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07.12.08

FSF on How the ACTA Harms Free Software

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FSF, Patents at 4:03 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Know thy enemy

We seem to have lost sight of our focus recently because we commented on news pertaining to copyrights. However, it has plenty to do with Free software too.

For background, see the following recent stories of relevance:

We also wrote about/alluded to the ACTA in [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10].

The FSF has just launched a campaign against this Orwellian ACTA. It breaks down the problem:

ACTA threatens free software

1. It makes it more difficult to distribute free software: Without file sharing and P2P technologies like BitTorrent, distributing large amounts of free software becomes much harder, and more expensive. BitTorrent is a grassroots protocol that allows everyone to contribute to legally distributing free software.
2. It will make it harder for users of free operating systems to play media: Consumers will no longer be able to buy media without DRM — and DRMed media cannot be played with free software.
3. It increases the chances of getting your devices taken away: Portable media players that support free formats are less common than devices which support DRM, such as the iPod. Will this make them suspicious to border guards?
4. It creates a culture of surveillance and suspicion, in which the freedom that is required to produce free software is seen as dangerous and threatening rather than creative, innovative, and exciting.

The British press is already picking up the news.

The Guardian: The right to peer inside your iPod

An agreement on intellectual property rights to be ratified by the G8 heads of government highlights conflicts between ownership and privacy

The Register: Gadgets safe from global airport anti-piracy plan

Alarming headlines claiming that our laptop hard drives and iPod libraries could soon be scanned at airports for illegal copies of content are unfounded.

Several recent reports, including one by the Daily Telegraph, claim that the governments of the G8 nations are considering an anti-piracy plan that would see customs officials granted the power to examine travellers’ gadgets for digital contraband.

This is somewhat related to our focus on software patent deals. It’s another new form of intellectual monopoly rights that combat our human rights and freedom. It’s about suppression of a new market status and prevention of market diversity, which is bad news to existing monopolists.

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A Single Comment

  1. Jaime said,

    July 12, 2008 at 5:09 am

    Gravatar

    In my opinion, it all boils down to the fact that the only way for the recording companies et al to survive the new digital era, is by taking away the people’s rights.

    The real problem is that they have tons of money to spend and that politicians are so easily bribed, they no longer rule for people but for corporations.

    It’s that easy. We aren’t facing many new individual laws and ACTAs and stuff; we are facing corporations’ vs people’s rights.

    Name it The Matrix or The Orwell Thing.

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