Friday, 26 February 2010 03:10

FOSS equals piracy. Or so they say

An American lobby group has asked the US trade representative to put countries like India, Brazil and Indonesia on a special watchlist simply because these three countries encourage the use of open source software.

The International Intellectual Property Alliance includes in its portals organisations like the Business Software Alliance, the MPAA and the RIAA. The watchlist it referred to is called Special 301; it is a report that monitors the "adequacy and effectiveness of intellectual property rights".

The group's bizarre demand was reported by the British newspaper, The Guardian, which attributed the information to some investigations carried out by Andres Guadamuz, a law lecturer at the University of Edinburgh.

The IIPA maintains detailed dossiers about countries on which it has contributed public comments to different US agencies. It has been in business since 1984.

There are no recommendations about putting Australia on any watchlist. However, as former iTWire journo Hamish Taylor pointed out on one of the Linux Users of Victoria mailing lists yesterday, the Australian government should probably be on this list as it has recommended the evaluation of free and open source software.

The open source policy survey conducted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies keeps a track of "governmental policies on the use of open source software as reported in the press or other media."

Citing this survey, another poster to the same mailing list, Erik Christiansen, noted that in 2007, Israel and Norway had effected the induction of some free software while Malaysia and Japan had encouraged switching. Singapore had offered tax breaks for switching to GNU/Linux.
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Sam Varghese

Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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