10.07.10

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Please Tell the Open Web Foundation That It Is Not Compatible With Software Freedom

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GPL, Microsoft, RAND at 3:27 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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Summary: The Open Web Foundation, which is co-chaired by Lawrence Rosen and Microsoft’s David Rudin, puts out a draft which is not compatible with GPL-licensed software

“Submit your remarks about the usage of RAND term at Open Web Foundation,” says the FFII regarding this draft from the Open Web Foundation. The deadline is today (still some hours left in the US). The draft in the page says “royalty free license to my Granted Claims on reasonable and non-discriminatory terms” (RAND is not compatible with the GPL).

“Someone should propose a patch to remove the “reasonable and non-discriminatory terms” because it is an undefined term,” argues the FFII.

The Open Web Foundation Legal Committee Co-Chairs are Lawrence Rosen (lrosen@rosenlaw.com) and David Rudin (davidrud@microsoft.com). Do not let them make the Web less compatible with software freedom. Microsoft (and its lobbyists) loves RAND because it’s GNU/Linux Kryptonite. Be sure to check out this new article about Microsoft front group ACT lobbying for RAND by infiltrating EU panels:

The web site specializes in publishing secret reports and leaked documents on religious, corporate or governmental, Wikileaks has posted a file showing a plan to curb the free software in Europe.

This file shows that Jonathan Zuck, president of Association for Competitive Technology (ACT) –an organization with close ties to Microsoft–, and founder of Americans for Technology Leadership, had influenced the change of working documents of the European Union.

That lobbies to exert pressure against the government institutions under their interests no doubt, and this document published by Wikileaks is clearly demonstrated.

The document in question is a work project developed by experts from the European Commission. This document has been modified by the ACT and Comptia organizations that have been percolating in several working groups.

These two associations are doing everything in their power to try to stifle free software strategy of the European Union, and helping Europe to create a successful proprietary software sector.

This publication shows how pressure groups influence or attempt to influence the decisions made by the European institutions, but in this case is particularly striking one of these groups trying to influence against free software (ACT) has close ties Microsoft, the largest seller of proprietary software in the world.

The FFII’s president summarises the above by quoting:

RT @marcopolom #Wikileaks publishes documents that show a plan to curb the free software in the European Union. http://trunc.it/bpkf0

We covered this story last year in some of the posts below. For some unknown reason it’s back to the headlines this month.

  1. European Open Source Software Workgroup a Total Scam: Hijacked and Subverted by Microsoft et al
  2. Microsoft’s AstroTurfing, Twitter, Waggener Edstrom, and Jonathan Zuck
  3. Does the European Commission Harbour a Destruction of Free/Open Source Software Workgroup?
  4. The Illusion of Transparency at the European Parliament/Commission (on Microsoft)
  5. 2 Months and No Disclosure from the European Parliament
  6. After 3 Months, Europe Lets Microsoft-Influenced EU Panel be Seen
  7. Formal Complaint Against European Commission for Harbouring Microsoft Lobbyists
  8. ‘European’ Software Strategy Published, Written by Lobbyists and Multinationals
  9. Microsoft Uses Inside Influence to Grab Control, Redefine “Open Source”
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3 Comments

  1. Lawrence Rosen said,

    October 8, 2010 at 1:20 pm

    Gravatar

    Your comments on the Open Web Foundation CLA and OWFa 1.0 were received in time for consideration by the OWF Legal Drafting Committee. We’ll consider them formally at our next committee meeting.

    I would like to respond personally, though, to your comments. I suggest you read the agreements more carefully. We do not *recommend* RAND but merely *allow* it for any company or organization that still insists upon a RAND license instead of the copyright grant and patent non-assert in the CLA and OWFa.

    We discussed this thoroughly in our committee during the drafting process. While none of us supported turning the CLA or OWFa into an actual RAND agreement, we were aware that some older and perhaps less FOSS-sensitive formal standards organizations still require RAND contributions. Our agreements make RAND available for them if they insist upon it. Everyone else, including the entire GPL community, can rely on the promises in the CLA and OWFa themselves, which go well beyond RAND!

    By the way, the formal term used in our agreements is RAND-Z, not just RAND. For those old-fashioned organizations that still insist on RAND, they are also comforted by the fact that the RAND license — if they request it — will be at zero price.

    Please don’t assume, simply because our CLA and OWFa accommodated the needs of RAND-based organizations, that any of us on the committee or the Open Web Foundation board actually supports RAND licensing.

    /Larry Rosen

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Dear Lawrence Rosen,

    Thanks for the quick response. It’s delightful to hear that you will ensure Free/libre software remains compatible in a landscape which has increasingly cast a shadow on cooperation, using “*RAND-*”-like terms. Some companies are big proponents of RAND as a deliberate measure against competition which commoditises communication. We know that Tim B-L is not just an opposer of patents on the Web but also a facilitator of collaboration, which RAND impedes by imposing financial barriers.

    twitter Reply:

    Thank you but it would be better not to allow “RAND” or restricted software requirements in any standard you put your name to, or even to use the term. Allowance is a form of endorsement and RAND is both deceptive and prejudiced. Any standard that contains patents or other restrictions can never be met with free software because the sharing of the software is under the arbitrary control of the patent holder. The term RAND hides this and those who use it pretend that it is OK for standards to be defacto owned by companies. Software patents are an unjust claim to business methods and ideas.

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