Open source "weakens the software industry and undermines its long-term competitiveness" says lobby group

Open source "weakens the software industry and undermines its long-term competitiveness" says lobby group

Summary: Most people think of open source software as a good thing. If nothing else, it's an option available for those who don't have the resources available to take the commercial route. But there are elements who believe that open source is a bad thing. A very bad thing ... for big business.

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Most people think of open source software as a good thing. If nothing else, it's an option available for those who don't have the resources available to take the commercial route. But there are elements who believe that open source is a bad thing. A very bad thing ... for big business.

Andres Guadamuz, a lecturer in law at the University of Edinburgh in the UK, has carried out an investigation and discovered that a very influential lobby group is asking the US government to look at open source as being worse than piracy.

The lobby group in question is the  International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA), a group of organizations that includes the MPAA and RIAA. The IIPA has asked the US Trade Representative to consider countries such as Indonesia, Brazil and India for inclusion on the "Special 301 watchlist" because they use open source software.

Now, so what is the "Special 301 watchlist"? This is a report that examines the "adequacy and effectiveness of intellectual property rights" around the globe. In other words, a list of countries that the government considers "enemies of capitalism."

Scary stuff. But it gets scarier.

The IIPA should be included on the Indonesia deserves inclusion on the "Special 301 watchlist" because the government encourages the use of open source. Here is an extract from the recommendation:

The Indonesian government's policy... simply weakens the software industry and undermines its long-term competitiveness by creating an artificial preference for companies offering open source software and related services, even as it denies many legitimate companies access to the government market.

Rather than fostering a system that will allow users to benefit from the best solution available in the market, irrespective of the development model, it encourages a mindset that does not give due consideration to the value to intellectual creations.

As such, it fails to build respect for intellectual property rights and also limits the ability of government or public-sector customers (e.g., State-owned enterprise) to choose the best solutions.

Think this is unlikely. Think again! The IIPA managed to get Canada put on the watchlist.

(via Guardian)

Topics: IT Employment, CXO, Enterprise Software, Government, Government US, Legal, Open Source, Software

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70 comments
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  • must be a memo from ballmer

    I can't see a sane person claiming that OSS undermines IP.
    Linux Geek
    • Someone should BOIL Gates in OIL!

      I am NOT kidding! Two pieces of genuine retardation in two days! I CANNOT TAKE IT!!! SOMEBODY <i>DO</i> SOMETHING! AAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRGGGHHH!!!!! (has an anneurism and falls on the floor.)
      Subsentient
    • That's right...

      When you use FOSS, you're downloading COMMUNISM.

      /S
      vikingnyc@...
      • Re; When you use FOSS, you're downloading COMMUNISM.

        And when you go strongly against it [b]"YOU are supporting FASCISM !"[/b]

        Just to do the balance !
        hkommedal
  • Completely retarded.

    Thats the most idiotic thing I have ever heard. Absolute nonsense. So now there are organizations that are against people creating something of their own and sharing it with others.

    Its beyond madness. I hope they have fun trying to change 200,000 years of human nature.
    Cayble
    • Absolutely

      It is incredibly disingenuous to equate open source software with piracy of digital content. It makes as much sense as characterising charities as thieves.

      It is the height of hypocrisy for a company living in a democracy to suggest taking retaliatory trade action against sovereign government that exercises its right to set conditions on the products it purchases. It is the antithesis of democratic freedom, the very same freedom that allows the IIPA to exist at all.

      Sorry to burst the IIPA's bubble, but open source is a [b]licencing[/b] model, not a development model. And lastly, developers can, and do, charge for open source products - open source is not a pricing model either.
      Fred Fredrickson
    • This just in: giving tomatoes to your neighbors is anti-competitive.

      Home gardeners are undermining our national agricultural system. By giving extra tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, and especially corn to their friends and neighbors, they directly and unfairly compete with our established national agricultural producers and retail grocery distribution chains. Except for zucchini; I always wind up with too damn much of it and can't even give it away.
      CharlieSpencer
      • Creating new markets for new products

        If you end up with too much zucchini, you might go out and by my A Thousand and One Ways to Prepare Zucchini. Is there a metaphor for that in the Open Source world? Because of this open source software, there is now a market for something else that contributes to the economic well-being of a nation or a people?

        Seriously interested,

        Laura
        lauralarimer
        • Economic Well-being

          Laura,

          Five years ago, I was helping to promote open
          source software in Thailand, a country which has
          a 95+% piracy rate. The government saw open
          source as a way to help create an IT industry of
          its own instead of
          a) Pirating and being condemned by the west, or
          b) Paying for all these licenses and sending out
          a large amount of badly needed money to the
          west.

          Unfortunately, education and training in
          Thailand are not too good, either, so teaching
          people to use a platform that didn't have the
          kind of popular support that Windows has was a
          stumbling block. In the end, MS came in and
          offered to legitimize all the government's
          pirated copies of Windows in exchange for an
          agreement to drop support for open source. That
          solved both parties' short-term problems.

          To more directly answer your question about new
          markets, open source allows a country to become
          self-sufficient easily. It allows people in that
          country to develop localized IT services without
          creating more exports. It especially allows
          nations with multiple languages and diverse
          ethnic groups to use software that serves all
          those people in their own languages without
          having to lobby for MS or Apple to add support
          for minor, unprofitable languages.

          In the U.S., open source doesn't seem like such
          a big deal: in developing countries, there's
          much more to be excited about.
          daengbo
      • I run into that problem all the time.

        Can't leave your car unlocked in the parking lot without running the risk of discovering an armload of zuccini in the back or passenger seat when you come back.

        You do realize that Al Qaeda would have the perfect terrorist weapon if they discovered how to hollow out summer squash and insert explosives inside?
        Dr_Zinj
    • greed.....

      pure and simple, this is the downfall of humankind... the reason behind wars, greed.....
      Homeyjo
    • Did you not know ?

      We all [b] owe our souls to the company store ![/b]
      hkommedal
  • While I think

    [i]Most[/i] OSS software is a wanna be also-ran product for people looking for a cheap product that will at least get them by, some of it is very useful. But seeing as how the MPAA and RIAA is behind this... This is asking for trouble. Scary.
    The one and only, Cylon Centurion
    • Hey how is your Linux Mint File Server doing?

      Your recent comment on "The end of Linux distrohopping":

      http://talkback.zdnet.com/5208-12554-0.html?forumID=1&threadID=75421&messageID=1465963

      [b]"Mint/Fedora:
      Are mine.

      I currently have Mint set up as a file server. I only dabbled with Fedora cus it was what we used in my CNT classes. "[/b]

      Juxtaposed to your comment:

      [b]"Most OSS software is a wanna be also-ran product for people looking for a cheap product that will at least get them by, some of it is very useful."[/b]

      Makes it seem that you are quite 'conflicted' or just up to your usual shilling.

      What was the value proposition for installing Linux Mint?
      D.T.Schmitz
      • HEY ! He had a VALID point ! (nt)

        nt
        hkommedal
  • Open source . . .

    Open source has its good and its bad.

    But is its bad so bad that you need to consider people and countries that use it to be "enemies of capitalism?"

    Definitely not. That's being pretty extreme about it.
    CobraA1
    • Re; That's being pretty extreme about it.

      [b] Fascism[/b] is [b]always[/b] extreme !
      hkommedal
  • RE: Open source

    Spilt milk!

    For decades people constantly complained about the poor quality of
    software from the world's largest software company. The quality sucked
    because they owned the market. I'd even go so far as to say that the
    growth of the open source movement is largely a tribute to "Big M." Now
    that open source is successful the proprietary software guys are calling
    foul.

    So sad.
    eric_marsh
    • The big what?

      [i]For decades people constantly complained about the poor quality of software from the world's largest software company. The quality sucked because they owned the market. I'd even go so far as to say that the growth of the open source movement is largely a tribute to "Big M."[/i]

      Looking at the history, all: Unix, FSF and Linux began before the "Big M." had had a chance at a commercial success. NT 3.1 was released 2 years after Linux had started. Windows 95 - four years later.

      1969 - [b]Unix[/b]
      1975 - Microsoft founded (April 4)
      1981 - DOS
      1984 - [b]Macintosh[/b] (January 24)
      1985 - [b]FSF[/b] (Oct 4)
      1985 - Windows 1.0 (Nov 20)
      1987 - [b]MINIX 1.0[/b]
      1987 - Windows 2.0 (Dec 9)
      1990 - Windows 3.0 (May 22)
      1991 - [b]Linux[/b] announced (Aug 25)
      1993 - Windows NT 3.1 (July)
      1994 - [b]Red Hat[/b] Linux
      1994 - Windows NT 3.5 (Sep 21)
      1995 - [b]Java[/b]
      1995 - Windows 95 (Aug 24)
      1996 - Windows 4.0 (Aug 24)
      1996 - [b]Linux 2.0[/b]
      1998 - [b]KDE[/b]
      1999 - [b]GNOME[/b]
      2000 - Windows 2000 (Feb 17)
      2001 - Windows XP
      2001 - [b]Eclipse[/b]
      2002 - [b]Apache 2[/b] (Apr 6)
      2003 - Windows Server 2003 (Apr 25)
      2003 - [b]Eclipse 3.0[/b] (Jun 21)
      2004 - Windows XP SP2 (Aug)
      2004 - [b]Ubuntu[/b] (Oct 20)
      2005 - MINIX 3
      2006 - Windows Vista (Nov 30)
      2008 - Windows Server 2008 (Feb 27)
      2009 - Windows 7 (Oct 22)

      BTW, I by no means endorse discrimination of whole countries based on what they choose. However if you read the second paragraph of Adrian's citation from the TFA, the complaint seems to be about the failure to [i]"... foster(ing) a system that will allow users to benefit from the best solution available in the market, irrespective of the development model, ..."[/i].

      Bad wording of the rest though. Additionally, the intent may become more apparent if "software" was replaced with "genetically modified seeds". It would be awful to discriminate those who don't give due consideration to GM food because they value their own independence.
      Earthling2
  • RE: Open source

    The IIPA seems to be lumping OSS and FOSS together. FOSS might be construed as being based on a sort of pre-capitalist barter system, and does indeed exert pressure on vendors using a purely capitalist model for software sales (even though services can still be charged for).

    On the other hand, consider the cost to worldwide business of the pre-eminent example of closed source; namely, MS Windows (add IE and a few other MS products if you like). The closed nature of this source code limits peer oversight and thereby provides an ideal environment for hatching exploits, and furthermore retards the process of detecting and correcting them. And the resulting cost is incalculable.
    FeralUrchin