Then I strongly unconsidered it.
With marginal writing skills, I can never make it sound like anything more than chest-beating and fanatical hand-wringing. Besides...Look at the list of those who who make up the coalition of the IIPA:
(My thanks to Technolama for the source and excellent article)
- The Association of American Publishers (AAP)
- The Business Software Alliance (BSA)
- The Entertainment Software Association (ESA)
- The Independent Film & Television Alliance (IFTA)
- The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA)
- The National Music Publishers’ Association (NMPA)
- The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA)
So we'll simply point out the obvious here and hope for the best.
It took me a while to see what the fuss was about. Mostly I found a lot of bullying and strong-arming by the US, wielding the sword of trade agreements and WTO memberships concerning software and movie/music piracy..
Nothing new there...move along.
However I did find the language a bit disconcerting when it came to the IIPA's stance on putting Indonesia on the hit list. Here is said language as I found it peculiar:
“The government of Indonesia, under its Ministry of Administrative Reform (MenPAN), officially sent to all central and provincial government offices, including state-owned enterprises in Indonesia, Circular Letter No. 1 of 2009 issued on March 30, 2009, endorsing the use and adoption of open source software within government organizations. More specifically, the MenPAN letter, concerning the “Utilization of Legal Software and Open Source Software (OSS),” encourages government agencies to use “FOSS” (Free Open Source Software) with a view toward implementation by the end of 2011, which the Circular states will result in the use of legitimate open source and FOSS software and a reduction in overall costs of software.”
And the Coup de Grace so to speak:
“While IIPA has no issue with one of the stated goals of the circular, namely, “reducing software copyright violation,” the Indonesian government’s policy as indicated in the circular letter instead 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 to meet the needs of their organizations and the Indonesian people. It also amounts to a significant market access barrier for the software industry.”
Boiled down? They don't want to compete with Free Software. Several multi-billion dollar corporations afraid of a relative handful of FOSS hackers...
OK...bless their hearts...I can understand the concern but let me bring this to a local level.
My local level.
You know what we do and how we do it. In the next week, we are building another Learning Center for some kids in Hutto Texas. Skip Guenter, our Director of Systems Engineering, is crossing the T's and dotting the I's now. It will be a 4-6 station center for the kids on the "other side of the tracks". Kids that have little or no access to a computer or technology what so ever. If we can afford the travel and fuel, we'll even go weekly to train these kids how to properly use the multimedia software they've been given.
Without Linux and Free Software, this would be impossible for us. That's not to mention the two other learning centers we've built or the approximate 1071 computers we've individually built and given away to date.
So, while it may be a stretch, and assuming that the Business Software Alliance is an integral part of the IIPA, (as they are reportedly) we might have some guilt by association here. Some of the companies and corporations belonging to to the BSA are:
Adobe, Apple, Autodesk, Avid, Bentley Systems, Borland, Cisco Systems, CNC Software/Mastercam, Dell, Entrust, HP, IBM, Intel, Internet Security Systems, Intuit, Macromedia, McAfee, Microsoft, RSASecurity, SAP America, SolidWorks, Sybase, Symantec, UGS and VERITAS Software.
Are they going to stand shoulder to shoulder with the IIPA on this? If so, and assuming that they toe the IIPA line, I would ask them this:
Who is going to pay for the licensing of "proprietary software" for projects such as ours? Dell? Intel? HP? Aren't all of these corporates involved at one level or another in the development or use of Free Software? I can promise you that we can scratch Microsoft from the list. They have refused to help us twice, both times in 2005.
I wouldn't put Microsoft software on any of our computers now, even with a gun to my head...but that's not the point. Are we, as charitable and community service-driven organizations, subject to their whim and multi-month grant requests for their software? It would appear so. If Free Software were to be "discouraged" by the US Government (not likely but possible) then we would either have to come to these companies with out hands out, pirate the software or purchase it.
To be honest...we don't know where the gas for our vehicles will come from for the next couple of weeks...we can't even afford to make deliveries right now, much less purchase software to power the computers we need to give away.
So will the IIPA and their Indonesia stance have any bearing on Free Software use in the US? I doubt it...unless we can threaten ourselves with our own WTO status.
Stranger things have been known to happen.