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Expect to see a lot of Graham Henderson misinformation (lies? Maybe he doesn't understand technology enough to know better) about DRM, and the false claim that there is a need to attack the tangible property rights of Canadians in order to protect the business models of specific copyright holders.
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.
This October 30th, 2006 issue of the Hill Times includes 3 letters to the editor in response to Canadian Recording Industry Association lobbyist Barry Sookman's opinion piece titled "Copyright reform: let the light shine in". The last of these letters is from me, and ends by noting that "The letter-writer is policy coordinator for Canada's Association for Open Source".
CLUE supporters might ask what Telecommunications Policy has to do with Free/Libre and Open Source Software (FLOSS), and why I would be at the Alternative Telecommunications Policy Forum. My interest in FLOSS came out of my interest in community networking where networks and the software that controls them are decentrally controlled. It turns out that many of the recent and most controversial "copyright" related policies that threaten FLOSS, such as anti-circumvention policy (legal protection for DRM, DMCA, 1996 WIPO treaties), is also a derivative of telecommunications policy discussions, but with the opposite vision of these networks.
On October 12, 2006, the Supreme Court of Canada released a decision in a case first launched in 1996 by Heather Robertson, a freelance journalist, and Thompson Corporation, the then-owner of the Globe and Mail. (Citation: Robertson v. Thomson Corp., 2006 SCC 43)
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