harmful job-killing legislative proposals are over, it is good to see a few won battles. Canadians federal MPs are returning to the House of Commons on January 30'th, and it is expected that Bill C-11 will go to committee soon. We need to ensure that Canadian MPs don't remain oblivious to the harm contained in these proposals, including the harm to Canadian creators. While there are various avenues to voice our opposition, petition signing may be the most effective for the time spent.
According to Google's archive of gnu.misc.discuss, 1992 was the year I became active in the Free Software movement. While the earliest posting I can find appears to be a naive copyright question about the public domain, other messages from the first few months of 1992 suggest I was already engaged in some of the discussions. With the new year approaching, I wanted to offer some thoughts on one of the conversations that has been constant the last 20 years. I then invite you to offer your own thoughts in CLUE's discuss@ mailing list.
I received a reply from Heritage Minister James Moore dated December 2, 2011. I'm not certain which letter it was in reply to, but it could have been my Who is the Candice Hoeppner for information technology owners? letter I sent to all Conservative MP's back in May/June.
While I am posting the full text of his reply, I wanted to offer a quick response explaining why I think he is wrong on the impacts of the "technological protection measures" aspects of Bill C-11. (See: earlier article for a description of real-world technologies being discussed)
Nestor E. Arellano included an interview with me as policy coordinator for CLUE in his coverage of the patent case between Toronto's i4i and Microsoft.
“It would be very easy for me to wave the open source banner and yell ‘down with Microsoft’ or wrap myself in the Canadian flag and cheer 'yeah for i4i.' But it’s far better to support what’s right than be concerned with who or the brands that are involved,”
If you are itching to discuss technology issues as part of the 2011 federal election, please head over to the Digital Copyright Canada site, hosted by CLUE's policy coordinator. There are per-electoral district blogs where you may find out something interesting happening in your area. Please sign up and have your say!
For New Years eve I thought I would be useful to visit our Copyright-related Policy summary in the context of events in 2010. After a summary I will offer some suggestions of what people should do in the coming year to protect our rights and interests.
The Conservative government tabled a copyright Bill C-32 on June 2 which was debated and then passed at second reading on November 5'th. It was sent to a special legislative committee that held 8 meetings before parliament was adjourned until Monday, January 31, 2011. Being passed at second reading doesn't make it law, and there are many more stages for this bill to follow.
I would like to clarify quotes in two recent CBC articles by Peter Nowak: Copyright bill may spark battle over who owns what and Apple iPad hits Canada amid controversy.
In each it is suggested that I believe that the iPad should be illegal. What I said should be illegal is the application of non-owner locks to technology. I am not concerned with Apples technology, only radical changes to the law that legalize and/or legally protect a form of theft.
FLOSS offers many benefits over software that has a sole proprietor and is funded by royalties. Examples of sole proprietor software are packages such as Microsoft Office where there is a single entity which either owns or is relicensing the exclusive rights on the software, and thus is the sole entity which can provide many levels of software support.
While I recommend against this, it is possible to use FLOSS and yet receive none of the benefits beyond lower ($0) royalty payments. Government departments seem to do this all the time, not wanting to accept the advantages of FLOSS (misinterpreting software acquisition policy? Ideologically predisposed to sole proprietor software? Offer your thoughts in the comments...).
The two most common ways to avoid the benefits of FLOSS can be summarized by two acronyms: COTS and DIY.
>> Read full article on IT World Canada's blog
Ben Zhao has announced the release of CDlinux 0.9.1, a minimalist live CD with Xfce and support for several languages: "CDlinux 0.9.1 was released today. This is a yet another big leap towards CDlinux 1.0, integrating many new features and enhancements, including: a new GUI installation and upgrade wizard; rewrite the 'persistent mode' code and save persistent data as Squashfs; replace Fcitx with SCIM to support input method for more locales; add full support for German, French, Japanese and Russian; add support for 'Safe Graphics Mode' in case native X.Org driver fails; determine better whether to run in RAM or loop mode; some fine-tuning to improve performance on machines with low memory; many package upgrades, including Linux kernel 188.8.131.52, Firefox 3.0.6, Ghostscript 8.64, GIMP 2.6.4, JRE 6u12, Wine 1.1.14." Read the release announcement and release notes for more details. Download the "Community" or the "Standard" edition from here: CDlinux_CE-0.9.1.iso (203MB, MD5), CDlinux-0.9.1.iso.gz (68.5MB, MD5).
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